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Last Updated on August 28, 2019

How to Know if You Need a Career Change Now

How to Know if You Need a Career Change Now

Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

How to Know if You Need a Career Change

The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

Physical Signs

Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

Mental Signs

One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

  • The tension in your neck
  • Difficulties with sleeping
  • Unable to concentrate
  • High anxiety
  • Depression

If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

Desire for an Increase of Salary

The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

Overnight Decision

Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.

Rejected for a Promotion

I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.

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Bored at Work

Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

  • How long have you worked in your career?
  • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
  • Do you receive recognition?
  • Can you consider working in a new department?

If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations can help, then it’s time to make a career change.

How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

  • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
  • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
  • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

How to Make a Career Change Successfully

The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

1. Write a Career Plan

A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

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You can learn how to set your career plan here.

2. Weigh Your Options

If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

  • Economic factors
  • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
  • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
  • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
  • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

    A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

    4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

    A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

    • What is required to be successful in the role?
    • What certification or educational development is needed?
    • What are the challenges of the role?
    • Is there potential for career advancement?

    A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

    Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

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    5. Research Salary

    Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

    It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

    6. Be Realistic

    If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

    For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

    Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

    7. Volunteer First

    A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

    Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

    Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

    8. Prepare Your Career Tools

    I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

    • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
    • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
    • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
    • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

    Bottom Line

    It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit with your skillsets.

    Master these action steps and changing career paths will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

    More About Career Change

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

    [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
    [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
    [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

    More by this author

    Makeda Waterman

    An experienced online media journalist blogs about work and career development.

    How to Know if You Need a Career Change Now

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    Last Updated on December 9, 2019

    How to Set Goals Smartly to Accomplish More in Life

    How to Set Goals Smartly to Accomplish More in Life

    We all know setting goals is the best way to give your life focus and direction. But did you know that by setting goals, it can also help you to get a lot more of your important work done?

    Having clear and effective goals that are built around your values focuses your mind on what is important. It helps you filter out the unnecessary and gives you an ‘outcome mindset’ rather than a ‘task mindset’.

    An outcome mindset is one where you are focused on the objective—the outcome— of what you are intending to achieve. A task mindset focuses on the tasks you have to do each day and this leads to completing unnecessary tasks (or spending too much time on the unimportant) and procrastination.

    To help you with transforming yourself from being focused on the tasks and to be focused on the outcome, here are 17 ways having clear goals will not only increase your productivity but also supercharge your ability to get the important things done:

    1. Make it a goal to have no more than 10 tasks on your to-do list each day.

    One of the surprising benefits of having a small number of goals for the day is how frequently you find yourself accomplishing more.

    When you have a random number of tasks to complete each day, the likelihood is you will not get them all done.

    When you set yourself a small number of tasks to complete—your “must completes” for the day—and you restrict these to a set number, you are much more likely to get them done.

    2. Decide what your monthly and weekly goals are.

    What do you want to accomplish this month? What do you want to accomplish this week? These questions focus you in on the things that are important to you.

    Most people are waiting for life to happen to them, after all, it is far easier to react to events around you than to create events around you.

    When you create the events in your life by having weekly and monthly goals that reflect your objectives for the year, you are going to get far more of your important work done.

    3. Work on what’s important to you and focus on your priorities

    Building your daily life around your goals is going to keep you on the path you want to follow.

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    Without any goals directing you towards where you want to go, you will find yourself drifting off your desired path and aimlessly wandering through life, wondering how you got to where you are. More often than not, where you end up will not be where you want to be.

    4. Eliminate the unimportant tasks that come up each day

    Every day throws up a lot of unexpected issues. These issues often come from our bosses, clients/customers and friends and family. It does not matter how well planned your day is, these things are going to happen.

    When you have a set number of goals to achieve each day, these issues will not hijack your day and destroy it. You will find you can handle the unexpected while continuing to get on with your important work for the day.

    5. Always stay focused

    When you set goals, it means you have made a decision about what it is you want to achieve and what is important to you. This allows you to become a much more focused person because you are mindful of what you want.

    Focus, in today’s world, is a skill in short supply. By developing your focus, you are going to put yourself way ahead of everyone else.

    6. Begin the day with a goal

    One of the best ways to accomplish more of your important tasks each day is to begin the day with a clear goal.

    It could be to complete a specific project or to simply get outside and walk for thirty minutes in nature.

    When you start the day with a specific goal to do something, you are much more likely to get it done.

    7. Start small

    If you have never had an outcome-orientated mindset, then begin will small steps.

    A simple goal to have each day, and a very healthy one, is to go for a thirty-minute walk.

    Another simple goal to set for the day is to choose one piece of work that you will complete that day, then focus all your attention on getting that work completed before you finish for the day.

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    These pieces of completed work add up over time, and you’ll find that you are getting far more done than you ever did before.

    8. Ask yourself: What one thing you could do today that would have the biggest positive impact on your day?

    This is a great way to accomplish even the hardest of goals.

    Asking yourself this question really helps you discover what projects and work are important. This question is not focused on completing the goal. This question is all about making progress on the goal.

    Once you have completed that task, you will find the next step happens naturally. Before you know it, you have made a huge impact on your goal.

    9. Consistently take small steps which lead to great distances

    One of the biggest reasons why most people never achieve their goals is their goals seem impossible because of the time and effort required to achieve them.

    The best way to make even the most difficult goals achievable is to break them down into small manageable steps. Even the smallest step moves you forward towards achieving the goal.

    Just two or three little steps completed every day will, over time, take you towards where you want to be.

    Want to write a book? Writing 500 words per day will give you a 60,000-word manuscript in around ten months.

    10. Plan what you are going to achieve the day before with the 2+8 Prioritization System

    This one always works. Before you finish your day’s work, take ten minutes or so and decide what two things you will achieve the next day. This is what I call my “two objectives”.

    Once you have decided on your objectives, write down eight other tasks you want to complete the next day. These tasks I call my “focus tasks”.

    You then make sure that whatever gets thrown at you the next day, you will complete these ten tasks.

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    Over a period of one month, you will have achieved around 300 meaningful tasks all related to your goals and important work.[1]

    11. Know what your majors and minors are

    This one is the secret of all highly successful people. They know what work has the most impact on their life and business and what work does not.

    For example, checking emails, while necessary, is not a major task. It does not move you forward in any meaningful way. Talking to your most important customer and reinforcing your strong relationship with them, that’s a major.

    One of the best examples I’ve heard comes from Brian Tracy. In his example, Brian says a salesperson doing work in the office is doing minor work. A salesperson talking with a customer is doing major work.

    Focus all your time and energies on your major work and reduce the time you spend on your minor work.

    12. Add positive pressure to get more done

    When you have goals, you feel obligated to do something about them. When you do not have a goal, you are much more likely to procrastinate and spend unproductive time thinking about what to do next.

    Goals give you clarity, goals give you purpose and when you have both clarity and purpose, you find you no longer procrastinate and you utilize your time much more effectively.

    13. Have specific, clear goals to incentivise you to move forward.

    How you write the action steps related to your goals is important. If you have a goal that says “make an online course,” you will not achieve very much.

    Writing your action steps out such as “make progress on the online course outline” or “make five slides for online course” is specific and is going to lead to action and achievement.

    14. Make progress that drives more progress

    When you see you are making progress on your goals every day, you will find you begin getting much more done.

    Momentum is created once you start and when momentum begins you find positive habits develop. Put momentum and motive together and you have the ingredients for massive progress towards your goals and your work.

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    15. Take up accountability

    Something amazing happens to our brains when we set ourselves goals. Having goals we are very clear about and determined to achieve gives our brains the necessary incentive to focus on getting the goal achieved.

    We have accountability to ourselves. That accountability gives us all the incentive we need to get the work done every day.

    16. Use the power of Parkinson’s Law

    Parkinson’s Law states “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.

    When you have set goals to achieve each day and you begin the day with a review of what you want to get completed, Parkinson’s Law will take over.

    This means no matter what else gets thrown at you throughout the day, if you have set yourself a time, you will finish your work for the day, you will find you will finish what you have planned for the day at that time. This one works brilliantly.

    17. Become a highly focused, goal achieving individual

    Having goals you are focused on each day develops a ‘can do’ mindset. When you have a strong ‘can do’ mindset and the discipline to focus on what you want to get accomplished each day, you find work you previously thought would take weeks and months to complete soon start being completed within hours or days.

    A great mindset and a strong work ethic, coupled with daily goals will make some very positive changes in your life.

    These 17 tips are just the start. When you begin focusing your daily activities on your goals instead of on your tasks, you will see an incredible transformation take place in your life.

    Your energy increases, you feel happier more often and you start to feel you are making progress on the things that are important to you which just leads to accomplishing more and more.

    More About Setting & Achieving Goals

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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