Lately, I’ve got a few coaching clients who reach out to me very upset with their current working configuration or already handed in their resignation – sure they would like a career change to a field in which they can utilize their strengths, feel satisfied, respected and valued. After several coaching sessions, they realize that they are very disappointed with their professional situation, but they like what they do. Hence, they don’t need a career change, but a job change.
How are we supposed to distinguish between the need of a new job or a new career? How, with all the anger and frustration, are we to clean our symbolic glasses from the months of accumulated bitterness, see clearly and don’t rush to hasty conclusions?
The best place to start with by answering the key question in this puzzle – do I still like the nature of my work; do I like the process I follow to deliver daily results? In the disappointment mist, the answer may very well seem blurry, here are some guidelines:
If I work in Finance, for example
- Do I like numbers?
- Do I like individual work?
- Do I like to search for answers?
- Am I fond of analysis?
- Am I a problem solver?
Why do I want out of my current job?
- My boss
- My colleagues
- The environment
- No room for development and growth
- I’ve been here for 10 years and I am starting to go in circles
- I have nothing more to learn
- It’s time for the next step in my career, but I can’t define it and my manager won’t help me
- Better work/life balance
- I don’t like what I do – I am in sales and communication is not my strength, so I am often exhausted.
If the reason for your dissatisfaction is not in the nature of your work, the process – then, most probably you need a new job, not a new career. All the answers above, except for the last one, illustrate this option.
When you are frustrated and had it with the workload, when the stress is too much, or your salary is less than the industry standard, it’s easy to decide that you want a radical change. In most of the cases, however, the need for change can be satisfied by a change in scenery, not a change in essence. An IT company close to your apartment offering flexible work time can turn out to be the solution to your work/life balance problem, and not the radical – I’ve had it with IT, I want to design clothes! Of course, if designing clothes is one of your talents and you would like to follow this dream, this is an option as well – though you don’t need to drop everything you worked for and start from scratch.
If your answer to “Why I want out” is a variation of “I don’t like what I do – I am in sales and communication is not my strength, so I am often exhausted” – chances are that you need a career change. Career change doesn’t necessarily have to be accompanied by abrupt events, long search, and lowering your living standard. I have a few clients who did smooth career changes by emphasizing their skills and strengths applicable in the new professional field, as opposed to listing previous jobs responsibilities.