Embracing change, whether professionally or personally, can be a headache. However, whilst some change might be an uphill battle for individuals, it can also be an enabler of professional development and enhance a growth mindset.
In your professional life, are you longing for a change in direction? Maybe you stayed put at the same business for a decade, but now is the right time to spread those wings. Or perhaps the chosen career path is limited and you’re not getting the recognition that you truly deserve, so it’s best to pursue greener pastures. Regardless of the reason, it’s important to stand back and recognise when to rise to a new challenge or when to move on.
If you’re going through this turning point in a professional career, remember you’re not alone. Generationally, in a PWC study conducted in 2020, over a quarter of global millennials surveyed expect to have six employers or more, a total figure that is significantly higher than the 10% of respondents that provided this answer back in 2008. According to CareerBuilder, baby boomers switch jobs every 8 years and millennials and gen z job hops every 2 years.
Whatever stage you’re at in your working life, here are some fundamental questions to ask before taking the plunge into your next chapter.
5 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself
1. Why is now the right time to switch careers?
Switching careers was previously considered taboo. Today, it’s moved from the margins, being brandished as a ‘red flag’, to accepted normalcy. With this viewpoint fading into the past, it’s crucial to recognise why you are looking to jump-start the job searching process as highlighted below:
Growth is key, and one that can have many facets, whether that’s a promotion or down to a changing mindset. However, if you’ve reached a professional standstill, maybe it’s missing out on a management opportunity, not being heard in certain projects, or your career aspirations are simply not achievable in this current position, now may be the right time to embark on a fresh start.
In any position, it’s critical to feel a sense of belonging and to follow your passion. Igniting a passion for work creates greater fulfilment and purpose, which in turn, keeps output and productivity levels high. But, if you are dreading the working day and the excitement to rise to daily challenges and seize every opportunity has disappeared, this is a tell-tale sign to quit.
Or perhaps it’s playing out as a not them it’s your scenario. In your personal life, the winds of change might have blown you into a different direction or made you value specific things that the current company can’t offer. Maybe the work-life balance you are looking for is simply out of reach or your role doesn’t align to your ideologies and ethos. A gut question to consider is whether you’d be happier somewhere else. If the answer, from the bottom of your heart, is yes then it’s time to move on. The job market is booming, more than 2,000 companies* were hiring in 2021 and it doesn’t look to be slowing down this year, making it the ideal time to build your professional success.
2. Are you happy with your salary and benefits package?
This is an important question, as so much of your quality, motivation, and output depends on what you’re getting in return. This balancing act is crucial in business, but does money always buy happiness in the workplace?
Every job brings with it different monetary benefits. However, whilst a lucrative paycheck and increment can let you reap the rewards, it’s vital to remember that wages are only one slice of the pie. A salary shouldn’t be the defining factor for a new job – consider today’s pay, but tomorrow’s gains. Should you put a price on happiness?
On the flip side of the coin, maybe it’s time to start a family or put some cash aside for your first property. No matter what the reason, if the current position makes you compromise on pay and fails to cater to your specific financial needs, it might be an impetus for change.
3. Are you challenged enough?
More than a desire for advancement opportunities or a bigger wallet, not being challenged enough can leave you feeling dissatisfied in the workplace. Have you lost motivation at work? Do you find day-to-day activities tedious and boring? It might be a case of learning something new or disinterest in a specific line of work, which spills into a sense of burnout and negative connotations with the role.
Facing the fact of a career transition is never easy, but sometimes staying put is too easy. Challenging work requires ingenuity and real prowess. As Hungarian-American psychologist, Csikszentmihalyi clarifies, “one cannot enjoy doing the same thing at the same level for long. The desire to enjoy ourselves again pushes us to stretch our skills, or discover new opportunities for using them.”
The sweet spot between challenge and comfort strikes the perfect chord, creating a space for success and growth. Finding this middle ground keeps work-oriented tasks interesting and meaningful, reduces stress, and improves productivity. Failure to grasp this fine line, however, might diminish future career prospects and leave you wanting more.
4. Do you know what you want to do?
Asking why you want to pursue a career can help you strip back and analyse the fundamentals. The realisation that you have full autonomy over your job, the path you want to take or when it’s right to drop out, is daunting as it is an empowering prospect. Perhaps the skills and experiences learnt up until this point, when applied to a work setting, have significant drawbacks by not being value-aligned to specific opportunities or they’re not being fully utilised in your former position.
It might be useful to carve out a career-wise road map, to see where you’d like to be in the next two to five years. Or perhaps set some time aside to think about what professional wins you’d like to achieve, and if your former position can’t offer this, then this could be momentum for change.
5. It’s crunch time, are you ready?
Are you ready to kickstart your success story? Before a natural knee-jerk response to quit, ensure you’ve spent time determining what’s important to you – our 5 must-ask questions will certainly help. Once you’ve identified a new direction, start with one thing that you can do today, perhaps that’s advancing your qualifications or opening a dialogue with a specialist talent partner like Selby Jennings.
At Selby Jennings, we helped over 5,000 candidates* find a better opportunity last year. From our enterprise-wide development platform to an extensive database of industry-leading roles that can transport you across the globe, the sky is truly the limit. Submit your CV today and unlock your full potential.
*Statistics based on Phaidon International Group globally placed candidates record in 2021.