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Wanting a Career Change?

“The greatest tragedy in life is that so many men and women go to their graves with the music still in them”.

This quote comes from the 19th century US Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and 150 years on remains even truer today.

The last time most of us had any career advice was either at school or university. Discussions were invariably centred on vocational type qualifications and which organisations provided the best graduate training.

And so, we set out with our career plan with a clear starting point, a vague mid-phase and, beyond that, usually the complete unknown. Promotions follow head-hunters call, offers accepted, and life goes on.

Then at some point, often triggered by a change in personal circumstances or a significant event such as a big birthday, children, divorce, redundancy or health concern, we may find we reach a career crossroads and ask ourselves:

• What do I really want to do?

• Is a change of direction, even feasible?

• How will I make the transition?

• Am I going to continue what I have been doing for the rest of my working life?

• How do I plan a new career?

Ground Hog Day…

Most of us spend at least 50% of our waking hours at work! We get up each morning and go through the same routine, with each day largely the same as the one before, feeling like we’re the star character in our own ‘Ground Hog Day’ movie.

How many of us can honestly say we feel fulfilled? In 2007 a survey by the Norwich Union found 66% of people in their 30s and 40s described themselves as, “unfulfilled, drifting or miserable” in their jobs. The survey cites a new career trend being labelled “Zenployment” where almost half, 47%, say they aim to be in a career that offers fulfilment.

Taking Stock

If the day-to-day work no longer fulfils or interests you, it could be time to move on before your morale takes a nose-dive. If you feel you've lost your sense of direction, why not take stock of things?

You need to think about which direction you'd like to be heading in and whether it is achievable, but, most of all, if will it enrich your working life.

Start by asking yourself some important questions:

· What are the priorities of my work?

· What aspects of my job makes me satisfied? Unsatisfied?

· What have been the high and low points of my career?

· How can I avoid repeating the low points?

· Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

· What about in ten years’ time?

· Are reputation and status important to you?

· Do you want responsibility? Authority? Creative control?

· Do you have new ideas you'd like to try?

· Any additional duties you could assume?

Taking Control

Feeling unfulfilled in your job needn’t mean handing in your notice and walking off into the sunset. You may have a job that you’re happy with in many ways, but doesn’t fully satisfy you. It may, however, offer scope for growth and development.

To a certain extent, the degree of fulfilment you get from your work is within your control. And, just the act of taking control, can create a great sense of satisfaction.

Why not work with your boss on a career development plan? You can use appraisal sessions to work on this if they exist within your company. Setting goals can motivate us - set them according to your needs, making sure they are realistic and flexible enough to be revised if necessary. Decide how you'll know when you've achieved them.

For some inspiration read the story here of Marjorie Thompson,

Some Other Things to Consider

· Is there scope to expand in the role? Could your job be re-organised to make it more challenging?

· Could you ask for more responsibility in your current job?

· Is there something you thought you could never do but would like to try? It’s never too late to learn new skills. Don't be held back by a fear of the unknown. Make the most of the transferable skills.

· Is there something you particularly like doing that you may be able to incorporate into your job?

· You may have discovered a new talent that you'd like to explore. Is there any chance to improve skills through training or development?

· Look at courses and further training that will help you get closer to where you want to be.

· Read the professional journals to keep abreast of new developments.

· Think about getting (or even being) a mentor.

· Shadow someone who is doing a job you are interested in.

In my 12 years of career coaching, I’ve never met anyone who didn’t have a dream of a different career. The average person will spend 40 to 50 years of their life at work, and that is too long to spend in the wrong job. We each have our unique combination of talents and abilities. What are yours?

Are you willing to invest in yourself? Is your career important to you?

A very happy and prosperous New Year to you all. I welcome the opportunity to discuss your career aspirations and how I can help you find your true vocation. Contact me here


Professional Executive Leadership and Career Coach

Member of AC, ILM, Qualified Coach (Distinction) LCA

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