by Robert Cunningham, Career Development Counselor
Are you considering changing your job or even switching careers? Making this step will have such a huge impact on your future, so you might want to consider some things prior to making this commitment.
The average person will change careers 5-7 times in their lifetime. That’s a lot of new beginnings. While there is nothing wrong with starting over, be sure to ask yourself these questions first:
- What do you want out of a career?
- What are your values?
- Do your values match with either your current or future company’s culture?
Before you consider making life changes, dig deep and answer these three questions honestly. Keep in mind there are no wrong answers. However, if you change jobs or jump into a brand new career without understanding the essential concepts that matter to you, it is inevitable that you will become disengaged and disenchanted no matter what or where your job is.
First and foremost, understand your values, and proactively seek employment that fits with what you believe in.
Where are you going?
No one wants to be stuck in a job where they don’t feel appreciated or perceive that there is no room for growth. Before investing the time of looking outside your current employer – consider these additional questions:
- Are there opportunities within your organization to move up?
- Are there new skills to learn and opportunities for training in your current role?
- Have you researched the employment market in your area and is it sound enough to support your desires?
Are your skills transferable?
The skills you currently possess are an important consideration when changing jobs or careers. By the same token, the skill you don’t currently have should never stop you from looking outside of your comfort zone. Many skills that you learn on the job are transferrable, which is great news. However, if the answer is no, consider how much time will extra training take for you to hone this needed skill. Is the extra investment worth the change?
Make sure you have the skills you will need for this change, or otherwise make sure you are ready to commit to the time it will take to obtain the additional training.
Money shouldn’t be your only reason to change jobs or careers. Ask yourself these questions:
- What kind of compensation will you receive?
- Does this fit with your lifestyle and expectations?
- Do your responsibilities and job description match the compensation that you will receive?
Research the potential salary outlook by looking at similar jobs and what companies are paying their employees in your area.Use online tools such as www.onetonline.org, www.salary.com to get a snapshot of the bigger picture before you make your move.
Money isn’t everything in life and you should be asking yourself:
Do I work to live, or do I live to work?
Getting compensated the right amount of money is, of course, important. Just avoid making any rash decisions. Take time to think everything through. Even if the money sounds right, if you don’t feel value in what you do, there will never be enough money to make this work.
Benefits and Lifestyle
We spend so much time at work. Ensuring that the work you do provides some kind of meaning to your life and your values is vital over the long haul. Without this feeling of accomplishment (from you) and acknowledgement from your employer, you’ll only feel as if you’re stuck in a rut and you may feel unsatisfied, even that what you do is meaningless.
Do you feel like you are contributing to something bigger than yourself? Whether it’s contributing to your community, charities, or the organization’s bottom line, you will want to ask yourself: Does my work make a difference?
Although it would be nice to think that we all work because we love our jobs, in reality, we all have lives to lead and these lives are becoming increasingly busy, complicated and expensive. Your compensation, benefits and lifestyle are all vitally important to consider before changing jobs or careers.
It all boils down to happiness.
People often forget to think about themselves before they change jobs. They want to escape from their current job, they need to be closer to home or they may simply need to make more money for their family. Happiness at work or in your personal life begins with you and the decisions you make for your personal happiness; it is not about the present external factors at work, or in your personal life.
Whatever the reason, avoid making rash decisions – and don’t forget about yourself and your own happiness. So what are you going to do? Will you stay or will you go?
Clarify your goals and ambitions, and ensure every change you make is helping you become the person you want to be, doing the things you love to do.
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