You might be sitting at your desk on a miserably cold morning, and decide that you want to live and work in the tropics. Or, you might have worked your fingers to the bone on a mission critical project, only to have your implementation messed up by one line of code, one lax project manager, or one whale of a conflicting deadline.
"What the heck am I doing with my life?" could be the first-yet-very-obvious red flag question you may ask yourself.
Here you are, at the cross roads. To your left stands the equanimity and comfort of your current situation. The status quo of your career choice. Your gig where up until 24 hours ago you were feeling pretty happy and comfortable with.
On the right, a dark, terrifying-yet-curious path, one not yet forged, waiting for the right person to courageously step forth to light the way.
Tantalizing? Yes. Terrifying? YES!
Sometimes, for some employees, even the thought of crossing over into the unknown feels completely unnatural. The long termers, the 'lifers' that are in every organization. It's almost a betrayal to have those thoughts, isn't it? But, nevertheless, that question in the back of your mind is persistent:
"Is there something better out there for me?"
Here is a little exercise that I'd invite you to try.
Do a stock take of your current surroundings
Strip back the dramas and challenges of that project from hell, and look at what you were hired for to begin with. Pull out your job description and have a look. What are you accountable for? What parts of the description are you missing in your day to day activities? What responsibilities have you acquired along the way, that are preventing you from doing what you were hired to do?
What was it that made you accept this job? Was it the company? The salary? The culture? Moving forward in time, what is it about your job that has kept you from looking elsewhere until now? Where does your loyalty sit and why?
Write a wishlist
No doubt you had a list, or a certain set of values or ideals that you would like to incorporate into your work. But what about a wishlist, a best case scenario that would allow for the 'perfect' job? Take a moment to write down some your wishlist, then compare it to what you have right now, in your current position. How do they compare? Are they well aligned? If yes, good for you! If no, well it might be time to have a look at your options.
If and when you make the decision to step into the darkness (with a very bright flashlight of experience and expertise of course) how to best go about it?
Talk to your network
Your recruiter has been harping on about building your network onLinkedIn, even though you've been happily employed to date. Hopefully you've listened, for your network will be the best way to start your research! Talk to your network, ask questions, connect with some open networkers in your niche. Call a couple of recruitment agencies, and get a feel for what the market is looking like in your city.
Get on Twitter!
Get on Twitter, and start following people. Recruiters, companies, job boards. By following these people, you'll gain access to industry in's and outs, free advice, resources, market updates. It's truly a wonderful tool that is there for you to take advantage.
Get a coach
I truly believe that career coaches can help take you to a new level. Sometimes its easier to have a someone collaborate with you on your life's direction. An objective voice of reason that can help you "see the forest through the trees." My coach and mentor, DJ McLean, has been invaluable to me over the past 12 months.
I hope this advice has been helpful to you. You might complete the exercise above, and realize that your current job is in fact, where you want and need to be. Or, it might help you realize that it might be time to try something new.
Here's to your job search!