When and How to Make a Career Re-Assessment

It may seem heresy during the depths of a prolonged recession to be thinking about making a career change but if you are feeling drained, bored, or just tired doing what you have been doing, you need to know when and how to make a career re-assessment.

The danger of staying in a job too long is that it can often lead to career burnout. That is when you give up on everything and cannot focus on anything positive at work or in life; an all too common mid-life crisis that typically results in people flailing about as they attempt to re-invigorate their life. Tragically, this can result in the breakup of marriages, separation and discord among family members, friends becoming distant, and making financial decisions that result in a loss of accumulated wealth.

Here are some techniques you can use now to try to find what needs changing and whether now is an appropriate time to make a change:

  1. Make a list of those things you do in your job that you like and would like to continue doing in a new career. When you have finished your list, prioritize it with the most important things at the beginning.
  2. Make a list of those things you do not want to do any more regardless of whether you are good at them or not. Again, when you’ve finished the list, prioritize it.
  3. Using a blank sheet, draw a line down the middle. Label the left side “People I don’t like working with” and label the right side “People I like working with” based on your prior work experiences.
  4. When you describe a type of person you don’t like working with on the left side, go to the right side and describe how you would look for people with the opposite characteristics. For example, if you don’t want to work with people who freely criticize others, you might say you want to work with people in a collaborative working environment.
  5. List those things you like doing outside of work that energize or invigorate you.
  6. List the language you like hearing. By language, I mean do you like talking about people’s problems, do you like talking about certain financial transactions, do others come to you for answers about certain subjects or problems? The language you like often indicates where your brain lights up and enjoys getting into the details of a particular subject. When interviewing candidates in my search practice, I could tell when the were energized. Their voice level increases, they talk faster, they become more animated, and they go into more detail.

Now, put all this together by creating your ideal job:

  • What skills and experience do you want to use most that you are best at doing? (1 and 2)
  • What type of people do you prefer to work with? (3 and 4)
  • What environment would you most like to work in where you think you would excel? (5 and 6)
  • Describe two or three achievement stories that demonstrate your skills and experience and supports why you are best qualified to do a job that matches what you want to do.

The next step is to test your theory about your ideal job and your skills and qualifications for it by talking to those closest to you for their input on whether they think it is consistent with what they know about you and, if not, why not.

You now have a clear and positive description of what you want to do that you can tell others who can help you along your journey.

If you would like more information about making career changes, go to the Resource Library: Career Center.

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