If you’re feeling unhappy in your career, you’re not alone.
According to Aon Hewitt’s 2013 Global Engagement Report, employee engagement levels have declined to their lowest levels since 2008. Unfortunately, many people who feel unhappy or unfulfilled in their career will long to make a change, but only a small percentage will actually act on that desire.
If you’re one of the millions of people ready for a career change but scared to take the leap, consider this: the worst thing you can do for your happiness and wellbeing is stay in a career that’s making you miserable. Today’s career culture is not the same as it was 25 or 50 years ago – back then, people chose one job and stuck with it throughout retirement. Today, it’s quite common for people to change jobs multiple times in order to pursue growth.
Contrary to popular belief, change doesn’t have to be difficult, risky or scary if it’s done properly. I’ve created a list of six tips to help make a smooth career transition:
1) Reflect upon your interests:
Consider this question: If money were no object, what would you be doing? Take notes of arts, activities, foods – everything you really love.
Not sure where to begin? Forbes recommends asking yourself the following:
“If I had a free Saturday that had to be spent “working” on something, I’d choose ____________, because ____________.”
2) Make a list of your skills:
Sometimes the prospect of career change is scary and disheartening – it can make you feel like the years you’ve put into your current job were a waste. Instead, look at it in terms of what you’ve learned.
More than likely, you’ve learned some important skills that you can use in your next job, no matter what that job is. Make a list of all the skills you’ve learned on the job, then think about how they can be applied to a new position.
3) Take a good look at your last few jobs:
This step is quite important, as it can help you determine what type of company culture and position are best for you.
Take some time to list out what you liked about your last few jobs and what you didn’t like. Looking back over real-world examples of what worked well for you can help you set up guideposts for where you need to go.
4) Determine your personal strengths:
When friends, clients and co-workers compliment you, what strengths are they focusing on? Do they praise your creativity, organization skills or management style?
It’s not always easy to evaluate our own strengths, so focusing on compliments may enable you to set modesty aside and recognize your own unique talents. Write them down as you think of them, as such compliments can serve as great talking points in future job interviews.
5) Explore company culture:
Company culture can make all of the difference in the world. If you’re feeling disengaged and under-stimulated in your current job, know that it may not be the work you’re doing – you may simply be a poor fit for your company’s culture.
For example, someone who is best suited for a family-like, team-oriented environment will likely feel bored and stifled in a traditional corporate environment. However, this individual can do the same work at a company whose culture is better suited to their personality and feel engaged and excited.
6) Do your research:
Research can help you discover career paths that you may have not even known existed. Start by looking for jobs that sound interesting in your current industry, then branch out to other industries. You may find a career option within your current industry that’s a better fit for your personality and interests, or you may discover that your dream job is vastly different from your current on.
If you’re feeling depressed, defeated or “stuck”, remember that you’re not alone. Look for support groups that are aimed towards people making a career transition, or talk to a likeminded friends or mentor to get the support you need to stay motivated and pursue a career that is a better fit for your personality and skill set.
Author: Kerry Schofield is Chief Psychometrics Officer at Good.Co.