December is a great time of the year, finally we can relax after another hectic year and with the new year around the corner it is time to start thinking of making changes, particularly changes in our careers. Come January the employment market becomes more active and it can be very tempting to jump into a new job. After all a new year, new beginnings right?
Switching jobs or careers is a big decision. To head off in a new direction is to head off into the unknown, and it can be highly stressful. Sometimes you hit the jackpot with a brilliant new job that you love, other times you land up in a similar situation or worse. Unfortunately you really don’t know if your gamble will pay off until you start your new role.
Is changing your job the right move for you?
Before typing up your resignation letter and handing it to your boss, ask yourself the following questions:
What do you like about your current job?
When you are stressed or tired, you can get stuck in a negative thought cycle making it difficult to take a step back and see if the situation is really as bad as you think it is. So find a quiet space and really reflect on your current role. What do you like about your job? Are there particular activities you really enjoy doing like problem-solving or dealing with customers? Do you enjoy the camaraderie with your colleagues? Are there job perks that add value to your life or finances?
What don’t you like about your current job?
If you are feeling negative about your job, this will probably be an easier list to create. However before writing down all your complaints think about each one objectively. For instance is the issue constant or are you just going through a rough patch? In some industries work ramps up towards the end of the year which can create a high-pressured environment but for most of the year it is pretty calm – is this the case for you? Also ask yourself if you are blowing things out of proportion due to your emotional state.
What can you change in your current job?
Things can change if you want them to. For instance if you are frustrated with your career growth, can you speak with your boss about getting a promotion or taking on more responsibility? If you have issues with one or two of your colleagues consider what you can do to mend your relationship with them. Sometimes a simple conversation can resolve differences, remember that you share the responsibility to resolve issues with others, it isn’t only up to them to mend the relationship.
What is the gap between what you want to do and what you are doing?
Although sometimes the ideas are vague, we all have an inkling of what we really want to be doing and what we are doing. Think about your ideal role, what are you doing? What are your responsibilities and activities? Think about your work lifestyle. Do you work flexitime or have a regular 9-to-5 job? Once you have established what your ideal role looks like to you then compare it to your reality. What are the gaps between what you want to do and what you are doing? Can you have a discussion with your boss to see how they can help you achieve your ideal role?
In many instances companies will be accommodating and help you achieve some, if not all, of your desired changes. After all if you leave they lose a valuable employee who understands their business. So before jumping ahead of yourself and handing in your resignation determine what you really want, see what changes you can make in your current role and then have that conversation with your boss to see how they can help you. It is one conversation, one that can make significant differences in your working life so what do you have to lose?