Image: Change ahead. A blog post about reasons to change career.

We’ve all been there. Unhappy in your job, feeling stressed and undervalued, and in desperate need for a change.

There are so many reasons for people to make a career change. Each one of them is valid and often personal.

My clients usually come to career coaching with a open mind about where they want to go, but it’s very clear from the first session what they don’t want in their working life anymore. The things that are making them frazzled and frustrated.

These catalysts – the aspects of their working life that they don’t want any more – can effect their mood, health, sleep, eating patterns, family life, relationships, marriage, work-life balance and outlook for the future.

Never fear! If you recognise yourself in the examples below there are steps that you can take to free yourself from the downward spiral and get yourself into work that you’ll really love!

Read on for the six common catalysts for a career change and what to do if this is you…

Six catalysts for career change

1)  Feeling demotivated and undervalued in your job

Whether you’ve lost interest in your role or area of work, been passed over for promotion, working all the hours with no thanks or are simply bored because you’ve been doing it for so long, you’ve probably got one foot out of the door already.

If you’ve not already explored opportunities to improve your situation at work with your boss? If not, then why not book in a meeting or use your next appraisal to talk about opportunities to take on more interesting tasks or to do a secondment to another department to gain new skills.

If you have tried all this and know that you’re heart just isn’t in it anymore, then it’s probably time to explore your skills, passions and options for making a shift – or a radical change – in your career.

“I sought out coaching because I felt a bit stuck. I was due to return to work after having a baby, but the job was dull and left me deflated and frustrated. You pointed out how many times in our sessions I would say ‘in an ideal world, I’d do XYZ…’ and that in reality, there was no reason why I couldn’t try and pursue those goals. The changes I’ve made as a result of the coaching are things I probably could have done years ago but wasn’t brave enough.” AN, Surrey (client)

2) You’ve had a health scare or a major life change

Getting married, starting a family, moving town or having a health scare can often make you get a new perspective and re-evaluate your life and your priorities.

But lots of day-to-day experiences can lead to life-altering shifts in our priorities, too. For example, a friend with an eating problem might inspire you to retrain as a nutritionist. Seeing the flowers at a family wedding could lead to a new passion for floristry. Or a holiday abroad could get you thinking about changing careers to one that lets you live abroad.

Be mindful of encounters or people in your life that could trigger an interest in something new. It could just be a sign!

3)  The outlook in your current field is getting worse

Changes in technology, the economy or Government funding can have huge impact on employment prospects in different sectors. It happens a lot. The landscape at work is probably looking vastly different and your original career path may not be available to you any more.

There is another side of this coin though. Environmental concerns, a focus on health and wellness and changes in technology have created jobs and professions in industries that didn’t exist a few years ago. For example, renewable energies, online health coaching, environmental consulting, developing iPhone apps and social media management.

Do you feel fired up about one of these new and emerging industries? If so, don’t be afraid to think about changing careers. While many of these fields require new skills, you will often find that many of your skills are transferrable. Consider a what areas fits your personality and skills, but also do your research to see if you’ll be able to build a new career in a new field over time.

4)  Your career prospects are not as rosy as they were before maternity leave

“Being a new mum and returning to work was one of the most daunting decisions of my life. Having been in complete control of my career up until maternity leave I felt I was taking a leap into the unknown. Working with Lucy helped me prioritise and gave me confidence to go out and achieve my career goals without sacrificing my family balance, in fact putting it at the heart of my decision making.” NJ, Kent (client)

As I work with a lot of mums, sadly it’s still far too common that women’s jobs, career prospects and opportunities for promotion change after maternity leave. In this day and age it is outrageous that this still happens.

And it’s also true, that your own priorities shift with the arrival of a little one. Maybe you no longer need work kudos to give you a sense of identity, perhaps you’ve realised that you’ve been at burnout for far too long and need a new way of working or want your work-life balance to take a different shape than it used to to make the most of your child’s preschool years.

Whatever the reason, this is a great time in your life to re-evaluate your priorities, be honest with yourself about what motivates you in your work and life and create a new plan of action. This could be a plan to overcome the obstacles at work, designing a whole new, exciting career or even starting your own business.

5)  You’ve been made redundant 

Restructures and redundancies seem to be getting more frequent, especially in government agencies and voluntary organisations. A reorganisation has barely settled in when another is on the cards. It can be hard to keep up!

While redundancy can make you feel quite angry and really knock your confidence, there is a silver lining. It’s the perfect time to take a step back and take a fresh look at what your career to date has brought you, whether it’s the right kind of work for you now and whether there’s another type of work out there that would make you jump out of bed in the morning, raring to go.

Of course, shifting gears in your career—especially if you’ve been working in the same field for a long time—isn’t easy. It’s never immediate and takes a shift in mindset to overcome the natural worries that my clients have about about what other people will think. But these days, career paths are rarely linear and there will be a lot of exciting new ways of using your skills, experience and passions that you’ve not even thought about yet!

Take time to research your options, evaluate your strengths, learn new skills, try thing out and get yourself into a new, open and brave mindset – and you’ll find the path that’s right for you.

6) You didn’t “choose” your career

Some people didn’t really choose their career. It sounds crazy I know. Maybe you fell into your area of work or maybe it’s what your parent’s wanted you to do. Perhaps a family member helped you get a job because you just needed to pay the bills. Or maybe you took your job because of a particular skill you have, but you can’t see yourself doing it for the next 25 years.

One of the biggest reasons that people start to resent or disengage from their work is that it’s not aligned with their core values and beliefs. Core values and beliefs guide the way we live our lives. Values such as equality, leadership, compassion and creativity affect how you make decisions and how you interact with others, in all aspects of your life.

So, take some time to understand what your own values are and whether your current career is letting you live them. For example, is your office job giving you the creative outlets that you need? Does your customer service role offer the leadership progression that you would like? If you can nail this, then then you’ll have an excellent benchmark for potential career or roles to match up to.

What next?

If your career is the result of a series of ‘facts of life’, rather than something you consciously pursued, it’s worth thinking about whether there might be something better out there.

  • Consider taking a career and skills assessment to assess your skills and interests and identify careers you’d enjoy.
  • Figure out what transferrable skills you already have and determine those you need to acquire.
  • Think about how you want to work (office, outdoors, travelling, multi-site, work from home) and how you want to feel at the end of the day or week. What does your ideal work-life balance look like?
  • Take some time to reflect on what excites you and brings out the best in you. Can you see yourself turning it into a meaningful career?
  • Test our your ideas before you quit your current job by getting some work experience or shadowing in areas you are interested in.
  • If you’ve tried some or all of these by still don’t know which path to choose or have those pesky mind monkeys stopping you from taking the plunge, then why not invest in career change coaching to help you get clear on which new career is right for you, how to make it happen and the confidence to take the plunge to create a career that you’ll really love.

Free discovery session

Contact me for your free discovery session to find out how coaching can help you get the clarity and confidence you need to make your career change and make the most of your work-life balance.

There’s no obligation and no charge for this 45 minute discovery call. If you like my approach, then we can book your first session and start your journey to making change with confidence.

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