Is Your Parachute the Right Color?

Unemployment has caused a havoc among all layers of society. Many students are no longer interested to continue college because they see their graduated counterparts standing without steady paychecks.  Furthermore, midlevel and c-level executives have experienced many layoffs which have created confusion and disarray about future plans and goals and discouragement.  Most of the change has not been positive. Many industries that were once thriving are now barely surviving. But some change has been good; sometimes we know we have every reason to make a career change, complacency or fear of the unknown holds us back. Then something happens and it forces us to start moving in a new direction.

If you are among the group that is considering career change, answering the 10 critical questions below may help you in making the right transition:

1. Where are you within your current job satisfaction? Keep a journal of your working hours and look for recurring themes. Which aspects of your current job do you enjoy and which aspects do you resist? What is the source of the dissatisfaction? People, tasks, growth, leadership?

2. What are your interests, values and skills? You can best answer these questions by seeking some career coaching.  Self-help resources are a good starter, but can never be as in-depth and resourceful as seeking professional help in the same duration of time.

3. What are suitable career alternatives? The previous step would have hopefully provided some groundwork for this.  But in addition, seek friends, family, networking contacts and previous coworkers ideas. When it comes to ourselves, we are always blinded by our own challenges and weaknesses. Let other trusted advisors shed a light on the matter.

4. What is your passion? And what is your Fear? Answering these two questions can usually give you some meaningful details in identifying targets fields for consideration.

5. Are you up to date regarding salary, education, technology requirements?  It is amazing how much change has come about from technology and how much impact that technology has had on all industries.  Knowing your data as well as your challenges will help guide your choices more wisely. Of course reach out to personal contacts in the arenas for specifics as well.

6. Do you love the idea or the job? It is amazing how individuals create boundaries for themselves.  Minus a few jobs out there, the majority don’t require creativity, and it comes down to the individual themselves to add that to their day.  Try to decipher between hobby and job.  Unless you turn your job in to a hobby, it will never be one.

7. Do you have a handle on your salary expectations? Unless you know how much you need and how much you desire, meaning savings, you will not be ready for that interview in a realistic way.  Getting an offer is great, but how you landed the job will always impact your perception of it.

8. Do you keep up with networking and social media contacts? social media is no longer a choice it’s a must! On the other hand, getting out of your office, and meeting new people from different industries, and involvements is just as important.  Make it a part of your current job, volunteer to go to networking opportunities.

9. What is your culture?  Behavioral interviewing is no longer a fad.  Strong organizations all have this strategy embedded within their selection process.  You need to as well.  Assess whether you are a good fit for the organization before even applying.  Just because the job fits doesn’t mean the company does.

10. Have you considered alternative roles, or locations? within your current industry, would you be able to utilize the industry knowledge you already have and consider a move to a different role within the same industry? On the other hand, sometimes within larger organizations, alternate locations are almost like a complete different organization.

 

Good or bad, all changes require some sort of action. We must adapt our careers to this “new” economy. For some that may mean choosing a career in an entirely different field. For others it may mean changing the way you think about your career path and modifying it accordingly.