I’ve had a few candidates chat to me lately, who have been so unhappy in their current roles that they are willing to quit their jobs without anything else lined up…. STOP ! Before you quit your job, travel the world on a sabbatical, or otherwise turn your life upside down, consider the following questions:
Are you financially secure?
The Market at the moment is not the busiest it has ever been and it’s taking a great deal longer to find employment. Making a career change normally takes three to six months, and even under the best of circumstances, it’s a stressful process. The last thing you need during that time is to worry about paying the bills or slipping into a debt trap. Before you take a drastic step, sleep on it! Is your job making you so unhappy you can’t continue on in life? Maybe it’s an issue that can be solved with a simple conversation to make your manager aware. What about your skills? Have you got such rare, marketable skills behind you that companies are headhunting you every second day? Unless they are and you do think twice.
Next figure out your monthly debts and expenses and make sure you are covered, comfortably for AT LEAST 6 months. If you’ve got that much money stashed away, great. You can take the time out to do some eat pray, love reflection; if not, think again, how can you best plan for the next few months!
If you’re short of funds, you need to proceed with caution. If you’re unemployed, you might want to take a part-time job while you’re looking for something more permanent. Otherwise, the financial anxiety will put a strain on you and you may end up jumping at the first job you’re offered, whether it’s right for you or not.
Do you have the right support around you?
It’s important you surround yourself with people who support you, both emotionally and financially. Equally important, you want to avoid people who aren’t supportive — and there may be more of them than you expect. A lot of your friends, colleagues may be secretly “jealous” that you can take time off. One or two people may talk behind the back and wonder if you dropped the ball so badly that you had to leave or if you are having some “mid-life” crisis.
Most dangerous of all, are those negative “neysayers” those people who reflect their negative energy onto you. It’s tough, they’ll say, for someone in your field. No one wants to hire anyone at the moment. Your industry is dying, You are the wrong colour or gender. You don’t stand a chance. Employees will question your “gap”.
Who needs that? Stay away from those pessimists if you can. If you’re lucky, your family and close friends will be supportive. If they’re not, contact the people you know who have made similar changes; try to forge a connection with younger friends and colleagues.
Do you have a direction?
Change for its own sake is pointless. You need to know where you’re heading, what is your aim? But the reality is early on your path, you may feel lost out at sea. You need to determine a general direction or some sort of goal. I always say take 48 hours to think things through:
- Identify Your Core Aim:
What are the core aspects of your work that mean the most to you? When were you last truly in a happy place in your career? It could be a particular aspect of your job, security, a team, a leadership role etc. These big concepts are the first elements you want to identify because if you aren’t achieving them in your work life, it doesn’t matter what else it may have, you won’t feel at peace again. Find that happy place
- Think about your ideals:
Before you jump to any conclusions, go home and “sleep on it”. Think about what you truly want:
Are you attracted to blue chip multi-national corporations with thousands of employees or small, independently run firms?
Do you prefer to work independently or in groups?
Are you happy to be best bound?
Can you survive open plan (best you can because most organizations are going that route) or do you need your own office?
Do you prefer more structure or can you?
Do you prefer to work on salary or on commission?
It’s important to decide what really matters to you and what is more flexible. You may not want to work for a financial services concern but after looking at the culture it matches your values perfectly! Many people are willing to accept the corporate controls because their workplace ticks all other boxes, micro-management may be rife but the company may highly incentivize their employees. Other people have zero tolerance for regulations like that. They value their freedom and want to be measured on performance only. Think about the area’s you could be more flexible to keep your options open.
- Think about all your possibilities
There comes a time in everyone’s lives where they need a change. A change in company, a change in responsibilities and even a complete shift in career. Don’t be afraid to dream and explore those side dreams of being an actress. Like me, you have particular goals for different phases in your life. I know I would love to be a teacher at some point, highly underpaid but hugely rewarded for the job that you do. Another dream of mine is to get into some sort of foreign relations; working for an embassy, wining and dining with politicians. Picture yourself in these roles, are they truly realistic and how can you position yourself in the right circles to get to know more about it. Consider the Pro’s and Cons, yes even though getting into a diplomat’s circle may be exciting the amount of travel that it would require might not go down so well with my family.
It may even help you realize that you actually LOVE your core job and you may just need a change in environment.
So if you are thinking about jumping off your boat, make sure you have done enough preparation in the beginning. Make sure you can float or have a life boat to support you. More importantly don’t live in misery, there are ways out there to make your everyday life more manageable.