Thinking of a career change? Ask yourself these three questions first!

It’s June. We are now half way through 2019 and those “New Year, New You” promises you made to yourself to find a new job got kicked into the long grass. As summer approaches perhaps you are thinking it’s about time to bite the bullet and find yourself a new career.

The summer can be the perfect time to start thinking about a career change and a summer break is a great time to take stock of what you want and think about what action to take. The temptation may be to leap into something new, but before you do that ask yourself three important questions.

1. What is REALLY driving me to change career?

The first question you need to ask when changing careers is what is really behind this and what is really driving you to make a career change. A big one is usually “not being happy” but take a moment to figure out what that means to you and what is making you unhappy:

  • is it your actual job? the work you do? the direction your company is heading?
  • is it the culture of the organisation? does it grate with you and your values?
  • is it your boss? are you clashing?
  • is it your colleagues? are they hard to get on with? do you have anything in common?
  • are you bored? do you need more stretch and challenge?
  • is it all of the above?

If it’s only one element that is making you unhappy, then it is worth considering if a change in company or sector is needed rather than a complete change in career. Or whether you could make some changes to your current situation.

2. How will I know what WILL make me happy at work?

You don’t want to leave one career that you’re unhappy in to find yourself in the same position in your new career because you’re not clear about what will give you satisfaction and fulfilment. Do an audit on your current job, but this time look at what you enjoy about it and what has been missing from it. Then make a list of everything you would want in your ideal job. Consider location, salary, hours as well as job satisfaction, culture, people, sector, challenge, etc.

Your wish list is important as it will allow you to measure any new career options and work out what you might compromise on and what are your deal breakers. Being clear about what you need to make you happy at work means you can make conscious choices about what next.


3. What about the future you?

It’s easy to just focus on the most immediate change, especially when your current situation feels untenable and you’re desperate to escape it. But having a long-term plan (or even just a strong idea) of where you want your career to take you will give you clarity over whether the short term move is right. It helps you work out whether staying and making things work or leaving for a transition role is the best way forward. Being strategic about each step and how it takes you closer to your longer-term goal is really powerful, and one of the keys to long term career success.

Take stock of your situation and ask yourself these questions. I know it will be worth the time and mental effort you invest.
And remember, if it is the right time to move on the best jobs can be found at: