Perhaps you've worked the same job for ages and aren't happy anymore. One day, life decides to turn your world upside down with a reality check. You ask yourself: “Is this what I really want to be doing with the rest of my life?” You find yourself checking job listings at odd times during the night and day until you finally realize you need a life change — more specifically, you need a career change.
Don't peruse job listings without a goal in mind, only to haphazardly submit your resume with outdated and irrelevant information. Slow down, and take time to look at your situation more in-depth. Ask yourself these important questions as you conduct your job search and interview.
1. Does Making This Change Make Me Feel Comfortable?
Switching jobs or transitioning careers will bring some level of discomfort. You must ask if making this switch will disrupt or upset your life on a level that will harm you financially or emotionally. Most solutions to your concerns will come. Consider job offers closer to home if worried about being too far away from family, for example.
Remember that change benefits and revolutionizes lives, too. A change of environment and a new career shakes up your routine. You may approach your career and life from an entirely new perspective.
2. Will I Have Enough Support To Make This Switch?
Do you have enough money to sustain you while you job search? Are you able to move back home in case of an emergency? Does your family support your decision? Don't give up yet if the answer to these questions feels negative.
Don't discount various types of support and resources if you think your situation looks impossible. Your network is larger than you think. What about support systems that help families in need? What about friends who live in various cities? What about the network you developed in college or your church family? All you have to do is open up, ask for support, and it often comes.
3. Why Am I Not Happy?
It makes sense to apply to similar jobs within your scope of experience and education. Will taking this course of action with your job search hold you back? By looking for a similar experience or job, you will find yourself stuck in a similar role or environment that makes you unhappy.
Ask why you aren't happy now to eliminate the causes of unhappiness. Was your prior boss or work culture too negative? Did you feel unsupported? 35 percent of employees blame bad behavior on their bosses as a primary cause for unhappiness, and concentrating on learning about various communication styles helps to alleviate future clashes.
Do you need better benefits? Get to the root of your unhappiness to make your next career move a better fit.
4. What Benefits Do I Need and Deserve?
Asking for benefits that better fit your needs doesn't mean you were ungrateful for the benefits offered by your previous employer. Do you plan to raise a child? Do you need better coverage for yourself and the whole family? Take a moment to really consider what benefits you’ll need most. Health insurance is important, but so are things like paid time off, worker’s compensation and retirement plans.
And what about the interim? Will you be job searching while employed? If you're not employed, your income level may cause you to drop your health insurance: 94 percent of uninsured American households fall below the poverty line. For these households, keeping a roof overhead and buying groceries take precedence. Many of these individuals qualify for Medicaid and subsidies to decrease premium costs. If all else fails, buying short-term health insurance may tide you over until you secure a job. Claim those savings and seek support when in need.
5. Over the Next Five Years, What Skills Do I Want to Develop?
Look to the future, and ask yourself how you want to advance your career. Is traveling internationally important for you? Want to spearhead major projects for upscale clients? A five-year plan will enable you to clearly see your career path and the steps you need to take to achieve your goals. Write them down. Concentrate on developing and honing the skills you'll need to achieve these desire, and don't entertain job offers that misalign with your career plan.
Direct your job search on companies that will afford you real opportunities to manifest your potential. Flexibility allows you the freedom to widen your search, but don't give up your career goals for the sake of a role that will pay decently but only make you feel stuck again in the end.
As you job search, ask yourself these five questions to clearly see your future career path unfold before your eyes. Make sure you have the support you need and reach out when you feel alone.
Moving to a new position is a difficult choice. You must get to the root of why you were unhappy or felt unsupported in your prior position to make your next role an enjoyable and mutually beneficial one. Envision your future career and take action with confidence — you'll set your sights on better opportunities in no time.