Don't Change Career!

Why a new career is not always the answer

Change Career Reflections

What do you mean, ‘don’t change career’? That is what the How To Change Careers website and the 5 Minute Career Coach are all about! 

Well, life never offers simple answers to the challenges we face, so I thought I’d be radical in this blog and suggest that if you are unhappy with your job, career change may not be the answer.

This may not be what you want to hear, but there are occasions when to change career may not the best way forward.

It's time to stop and reflect on your situation.


Look at the current level of pain you are experiencing

How bad is it really?  Step back and take a long look at your current work situation with an objective eye.  

Try just monitoring your daily work routine for a week or so and make a note not just of the frustrations and challenges but also of the things that were actually perfectly OK.  They might even have gone well!  

It is very easy to get locked into a kind of tunnel vision where all you see is the bad stuff.  So it is important to take a deep breath, step back and look at what is really going on from a more balanced perspective.

You know, it could be that there are just specific aspects of your job, or particular people in your current workplace that are the main cause of your frustration.  You may not need to throw the baby out with the bathwater as they say, maybe just a change of job would do the trick.


Look at the level of attraction of the alternatives

What alternatives are you toying with at the moment?  Have you got some specific ideas that really inspire and excite you? Is there something that you know you have always wanted to do?  If yes, that’s great – I encourage you to start taking steps to turn your dream into reality.

Or are you more in a place where you just think anything has got to be better than your current job? There must be something out there that would be a better fit for you if you could just put your finger on it.  But there is nothing specific to act as a magnet pulling you forwards – on the contrary, it is more that your current job is a strong negative that you are trying to escape from.

Deciding to change career is a big commitment and it is important to have a strong ‘pull’ towards your new career so that you keep going through the career change process.


Look at what you can do to manage your current situation

There is a strong expectation - in Western cultures at least - that life is a journey and that we should always be looking for the next step onwards and upwards.  That could be progression within a career or onwards into a new one.


But sometimes you need to allow the journey to go inwards and that means looking at yourself, your own resources, resilience and capacity to cope. To be honest, I think that is where the real journey of life happens.

So what can you do to change things for yourself at work?  Could you make a commitment to be helpful to your colleagues, to look for the good in everyone, to volunteer for some new projects?  Could you make a point of focusing on the things that are OK rather than always seeing the negative?  What ideas have you got?

And what can you do to manage the other bits of your life – your friends, family, social life, your home environment - so that your work issues are set in a stronger, more supportive context?  Making changes outside of work can have a real impact inside work. (Read more about the issue of career or life change here)


So don’t always aim to change career

Life is not always a journey forwards, so don’t get caught up in that busy rush onwards and upwards. Sometimes it is a quiet journey inwards to find more resources in yourself and in this way you become stronger and wiser.


What do you think?

  • Are you stuck thinking that a career change is the only answer?
  • Can you think of ways you can make your current work situation better?
  • How can you grow your own inner resources to help you manage your situation more effectively?

Over to you

I'd love to hear your thoughts about what you just read! Do share in the comment box below.

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From the 5 Minute Career Coach May 2014


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