If you are like most people, you are not the same person today that you were when you left school. At that time, you might have been excited to start your new job. Today, not so much so. As a matter of fact, 49% of people have made a dramatic career shift, and 30% of the workforce change their careers annually.
Where do you start? What do you do?
Take your time.
On average, it takes almost a year to change careers. During difficult economic times, it can take longer. Like most things, when you rush, you are prone to making mistakes. Juanita is someone who took 18 months from the initial conversation until she started her new job. “I thought I knew what I wanted,” she said, “but I needed the time to sort things through the various options and subsets to find something that was right for me.”
Identify what you are great at or have the potential to be great at.
For example, when I transitioned from recruiting to career coaching, I knew that I really liked the feeling of helping people find their next job or career but disliked being the intermediary between them and the employer who hired me and was paying me. There was too much pressure to be deceptive to each of them. When I transitioned into coaching, I took all of those experiences and converted them to be used to help job hunters navigate the job search with all of its twists and turns and get to their next role.
Ask yourself what’s most important to you in the next job or organization. What will you need to see or hear to believe it is the right choice for you?
Take as long as you like to make up this list. Make it as long as you would like. This is not the time to eliminate choices and options. Right now, we are opening your mind and heart to possibilities.
What’s most important to you isn’t only about work.
Of course, your compensation needs to be right, but other things are important to you as well. Maybe it is shortening your commute or keeping more of your money instead of giving it to higher tax states or not having to drive to work. Maybe it is working in a physical environment that you genuinely like with people you genuinely care for. Maybe there is something that you can learn or improve upon the benefits that you receive. Maybe you want additional autonomy. Don’t just focus on the actual work. Look at the ancillaries to that work as well.
Remember to ask yourself, “What did I want to be when I was growing up?”
Often the gateway to what you want to do flows through childhood aspirations that you were told weren’t practical. Maybe you still are not able to be a ballerina or a baseball player. Maybe there is something related to dance or baseball or whatever the dream was that you can look into. This memory is something you loved.
Prioritize the items on your list.
With one being most important, start ranking all the things that you’ve identified as being of primary importance to you. What’s the least important? Which is second, third and fourth on your list of items? It is quite all right to recalibrate your list regularly. After all, you may need to spend time with an ill parent and, thus, may need to elevate that as your job search and career transition progress. Take your time. If you do this in one hour or one day or one week, you are rushing yourself.
How will I evaluate for these requirements of mine?
Employers usually develop job specifications to identify the skills and experiences that they believed would allow someone to succeed. That’s what I’ve been asking you to do up until this point — identify your version of these specifications. Smart employers also figure out how to identify someone who can fulfill these requirements. When you are on an interview, both you and they are going to present a good image to each other. Given the fact that both you and they are going to be on good behavior, what might you ask or listen for to determine whether or not this firm can fulfill those desires of yours? For example, if you do not want to work in a workaholic environment, you might ask, “What does a typical day look like? When do people get in, what do they do and when do they leave?”
Identify gaps in your background for the role that you want or the situation you want to be in.
Maybe you need to take an online course or return to school to get the job that you want. Maybe you need a reliable car to drive to the location daily that you want to work in and move to.
Enlist support from the important people in your life.
Your husband, wife or partner is going to be a big part of your transition. They should be brought on board for all the work that will be done. Listen to their concerns and make sure that they know you are listening. It isn’t just about you. It’s about them, too.
In this article, we’ve been talking about the beginning of a journey that will change your career as well as your life. You are identifying the destination that you want to arrive at. Usually, the journey is hazardous, and people benefit from guidance and support on this journey. In the next article, we will be looking at the map, the GPS, the detours that might occur on this journey.
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2100 episodes.
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