This is the third in a 3-part series about ten career myths that can hold you back. There are links to parts 1 & 2 at the bottom of this post.
I wrote this advice for a presentation I made to an audience of Millennials, but most of the advice is relevant for anybody who works.
What’s Your Next Move?
You’d better pick the right path because it’s too hard to change later on. It’s too late to go back to school.
True: Making a career change and/or going back to school can be hard – especially as responsibilities like partners, mortgages and children become part of your life.
False: You have one life and you are the one in charge of managing it. For most people, there is no one magic path. You change, the world around you changes. The work you loved at 25 becomes a drag by the time you’re 30, or 40, or 50. That’s ok, that’s life.
A lucky few may find their calling at 18 and pursue it joyfully for the rest of their lives. Most of us will need to shift jobs and careers over the course of a 40+ year working life. The key is to check in with yourself regularly, be honest with yourself about what’s working and what’s not, and to PLAN for a change when needed. Reflect on your strengths and what type of work is satisfying to you. When are you in that zone where work doesn’t feel like work? Research your options. Not every career change requires going back to school, but changing may require dropping back to learner status in a new field. Again, that network can be so helpful here.
If you’re not happy at your job, the best thing to do is leave and go someplace else.
True: Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to leave a work situation that makes you miserable. If you dread going to work every day, something needs to change.
False: Taking a new job for the sole purpose of fleeing your current one is rarely a good strategy. A mentor asked me to consider years ago whether I was fleeing FROM something or moving TO something. This is a very important distinction. When you decide to make a change, be very specific with yourself about what is the different outcome you are trying to create. Is it more autonomy, less travel, more time with your family, a more creative environment, a nurturing boss….the list is different for everybody.
Before you leave the job you’re in, have you done your research to determine if there is a way to fix the current situation? If leaving is definitely the right solution, then take care with your new job search. Don’t rely solely on the recruiter and hiring manager at the prospective employer for your insight about what it would be like to work there. Use that network, talk to people who work at the prospective employer. So that when you make the leap, it’s more about the excitement about what’s ahead rather than relief at what you’re leaving behind.
Prior Posts in This Series: