Certain people have a well-defined career path and whether employed or unemployed, continue to make strategic career decisions based on preset short and long-term goals.
On the other hand, many people reach a point in their career where as blues legend B.B. King says, “The Thrill Is Gone” and they feel the time is right to change careers.
Now, if you fall into the latter category, here are two things to consider:
1) Are you running away from your current career or running towards a new one? The majority of career changers I meet are running from their past without a well defined understanding of the new career they want to pursue and why; this is not the healthiest way to go.
2) Are you running away from your career or are you running away from your current employer? Many people I meet confuse the two and the burnout is caused more by their current situation than their current career. More often than not it is their current job that is no longer challenging, or they at odds with their current boss, or they no longer enjoy the company culture and confuse this with career dissatisfaction. Before you make a change make sure this is not so.
What you can do to get a clearer picture of whether you should change careers is the following:
Take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle to make two columns. On the right side list the things you like about your current job and/or career and on the left the things you dislike.
On another sheet of paper, on the right list the things you would change if you stayed in your current job/career and on the left list the things that you want to maintain the same.
On another sheet of paper list the first 10-15 things that come to mind about what constitutes an ideal job. Some things to consider might be size of company, company culture, compensation, benefits, close to home, has lots of travel, has no travel, allows me to telecommute, has tuition refund etc. When your done rate them, in order of importance.
Finally, on another sheet of paper list the new career path or job you have been considering (and make a separate sheet for each different one) then list what appeals to you about it.
When you finish this you should have a good idea of what job you should be looking for and why. If you have a hard time figuring it out, email me or give me a call.