Lockdown gave you time, and new perspectives. Now you're re-evaluating your career. This article outlines a few considerations to help you as you plan your next steps.
A lot of people have been suffering the effects of financial, social and medical uncertainty in the past few months, and COVID-19 is far from over. But for many, as Ireland reopens and work resumes, it is a time to re-evaluate their careers. Some have realised that they simply don't want to go back to an office job, others realised that they want more from their employer, and some don't quite know what they want - they just know they want things to be better than they were before.
Here are a few considerations when you consider your current career options.
Getting clarity on your values can help with any decision-making process. Knowing what matters most to you in life is the difference between a fulfilling career and a dead-end job. How this comes to light in your life will depend how you approach it, and what your goals are for your career. For example, two people can rate 'family' as the number one core value, but both will interpret that value differently when it comes to expressing that value through career choices. For client A, ranking family first means re-evaluating how she views her role. By viewing her role as a means to provide for her family financially, she finds a new level of fulfilment in her career as her work is directly linked to a high priority value. Client B decides that family priorities mean stepping back from his work life, delegating more or negotiating a four day work week or continuing to work remotely. It depends on how each views their values, and what their ultimate needs are in order to work with their values at the forefront of their decision-making process. One thing that is for certain, getting clarity on your values can only help you to gain more clarity in all areas of your life.
Many people get used to a certain lifestyle that matches their salary, so the thoughts of changing jobs or taking a risk makes them uncomfortable. They fear taking a risk in their career also risks the quality of life they have worked hard to attain. This comes back to evaluating what matters most to you. If your lifestyle is genuinely making you happy and you want to maintain it, then great. You have another puzzle piece - you know what you want, and you know more about what you don't want. Drill down on exactly what income you need in order to maintain your lifestyle, including a contribution to your savings.
If, like many, lockdown showed you that your lifestyle wasn't giving you as much satisfaction as you previously believed, then you may be willing to make some expense cuts. Get more specific on the lifestyle you're craving - is it moving to the countryside, working from home, working outdoors, working in a different sector entirely? If this is too hard, get clear on what you don't want and work from there.
Either way, getting clarity on your lifestyle expectations gives you parameters within which to work as you weigh up your options.
We each tend to have a certain risk tolerance level. The past few months have led to greater
uncertainty, and therefore our risk tolerance levels have been tested regularly. Some people are feeling more cautious about work due to increased insecurity in an employers market and the idea of leaving now is much scarier when there are a lot of employable people out in
the market interviewing for jobs. Others are realising they can tolerate more risk than they previously thought. Covid-19 has shown us that we are always operating with limited data, and there are always opportunities and threats outside of our control.
Step back and consider your ideal career path, your ideal life. Then consider what you would be willing to risk to make that a reality. Then reduce your risk as much as possible. What measures can you put in place to plan towards your next career move. Make these logical, time-bound actions that are based on reality. This gives you a clearer picture of what the transition could mean to you. Finally, accept there is always risk in every situation. If you find yourself averse to all risks, you will find it hard to see and grasp opportunities as they present themselves in your life. You can, however, take informed, calculated risks at the right time, with a sense of clarity and purpose.
For most people, this mindset piece is crucial, whether you are holding yourself back in your current career or wishing you were capable of changing to another field. Without an accurate self-image you will not have the correct information you need to be successful. Having an accurate appraisal of your strengths and weaknesses can help you to make informed decisions about how you approach challenges, and plan for the future. It can help you to leverage your strengths in new ways that make you feel more fulfilled. It can help you to work on your weaknesses in a way that is measured and centred. How do you speak to yourself each day? What are you telling yourself about your capabilities? What limits are you setting? What ways are you holding yourself back? Often this self-awareness piece is the most valuable aspect of coaching. By knowing how you think, and how to incorporate changes to your thinking, you are growing Emotional Intelligence through self-awareness.
At the core of it, your career is an expression of how you add value to the world. How you impact your colleagues and clients, how you provide for yourself and those you care about, and how you gain agency to express yourself in the world. Gaining clarity in your career is a huge step to living a more authentic life. Begin with these considerations, and see if you can re-evaluate your role with more clarity and authenticity.
Wishing you well this week,
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