6 Questions to Ask Yourself If You Are Thinking About A Career Change
Is it time to explore your other career options?
Feel like you’re standing at a career crossroads? Or maybe feel like you’ve hit a plateau at work? Whichever the case, it’s entirely normal for people in the workforce to find themselves locked in a job that either instantly or eventually feels like a mismatch. Another possibility is they find themselves in an industry where their growth becomes stagnant.
This might mean that it’s time to take a breather or altogether look into a career change. For the latter, the questions ahead can always help. Reflect on your career choices by asking yourself the following:
#1: What kind of life do I aspire to have?
Beyond your career, what are the things that are essential for you—the non-negotiables? While a career is important, this only makes one aspect of your life. There are other components that are important to a human being’s health, well-being, and overall life satisfaction. For example, if you are a parent, consider slowing down to embrace the moments that you have with your children before they untether when they grow independent. Conversely, if taking care of your elderly parents is a priority for you, consider a job that will allow you to spend more time at home.
After identifying the essential components of your life, paint yourself this picture: Who are you five to 10 years from now? Come up with an image of the kind of life you want to live, the people you want to surround yourself with, and the kind of impact in the world that you’d like to make. It’s important to seek a career that will support you in manifesting this kind of life. Once you have this snapshot, you can better gauge what line of work to explore.
#2: What are the pros and cons of sticking to my current career path?
Make a list of all the concerns you have in your line of work today. Are your work hours flexible enough to give you time for important things outside of work? Do you spend too much money commuting between home and the office? Do you perform well under stress or do you prefer a slower-paced environment? Are you finding fulfillment in what you are doing or is there something lacking?
Weighing the pros and cons should help you understand the reasons that compel you to make your shift or stay put. Alternatively, doing this will enable you to create clear boundaries in a work environment, so you can feel better motivated and more productive. Perhaps this is how you’ll realize that you’re already in the right career—you just need to take a break, recalibrate, or learn to future-proof your career.
#3: What are my greatest strengths?
Your innate abilities and natural talent are things that can work hand-in-hand with the skills you can learn and be trained for. But what are they? Apart from self-reflection, it’s good to consult a mentor or your current superior. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation to request feedback from your boss and even co-workers about what they like about you as a colleague. Are you highly organized and great at capturing the smaller details? While communicating with other people, do they feel comfortable talking with you? Jot these down.
Knowing your greatest strengths will help you see the areas where you need to improve on, too. Should you feel that there are challenges that hinder you from moving toward your dream career, ask yourself how you can get through them. You can consider taking short courses online or further studies to take on your areas of improvement.
#4: Is the career I want in line with my purpose and my personal values?
When considering a career shift, it’s essential that you ask yourself if this is aligned with your purpose. For what reason are you waking up every day to do what you do? Understanding your “why” is integral because this keeps you going when faced with difficulties. Your core values are unique to you and are rooted in your authentic self, after all.
These are the things that anchor you while making important decisions. You might receive a job offer from a company that will give you a large salary—but if their values are not aligned with yours, things might not work out. Your time and energy are precious so choose to do something that will help you thrive.
#5: Are my funds enough for me to accommodate a career change?
You need to be mindful of your finances and evaluate if the career that you want can sustain your current lifestyle. Will your new earnings be sufficient to cover your living expenses and your bills? Another factor to consider is if your existing budget is enough to pay for additional training or education that might be required for the job you’re eyeing. Knowing your financial situation well will help you prepare for your next steps.
#6: What compromises am I willing to accept?
No job is perfect, so ask yourself: Where are you willing to make compromises? Are you open-minded to learning something new? Are you willing to start at the bottom and work your way up? Would you accept lower pay for reduced working hours? Would you be willing to take a different position that will serve as a stepping stone to getting to your dream job?
Dreaming of a better career is wonderful but being aware of your lived reality is just as important. Knowing your limitations will help you determine how far you are willing to go to enhance your skills and grow as a professional.
Making a career change requires careful consideration and soul-searching. This might not be easy, but when your work aligns with who you are and the person you aspire to be, life should be more fulfilling.
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