In my work in career coaching, I work with various constituents, one set being the employed who are looking for a new career as their current one is no longer desirable (reasons vary). While I never encourage an individual to stay in a position where he/she is not happy, one should ‘look’ before taking a the leap to a new career field.
- What are the driving forces for the move? Why are you considering changing jobs/careers? What is it that you like and dislike about your current position and what do you want more/less of in your future job? Will adjustments at your current job have the same effect as a new job?
- What’s next? It is important to know, or at least have some parameters about, what type of job/career you want to move into before taking the plunge into the job market. Having a focus will help you – it will give direction to your networking efforts and allow you to direct your time and energy.
- Food on the table factor? This may not be a popular thing to say among career counselors/coaches, but job hunters need to consider their commitments to family/spouses/children. Those of us with mouths to feed have less risk tolerance than a 22 year-old with no significant ties or loans. This is not to say a person with a family cannot switch careers, just be sure to evaluate the impact of your decisions on the most important people in your life.
- Is the grass greener? When applying and interviewing for other jobs, it is important to do your homework before committing to the new employer. Often, unhappy employees jump at the first offer or a bigger paycheck without analyzing if the move is a good one…and many times it is not and the person finds himself back where in the job hunt. Is the new firm’s culture one where you can thrive? Are you set up for success at the new company (job needs and your skills are a match, you have the resources to be successful, realistic timelines, etc.)
- Take this job and shove it: While you may be tempted to say those words to your boss on a daily basis, it is important that job hunters continue to do well at their current positions while considering other opportunities. A drop-off in productivity can send up red flags with your current management…and you might find yourself needing, instead of wanting, to look for a job.
Staying in a bad situation is unhealthy and it could lead to stress at work and home. A bad job can affect your ability to be a good spouse, partner, parent, and friend. Just remember, be sure to ‘look’ before you take the next job ‘leap’.