I hear countless comments from people saying they want to change careers, BUT, but, but, but. They make up some reason for not changing. Among these reasons are: I’m too old – I’ll have to take a pay cut – I don’t want to make the effort – I don’t know what I’d do. Essentially, I think it boils down to fear of change or no effort to change, probably both.
There is a big portion of the workforce truly unhappy this morning as they drive to work. They don’t like their jobs, but they keep on doing the same thing day after day, year after year. They are doing nothing to change the situation. It’s really unfortunate, because their lives don’t have to be like that. Change can be made and while it does take an effort, it’s not that big of a hill to climb. Let’s look at two strategies a person can pursue.
Strategy #1: Decide if you can get happy where you are or if it’s time to go (no improvement in sight)
There are about sixteen factors that play into our satisfaction of our work situation. It’s little wonder we can get grumpy about work. However, only the top few are really the deal breakers. The number one issue to work satisfaction is the relationship with the boss. After that, the top issues are (in no particular order): – work environment – work associates – job content. Notice I didn’t mention pay. Salary is somewhere around 5 or 6, depending on which survey you read.
You have to spend some time really analyzing your situation and determine what the real issue(s) is for you. Once you have identified the issues, you need to do some problem solving to determine what actions you can take to improve those issues. The actions must be ones you have control over, not silly things like a personality transplant for your boss. Once you have developed an action plan, before doing anything else, ask yourself these questions: If I take these actions, will I be happier than I am now? Will I be happy enough to sustain me in this position for x years? If you think there is a possibility for improvement, then systematically pursue those actions. You have nothing to lose and you stand to gain greater happiness right where you are right now. If not, then go no further. It’s time to leave and move on to the next strategy.
If you do decide to make it better, you may want to consult your library on things you can do that will help you further solve some of these issues. There are books written on every single work issue you can come up with. Once you have taken these actions, allow time to make those actions take hold. At some point (you decide when) reevaluate your situation to see if you’re feeling better in your job. Many times the simple act of taking action is enough to really improve your situation. If not, it was worth the effort to see if things could improve. Then you can make the decision to move on knowing you did your best.
Strategy #2: Identify and Research your “buts” for making a career change
Stop making excuses and identify the issues that are keeping you from making a career change. You need to stop telling the stories and start doing some work. The person who is reluctant to make a career change sometimes has to address the issues or concerns first. With this strategy, you need to self examine what you really think the barriers are to a career change. Then go do some research to find out if you’re all wet or if you really have an issue worth hitting the pause button for.
My observation is that most of the time people come up with barriers without really knowing FOR A FACT that they really have an issue. Go get the facts. I also know that once you know the facts, you can devise an approach that will help you should you decide to move forward changing careers. I’d like to give you a personal illustration. Early in my professional life I decided that I was going to change careers. I was pretty sure I’d have to take a pay cut, because I was getting paid fairly high for the work I was doing. I devised a plan to pay off 100% of all debts I had. My thinking was that if I did have to take a pay cut, then I wouldn’t have to be so concerned with the pay: and I could focus on a great position in a company with upward potential. I knew if I had almost no bills, I could take a substantial pay cut and be okay. I devised a strategy to address the issue. It took me about a year to put it all in place, but it was well worth the planning and effort.
I would also point out that taking that first little action will help you build momentum. You don’t need to be a fireball of career ambition. You simply need to put one foot in front of the other long enough to systematically confirm that a change of careers is what you need. If you are the kind of person that does best with a work-out buddy, you might want to do the same in this part of your life. Identify a trusted person who will hold you accountable to your own happiness. Motivation is not created from a bolt of lightning. It is created by the act of doing. So do yourself a favor. If you know you can’t make yourself happy where you are, start moving today. Even small steps forward are better than no steps at all. Eventually you will make that career change.
You work so much and for so long in your lifetime that you deserve to be happy in doing it!
Dorothy Tannahill-Moran is a Career Coach and expert on helping her clients. Want to discover a specific career change strategy that gets results? Discover how to by claiming your FREE gift, Career Makeover Toolkit at: http://CareerMakeoverToolKitShouldIStayorShouldIGo.com/