For most people, our jobs are not just how we pay the bills. Our careers are
what we have aspired to and worked hard to have. They are where we get a huge chunk of our sense of purpose and identity from. In short, the work we do matters to us.
As the saying goes “Change is the only constant in life” and right now there is a lot of change in the air, particularly where careers are concerned.
Whether by choice or circumstances beyond our control, there’s no doubt that many of us may be looking at some kind of career change soon.
As we head further into winter, I know that some people will become desperate for new work. So this presents us with a real mismatch – our basic needs and responsibilities, versus what makes us who we are.
Do we take any job to pay the bills or do we hold out for exactly the job that we want?
This is no small problem, and I want to give you a few thinking points to help with whatever decision you need to make and the principals work in any aspect of your life.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing
The first thing I want to say is that you don’t have to make a ‘one or the other’ choice here. Even if you have to take a job that isn’t aligned with your purpose just for now, it doesn’t have to mean a permanent change.
Even if you do find yourself working in an industry that you don’t love, there is always your free time to keep up your skills in your first industry so that you still feel involved. Stay in touch with the latest industry news and developments so that you are aware of new working practices and opportunities.
Also keep in touch with contacts in your network, your previous colleagues and employers – find out if anything relevant is coming up. Is there something in the pipeline that you could be considered for or maybe they have other relevant contacts that they could introduce you to?
We don’t know what’s coming next
If that sub heading sounds a bit ominous, then try re-reading it with a positive spin – because actually if you don't know what's coming, how could you know if something good or even better could be coming around the corner for you?
We don’t know what’s coming next in terms of the pandemic and much of our anxiety is coming from uncertainty surrounding that. However, if I could tell you what does come next for you right now, you would need to be in the right state of mind to hear the answer clearly in order to be able to take on board what it means for you.
When you don’t know what’s coming next, the absolute best thing is to focus on your very next step. Not your next major move but literally the next step you are going to take after you’ve read my post.
Then continue with more little next steps, always focusing on the things you can control, not the things that you can’t.
It’s not personal
Finally, I think it’s really important to remember that this is not personal – although it does affect us all on a very personal level. But the point here is that it’s not about something we did wrong, and it’s important to remember this.
The whole world is affected by the economic impact of the pandemic, and so please keep that in mind if the mental demons set in.
Being kind to yourself, getting exercise and generally looking after yourself is so important right now. During the job hunting process you are going to need plenty of energy and focus to find the vacancy, update your CV, apply for the job and attend interviews.
All of these are powered by your confidence levels and how good you are feeling about yourself.
If you don’t feel confident, you might not feel good enough and the process could overwhelm you. List all the things that are great about you and make a list of all you have achieved (no matter how small).
Yes the market is tougher than normal right now and the job searches might take longer, but there are companies hiring and people like you are getting hired.
You need to get clear on what you can bring to the role, particularly if the job is outside of your usual experience. We can fool ourselves into thinking that because we have spent years in one job or one industry, we can’t be successful elsewhere - if that's what you want.
I often remind my clients of their transferable skills. If we move jobs, it doesn’t mean we should forget all the skills that we have used in the past – they could be as relevant.
If your career is off track, then remember it’s not your fault. And you don’t have to reinvent yourself into a new career path if it’s not what you want. There are 100 different ways to compromise, and if plan A or B don’t work, the alphabet has 26 letters.
Every plan, idea or goal needs a What, a Why and a How. If you need some help and support to find yours in order to create a realistic plan to move forward, please get in touch - I would love to hear from you.