To make the jump or not?
That's the big question isn't it, when you consider whether to change career paths or simply fancy a change of scenery, the main question we ask is 'will it be better'?
Changing your job is always a huge step to take regardless of your age or profession. You are stepping into the unknown. Will you get on with new work colleagues, will you get the same 'perks', what if you don't enjoy the work, what if …..what if.....what if???
I always suggest to my clients to take some time to consider your career path to date. How did you get to where you are now, was it by accident, did you 'fall' into the role or sector you work in, or was it a choice?
There are a number of ways to consider what you might want to do next. You could focus on what you do well or maybe what you enjoy doing most. These aren't necessarily the same thing! You may also want to consider your personal values and what makes you feel good.
However, I would suggest that you first reflect. Look back over your career to consider what you've enjoyed, why you went for previous positions, what was good or bad about previous employers etc. This all helps to start to build a picture of what you might want your future career to look like.
People take many different routes throughout their career and it's always good to remember how you got to where you are today.
Here is a simple exercise to help you reflect on your career path and choices.
Take an A4 piece of plain white paper and some felt tip pens, preferably different colours.
Create a starting point on the far left hand side of the paper. You can write a sign or draw a picture. It should be something that depicts you starting out on your career.
Next, draw a 'road' or 'path' across the width of the paper to the right hand side of the sheet. Again, this could be a wiggly wonky line (my preference) or a straight line. You choose.
Now consider how many roles you've had in your career and draw 'off roads' from the main path. Make sure you have enough 'off roads' for the number of jobs you've had.
Next, write the job you had or draw a picture at the end of each 'off road' that depicts your job at that time.
Now for the important part. Using coloured pens of your choice, make a list or write key words for each role that show what you enjoyed or disliked about each of the jobs.
By now you should have quite a busy piece of paper.
For each of the roles on your sheet, consider how engaged you were in that role, did you enjoy it, how rewarding was the work, how was your wellbeing at the time of working in those roles. Depict the answers to these questions in any way you wish as long as you understand them.
You have now mapped out your career path to date. You've take some time to reflect on what you enjoyed, how you felt and what your challenges were during your career. This will help to support your thinking about your next steps.
Now, turn the sheet over and draw a roundabout in the centre with at least 4 different roads coming off of it.
At the end of each road, write or draw something that depicts where you would like to go next. Review your career path and consider the following:
How do I want to feel when I go into work in the morning?
What motivates me at work?
What type of work would be aligned to my personal values?
What type of work would I be proud of doing?
What are my strengths and key skills?
Start to build up a picture of your options and possible directions you want to take. By the time you've finished your picture, you should have several options of potential career path and be clearer on what you are looking for.
It is very easy, especially if you suddenly find yourself out of work, to panic and jump straight into something for the security. However, if you are choosing a change, take your time and consider your next move carefully. Taking this time to think about your values, what matters and motivates you, can make a big difference on how you view work and what you need to aim for. As they always say, the grass isn't always greener. So, take your time to reflect and consider your options carefully.
Some other useful resources/references are below to help you:
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