Should you change career now?
When you start out in a career you have high hopes of achieving great success in your chosen field. Sometimes you realise such success, but sometimes life and circumstances get in the way. New opportunities might arise or you might develop new skills.
Many people also hit the glass ceiling in their current position at a company and, with no opportunities or room for growth, they see a clear, flashing sign that it's time to start looking at a new career direction. As humans, we start to lose motivation if we feel that our work is no longer challenging and then it becomes uninspiring. What makes work exciting is when you come to the office and everything you do during the day makes you want to add value and help to change things for the better.
Before you make the move
You have to first make sure what the long-term benefits of the new career are for you. Be honest with yourself: is it a step forward, or are you just dodging an unpleasant present scenario. A new position might just offer a temporary improvement and your new employer might sell you on some great opportunities for growth and earnings, but those benefits might only last for a few months.
After that you might face the awful realisation that you were actually better off where you were. Think about a waiter moving to a new restaurant in November or December and enjoying the high season with lots of extra tips - but then in February it's quiet again. A similar lesson applies to any job. You need to know if the potential earnings and career advancement are going to be sustainable to make the move worthwhile.
You also have to honestly assess if you are actually the reason for your lack of happiness in your current position. We are all quick to blame our employers, but if we are the reason why our career is not going the way we want it to then no amount of moving is going to sort that out. It's also important to understand the vision of your new employer fully, his philosophy to his work and what he stands for (personally and professionally) before you make the move.
The first step is to find out what you are passionate about, because it is always wise to make a career move based on passion and interest. You will feel better about the move if a new position can cease to feel like work and instead become a passion for you.
Should I stay or should I go now?
Don't discount the possibility of moving within the company you are currently working for. It's always best to look at internal opportunities before looking elsewhere. The devil you know is often better than the devil you don't know. Although our modern economy is a lot more fluid and people move more frequently between jobs, I don't think it is good to always be on the move from job to job - after all, a rolling stone gathers no moss.
It's important to try to stay in the same environment for a reasonable period of time because then you start to become an expert in what you are doing in that job (or at least highly proficient in that work), and this is a reason why the constant changing of jobs is not good. You may know a lot about many different things as a result of such changes, but you ultimately need to be an expert in something if you hope to succeed in the long term. Employers will also look at too many rapid moves on your CV and will be doubtful that you were able to gather sufficient skills in any of those positions.
Is it time?
I hear some people say that they want to change jobs because 'everyone is leaving the company'. Unless you see signs that the company is in serious financial trouble, don't base a decision to change your career on the fact that other people aren't making the most of their opportunities at the company. In fact, sometimes when other people leave it opens up new opportunities for you, either to advance or just in terms of changes being made to the current team dynamic - and these could result in an improvement in your enjoyment of your work.
My five Ds of changing careers:
Don't change career just because of the money on offer;
Don't change career just for the sake of changing career;
Don't change career based on an emotional decision, such as because you had a fight or an argument with your boss or a senior manager;
Don't change career without first taking the time to do some solid research; and
Don't change career because you presume the grass is greener in the other company. It isn't!
About Godfrey Madanhire
Professional motivational speaker and life coach, Godfrey Madanhire is the driving force behind leading motivational company, Dreamworld Promotions.
Through Dreamworld Promotions, and based on his life experiences merged with extensive knowledge of the concepts and skills around motivating and inspiring individuals, Godfrey has held seminars helping people grow and organisations such as MWeb, Engen and the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants to build their workforces.