3 Questions to Ask Yourself in a Career Change
If you’re new around here (welcome first of all!), you may not know that I recently switched career fields. I started my career in PR and after two amazing years I decided to shift into mobile marketing with a Saas company (software as a service aka very technology-focused, which was very foreign to me). From the DMs in my inbox, I’ve noticed that many of you may be looking into a career shift too, and if you’re reading this than I may be right.
Career changes are tough, but I truly believe they ultimate lead us to the career path we are meant to have. If you’re in the midst of a career change or considering one, here are three questions to ask yourself before making the jump.
1) Am I happy?
This may seem obvious and almost too simple to answer, but that’s because it should be the first sign something is off. Now, happiness in a career is likely to change over time. It will not stay the same and it will not always be smiles everyday. But if you notice that you’re having more bad days at work, if work stress is spilling into other avenues of your life and if you just feel it in your gut that you’re not happy, maybe it’s time for a change. It’s important to remember that this decision shouldn’t be built on a day or even a month of bad days. I gave it about six months before I seriously considered jumping ship. In those six months I had good days (and bad), but I overwhelmingly felt an unhappiness across my whole life that stemmed from unhappiness in my career. If you find yourself having a few stressful days, but ultimately happy and satisfied at work, maybe it’s time to focus in and commit to that job for a while.
2) Am I challenged?
This may be a little harder to notice than unhappiness, but ask yourself if you’re challenged enough at your current role. Are you constantly learning? Have you a hit a point where you feel like you know everything? Maybe you reached to top position. Maybe you’re the head of the department. Maybe you just do the same thing every day and could do your job while asleep. That’s a sign that you may have outgrown your role and it’s time to change. I became burnt out in PR and realized that I wasn’t learning everyday. I wasn’t tapping into my creativity. I wasn’t feeling challenged. The minute I realized that was a major factor into my unhappiness, I knew it was time to change.
3) Is there more I want to do?
It’s very possible to outgrow a current position, but not outgrow a field or company. Ask yourself if there’s more you can do at that position. Can you take on more projects? Can you shift into a new department? Can you seek a promotion and grow in responsibility? If you find yourself dreaming of projects at your current role, talk to your executive team and see what you can implement. If you’ve hit a point where you’ve done all you want/can do at your current place, ask yourself is there more you want to do outside of the company. I realized I wanted to do more innovative campaigns working with larger companies. I realized that there was more that I wanted to do in my career and that it was time to look into those ambitions.
Wherever you are in this decision, there is one important thing to know - it is YOUR decision. I sought counsel of my inner circle, but ultimately, I knew this was my decision. No one else can figure out what makes you happy, what makes you satisfied at work and what you want to do in your career. Your career is completely in your hands. Don’t give anyone else that power. It’s a tough decision, I won’t lie, but ultimately, your happiness is worth it. Be your own advocate, speak up for what you need and take control of your career.
Side note: I enjoyed my two years in PR, especially with the company I was at. While it was time for me to move on, I will always treasure the experiences and expertise I gained while working there. I have no ill feelings and I genuinely wish them all the best. Don’t misinterpret that!