What’s Your Career Change Reason?

Is it really your career that needs to change?

portrait of beautiful african woman, pensive face expression

It is important to be very clear about your career change reason – are you absolutely sure it is your career that you want to change? Before your dive in and start planning a major career change, stop and take a step back and look at the wider aspects of your life.

If you are feeling frustrated or underused at work, it is very easy to look around and find things about your job that annoy or irritate you. The more you dwell on them, the more annoying they seem and gradually, everything about your jobs gets to look wrong! You just know your career change reason is to do with work!

But a similar thing can happen if you are frustrated in another part of your life.

The irritations there get taken into work with you and colour the way you feel about your job. Your work is only one part of your life. Yes, I know that at the moment it probably feels like the biggest and most frustrating part. But it never operates completely separately from everything else that you do.

While you are exploring your career change reason, make sure you take a look at the other parts of your life and see how they may be influencing how frustrated or contented you feel.

Life or career change?

You can divide your life up in different ways, but here are some of the typical ‘segments’ that people use when taking stock of their lives:


This usually means paid employment, but could include work done on a voluntary basis. You will probably already have a list of complaints about this one and so your career change reason seems obvious at first glance!


This includes your weight, your diet and your general level of fitness. Do you feel well in yourself? Are you happy with your body shape and size? Are you getting enough exercise?


This means your immediate family and maybe the wider family too if you are in close and regular contact with them. What are relationships like? Do you get on well and feel that they will help you out if needed? Or are there constant battles and arguments?


This means what you get to do for yourself. The things that you enjoy doing as opposed to the things you have to do. Do you get enough ‘me’ time? We all need some time to ourselves. Are you making sure you get that time and space or do you let the needs of others overwhelm you?


This means the amount you have coming in, in relation to what is going out. You may not need to be earning a high salary to be comfortable provided you can pay for the things you need and want in your life. What does the financial balance look like for you? Do you and your partner have the same attitude towards money?


This is to do with where you are living. Are you happy with your house or flat? Is it a pleasant environment to come home to? What about the area you live in? Do you like your wider surroundings? Is your reason for changing career to do with where you live?


This is to do with your close personal relationship with your partner – or it may be to do with absence of such a relationship. Are you happy with the way your personal life is going at present? Can you be sure that your career change reason is not bound up with relationship issues?

Personal Development

Is your life allowing you to grow as a person at the moment? Do you find that you have opportunities to find out more about exactly who you are and what is important to you?


This could be part of personal development, but is more specifically about opportunities to learn new things. This could be through your work, but does your life allow you time to learn about other things that interest you? Things to do with your hobbies and interests?


This is a matter of how supported you feel by friends. You don’t necessarily need to have lots of friends, though some people attract a wider circle than others. Do you feel that your friends are there for you rather than just leaning in you? Have you got someone you can turn to who will listen objectively when you need a moan?

So you see that there are a whole range of areas of your life that could be a source of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. What do you think is your real career change reason?

Wheel of life

There is an exercise called the Wheel of Life which can help you to compare all these different life areas. You may have come across this one before. It is a great tool to help you think about the whole of  your life and to identify where you need to concentrate your efforts.

It will help you decide whether the career change reason you think is central, really is the most important.  Draw a circle like the one below and divide it into 8 segments

wheel small
  • Choose 8 areas from the list above. Pick the ones that represent important aspects of your life
  • Transfer them on to the circle, allocating one to each of the 8 segments.
  • Then rate each one on a scale of 1 – 10 where 1 = not happy at all with this part of my life and 10 = this part of my life is great. Mark them on the wheel with 1 being close to the centre and 10 at the outer edge.
  • They are likely to vary quite a bit. You will probably end up with what looks like a very wobbly wheel!
  • Now take a look at the ones you have scored low on. Ask yourself…

‘If I spent time and effort working on improving this bit of my life, how much difference would it make?’

When you take a broader look like this you may see that maybe work is not the main area of your life that is bugging you. It could be that if you got fitter you would feel better about yourself or if you got your house of flat smartened up you would really look forward to being at home. Is it a new career that you need or a new relationship? Don’t jump to assume that it is the job that needs fixing – it might be something else!

So make sure that you investigate what your real career change reason is. It could be that a change in another part of your life could make all the difference.

You may also need to consider whether a change of job rather than a complete career change is what is needed. Read more…

About the author

Amy Thomas

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