Monday, February 8, 2010

Before You Leap...

Okay, so you’ve got the itch to change jobs. The question to ask your self is whether you should scratch that itch or, put a salve on it until the itch goes away.

Before you leap into the unknown, be certain that you have good sound reasons for wanting to make a change. Do you really believe that you can put your career on the faster track with a new job, or are you just running away from a situation you find uncomfortable?

Among the questions to ask yourself are the following:
  • What is it that I truly want?
  • Are there things that I can do to make my present situation more acceptable?
  • If I decide to make the jump, what am I leaving behind? Job security? Pension? Benefits? Seniority?
  • What do I want my future job to look like?
  • > More money?
    > Different job title?
    > More opportunities for growth?
    > Greater work/life balance?
    > Is there a market for my current skills?
    > Do I need to upgrade my skills?
You will be doing yourself a huge disservice if you allow yourself to be driven by a sense of malaise to make a change just for the sake of making a change. If you can't spell out in writing the valid reasons you want to move to a new job, then don't set the process in motion.

If, on the other hand, a leap is in the offing, then you need to be totally committed to your job search. Job searching is an exhausting task and requires a very thick skin. Be prepared for a countless number of “no’s” before you are even granted an interview, much less a job. Know that there is a lot of talent out there and that it is unlikely that you will be courted. Search for a job takes time and effort. There are no shortcuts. Due diligence is critical.
Before you jump, do the following:
  • Make sure to chat with people who are already in the industry to get at least some kind of assurance that what you perceive to be the job and duties are close to reality and not some romantic version of what you believe the job to be.
  • Talk to people in your network
  • Read appropriate career and job profiles
  • Suss out industry trends/innovations by reviewing news articles and trade journals
  • Seek guidance from a career management professional

Know that the best time to consider a career change is when you are safely ensconced in your existing one. A steady paycheque can relieve a lot of pressure. There is nothing wrong with testing the water, but it is important do so in a productive manner. While employed, take a few baby steps toward your new career path, such as volunteering or offering yourself as a freelancer or consultant.