For many of us, there comes a time in our careers when it feels like a change is required.
But, whatever the reasons for re-evaluating, the idea of starting again and trying something new can be daunting. So, to help you choose your direction, here are out tips for managing a career crossroads.
Am I ready to make a change?
Switching careers can be a tough decision, especially if you've already established yourself in your current position. Change can be unpredictable and the chances are you’ll feel some trepidation.
Although starting afresh can seem overwhelming, the long term benefits can often make the change worthwhile. Ask yourself a few key questions. Are you happy in your current job? What are you good at, and are you given opportunities to demonstrate it? Ultimately, do you enjoy working for your current employer?
By being honest with yourself, the answers should help you to decide if a change is the right for you. Keep an open mind and remember: there’s nothing wrong with checking what else is available.
I like my job, but I don’t feel challenged.
Sometimes, the company and environment are right, but your career just needs a little push.
Your job can become repetitive if you don’t feel challenged. There’s nothing wrong with knowing a job inside out, but if you’ve lost the passion for your profession, your performance will also start to slip.
One great way to address this is to study for a qualification. Not only can a course help to boost your confidence and interest in your current role, but it can help you advance your career, whether you're just starting out or looking to move up to the next step. And, if the thought of promotion doesn’t motivate you, that may be sign it’s time to go.
I feel under-appreciated.
If you don't feel as though you're being recognized for the work you've been doing, you may feel that it’s time to move on.
Recognition comes in a number of different forms. Sometimes it’s as simple as being given credit for a job well done. It could also come from career progression, promotion or from financial rewards. If you’ve been at the company for a number of years, it might be time to ask for a pay rise.
This can be a tricky topic to bring up with your manager. However, if you approach it in the right way then it needn't be a problem. Ask for the chance to sit down and discuss your concerns and, before the meeting, make sure you've prepared the reasons why you feel you deserve a raise.
You should consider major achievements whilst with the company, the skills you bring to the job and your loyalty to the business. Money isn’t everything, but it’s important to make sure that you’re getting paid for the work you’re doing. If not, it may be time to move on.
Other factors to consider
There are many good reasons for re-evaluating your career. However, you have to make sure you're doing so for the right reasons. If you’re unhappy, it’s vital to consider if this is simply work related.
Ask yourself some tough questions. Are you bored with other aspects of your life? Are you focusing the blame on your work? Can you say for sure if a change of career would make you happier?
Speak to someone else for advice. Is there anyone you know who's made a career transition themselves?
Unfortunately, we’re not all lucky enough to do something we love as a career. However, job satisfaction can be vitally important. If the only reason you’re staying with an employer is because you’re comfortable, this might not be reason enough.
Whatever the reasons for evaluating your career, remember: you always have a choice. There's never only one turning at a crossroads. Consider what you're passionate about, what you’re capable of, and what will be financially viable for you. And, if your current situation still isn't right, then it may be time to make the move.
Sometimes you just need to take the chance.