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The end of the year and the start of a new year often mark the time for reflection on your career and the setting of new career goals for the year ahead. And this year, after a year that has challenged each and every one of us like we never could have imagined, many people are starting to think about their career and where to from here. This year the difference is people are considering not just changing jobs but complete career changes. Leaving the industry they have known and loved to explore a completely different career path.
This complete change in career direction seems to be driven by a few different factors. For some, their industry was decimated literally overnight (for a period of time; it’s great to see some of these industries now bouncing back) which has made people question the job security of that particular industry. For others, COVID has presented the opportunity to reflect and assess what is really important to them and the satisfaction they get from their work.
The whole new concept of working from home has impacted people and for some they have realized they want to work in an office surrounded by people and for others they have thrived in being able to work from home. This massive change to how we work has also made people question their career path based on how they like to work and how their employer wants them to work.
For some, the way they have been treated and supported during COVID has also made them re-assess the career path they want to pursue. Sadly, I have heard many stories from people contemplating changing career paths because they feel they have been unsupported by their current employer; they feel their employer has shown their true colours, their real values and priorities this year.
COVID has impacted us all in so many different ways and taken its toll on our emotional and mental wellbeing.
If you’re planning on spending some time over the holiday period to reassess your career path and if it’s time to have a complete change, here are my thoughts on what to consider to ensure you’re not changing careers for the wrong reason.
What’s really motivating you to think about a new career / job?
It’s easy to misinterpret what we think is making us feel unhappy or dissatisfied in our job, however often we are focusing on the wrong issue. Unpacking our thoughts and really getting to the core of what’s making us feel the need for change is critical. Is the cause just a short term influence due to COVID or is it an ongoing issue? For example, I’ve had people tell me they just don’t enjoy the work they are doing anymore. However, when we unpack why they are not enjoying the work, it’s not actually the tasks they are performing that they don’t enjoy, it that they have to work on that task in isolation now (from home) and they don’t get to collaborate with others like they use to pre-COVID. Therefore, it’s not necessarily a career change that’s needed, it’s a change to how you like to work that needs to be made.
The Pros & Cons list
This is a tool I often recommend to people when they are weighing up changing jobs or careers. For some reason, making a list, writing it down on paper and looking at it seems to provide clarity in our thinking. Grab a piece of paper draw a line down the middle and on one side write all the pros – the positives, the things you like about your job/employer/career. On the other side, list all the cons – the things that frustrate you, cause you to feel dissatisfied and the things that don’t align with your values and what’s important to you.
The next step is the most important. Once you have your pros and cons list, think back to this time last year. Pre COVID. December 2019. Your 2020 new years resolutions. Take yourself back in time. Now, review your Pros and Cons list through this lens. Were the pros and cons the same this time last year? Are they now a con because of COVID when last year they would have been on the pros side of the page? Highlight or mark the ones that were the same 12 months ago. Now you can reflect on your list and assess if the issues relate more to the year that we have had or are ongoing issues that aren’t going to change regardless of COVID.
What’s important to you
We have all learnt a lot about ourselves this year; what’s important to you and potentially that has changed compared to what has previously been important to you. In assessing your future career path, it’s important to stop and identify what’s important to you. Once again, its time to write a list. This will become your personal “key selection criteria.” Once we have our list of what’s important to us we can assess new jobs or new career paths against this list. This will help gauge if that new job or career path is a good fit based on what is really important to you.
So before you add New Year – New Career to your new years resolution list, don’t forget to use some of that down time over the festive season to reflect and really understand if you are disillusioned with the work you are doing, your employer or is it due to the challenges of COVID. Knowing your true drivers and motivators will help you take the right step forward in your career in 2021.
Angela Connor is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource and career coaching companies. She understands the significance of having the right team of people in a business and is passionate about helping business to attract, recruit and engage the right people so those people can inject their talents into the business; creating an environment where they can do great work and love what they do. Find more useful information and advice at www.inspirehq.com.au or by following Angela on LinkedIn.
Disclaimer: The material contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It is not, nor is intended to be, legal advice. If you wish to act based on the content of this publication, we recommend that you seek professional advice.