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Thursday, August 6, 2020

Executive Education

5 Ways to Navigate a Career Change

A recent Gallup Poll found that 85 percent of people worldwide really don’t like their jobs – in fact, many “hate” their jobs according to Jim Clifton, CEO and Chairman of Gallup. For something that we spend most of our waking hours doing, that statistic is incredibly sad.

Life is more than just giving away hours of your time each day for a paycheck. Believe it or not it, is possible to do something you enjoy and make money doing it. If you’re stuck in a role that doesn’t excite you or a career that isn’t fulfilling your purpose and passion, the only one that can change it is you.

The good news is that navigating a career change doesn’t have to be daunting if you break it down into manageable steps.

Know Where You’re Going

If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re never going to get there. Yet, this is the approach most of us take with our career, moving from one job to the next without a clear vision for what we want. We’ve turned the autopilot on and kicked back. It’s time to become the pilot again. Just like an airline pilot needs a flight plan, knows the weather conditions and knows what altitude he or she will fly at before taking off, you need a plan, too. To get to your destination, you need to know the route you’ll fly. Yet, just like an airplane that might need to make minor detours due to weather and air traffic conditions, you also need a plan that has flexibility built in.

Life doesn’t always give us perfect conditions and your plan to your new career won’t likely be a straight line, but if you don’t even have a plan, it’s hard to take off in the right direction.

Understand and Communicate Your Value

Too often, people continue in a role that they don’t like feel because they feel stuck. Typically, they don’t see the value in their experience, and they don’t understand that skills used in one job are often transferable to others. Just because you don’t have a degree or a background in your dream field, don’t assume that you can’t get the job or start a business in that area. The key is to understand what you do well in your current role and how those talents can also be used in your dream role.

Once you understand your value and your skills, it’s up to you to be able to communicate that value. If you think this sounds like sales, you’re right, it is. This isn’t the time to be modest. You can’t expect an employer (or future customers for the entrepreneurs launching a business) to automatically understand your value and what differentiates you. That has to come from you.

So, make sure that you know your value, and don’t be afraid to highlight what makes you unique.

Seek and Create Opportunities

Once you know what your dream career looks like, go on the offense and search for new opportunities. It’s important not to be complacent and wait for the opportunities to come to you. You can seek out or create the opportunity that leads to your next step.

This could mean taking on a new project at work that allows you to stand out, creating a new role at your current company, or conducting informational interviews with people who have the career you want to understand how you can create own path to your dream career. It could mean that you just start applying for new jobs. It could even mean taking a more serious look at that business idea you’ve been thinking about and getting to work on a business plan.

Remember: fortune favors the bold. Don’t be afraid to take action in the direction of your goals.

Know Your Non-Negotiables

It’s important to know what trade-offs you’re willing to make to have the career you want. Are you willing to make less money in a new role that excites you? Take a less senior position at a start-up that’s in an industry you want to work in? Jump into the uncertainty of entrepreneurship to launch your own company? The answer to these questions likely depends on where you are in life and the responsibilities that you may have. For example, if you’re just coming out of school, you may not care as much about the salary if you get to work in a role that you love. So, at that point, the role and your personal development may be more important than other considerations. And that could change one year later or several years down the line.

Throughout your career, you will need to continually revisit what’s most important to you and what you want to accomplish. It’s also important to understand that those will change over the course of your career.

Stop Comparing

It can be hard not to look at your old college roommate who is now CEO of her own company or your friend who is working in a more lucrative industry and not start comparing where you are to where they are. While this is human nature, it’s completely unproductive and will keep or lead you on a path you’re not meant to be on. We all have a unique purpose and special talents and skills that, if followed, will take us to a career that has meaning for us. The only way you’re going to find a career that works for you is to honor who you uniquely are.

If you’re not happy with your work, don’t settle for a life with a job that you don’t like or love. Do the inner work to figure out what you want to do and follow these five steps to make your dream career a reality.


Have you read?

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The Top 30 Women-Friendly Travel Destinations In The World For 2019.

Fallon Ukpe
Fallon Ukpe, MD, MBA, a speaker, author, and entrepreneur who is passionate about inspiring people and organizations to achieve their highest aspirations, experience meaningful success, and create a positive impact. Fallon Ukpe is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine.