Imagine that you possess the power to predict the future and instantly know the best career choice for you. With 100% accuracy, you were clear on the best route to achieve your dream job. No more frustration or pain from poor career decisions. No need for uncertainty, second-guessing or regrets. Wouldn’t that be ideal?
Now back to reality. There is no crystal ball. You have to continue to predict and learn through trial and error. Daniel Gilbert Ph.D., a Harvard University psychology professor, talks about his research ‘affective forecasting’ and how people often fail at predicting what they think will bring them happiness. It makes sense that when we are asked to make life-long career choices for ourselves in college, quite often we go down the wrong path.
What do you do when you come to a crossroads and recognize you want to move your career in a new direction? Maybe you want something more fulfilling? How do you start over when you are past the age of 30? Many of us are confronted with this dilemma and it isn’t an easy choice to make. Here are three tips to think about before switching your career:
• Are you in the wrong JOB or are in you in the wrong CAREER? It is normal to outgrow the role or company you are in. But do you need to run as far away as possible or just seek a new challenge?
• What is your financial plan? Switching into a new career or starting your own business often involves many types of business and financial risks. And while I believe that taking risks often leads to terrific rewards, failing to realistically assess such risks can be financially catastrophic.
• What do you really want from this career change? Maybe, just maybe, you don’t want a different career at all. Consider that you might just want to feel inspired, bring forward new aspects of yourself and exercise new skills. Can you get this feeling from extracurricular activities or by bringing new energy into your current career?
We spend a great deal of our lives working and it isn’t easy when you feel that you aren’t appreciated or that you have limited opportunity for self-actualization or self-expression. But here is the most important thing to consider: Any important life change should be made with your eyes wide open.
Plan, plan, plan, and then plan some more. Consult with people you know, respect and trust. Develop a timetable. Commit to taking action because nothing will change unless you make it change. You will find that bringing energy, enthusiasm and commitment into this process will give you more control over your career. Whether you move on to a new venture or reinvent your current position, you will make an informed decision and the choice will be yours.
The good news about making career choices in adulthood is that now that you have more life experience under your belt, you also have a stronger gut instinct. Listen to it and trust that you have the power to create the best possible outcome.
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Sending you peaceful thoughts and wishes for brighter days.