After several years at a job, it’s common for people to contemplate a new position within their organization, leave the company for something new or even strike out on their own to try their hand in an entrepreneurial stint.
The reasons for their changes often include dissatisfaction with the current organizational culture, lack of promotion, a desire to contribute in a more meaningful way and find opportunities to fully optimize their knowledge and skills.
At some point in our careers, the questions invariably come up: “Now, what do I really want to do?” and “Is this it?”
Career change advice: 3 things to think about
Here are some simple ideas as you contemplate the virtual unknown:
1. Find and leverage the right support system:
We really do nothing alone. We need mentors, lawyers, colleagues, executive/leadership coaches and even family to help navigate the road to change. Often we don’t see or hear what we hoped for. Perspectives from objective sources bring fresh solutions and ideas.
2. Evaluate your current position:
It can be easy to become intoxicated with visions of grandeur. Stay grounded and realistic about your currency in the market and how you spend it. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Do you have money to support you and your lifestyle while pursuing this new venture?
- How do your skills stack up against others in your field?
- What makes you different?
- What do you really want to do in this new role?
Don’t lose sight of any of these factors and answers.
3. Remember nothing is permanent:
We can make changes, mistakes and missteps as we travel our career roads. We learn through each experience, which ultimately makes us the leaders we are. Be honest about what you are good at doing and what the most challenging aspects are of your profession.
Stretch, grow and remember — the only compass you need to follow is your authenticity and how you want to contribute in this world.
Kristin Kaufman is founder of Alignment, Inc., formed in 2007 to help individuals, corporations, boards of directors and non-profits find alignment within themselves and their organizations. During her 25 years of corporate experience, she held executive positions at Hewlett-Packard, Vignette Corporation and United Health Group. Her first book – Is this Seat Taken? Random Encounters that Change your Life – is slated to appear in bookstores November 2011.