This is a three part series on the common errors that you could succumb to when changing career. Avoiding these will make your transition quicker and more fulfilling. Part 2.
1. Focus on what employers want from you
This is a sure way to misery. But it’s the way that many of us approach the job market. We think about what makes us desirable to an employer, and we learn the skills or develop the traits we think are required of us.
Unfortunately this can lead us to doing things that don’t fit with our core values which can feel uncomfortable at best, and crushing at worst.
When looking for a job it would be foolish to ignore what is valued in the job market, but you should also be looking for what employers offer you.
What does this particular job offer you that others you have dismissed don’t? What appeals to you about this company? What in the job role will you find satisfying and motivating? On balance is there more of what you like and want than there is of what you don’t want? What are your non-negotiables?
Finding the right job for you requires some pragmatism, but any job that you are applying for, and any company that you are seeking to join, should offer you 80% of what you want and need for a fulfilling work-life. Don't settle for less.
When you focus solely on what an employer wants from you, you remove your own needs from the equation.
Instead: Recognise that what you want and need should be central – because being happy, satisfied and motivated at work is as good for your employer as it is for you.
2. Listen to the nay-sayers
Career change is big. Although it is much more common now than it was twenty years ago and more, there can still be negative connotations attached to career change. And there will be plenty of people that will want to discourage you along the way.
Listening to these nay-sayers will keep you stuck. Of course there are risks involved in career change, but careful planning and consideration can mitigate some of these (e.g. financial risk). And if it turns out that your new career isn’t for you, who is to say that you can’t make a shift again? If you focus on enjoying the process then you will have lost nothing. And you will have gained important knowledge about what you want and need from a job.
Instead: trust your own intuitions and judgement. Staying in a job that makes you unhappy because someone else thinks you should is the very worst reason of all to do it.
3. Listen to the nay-sayer in your head
The nay-sayer in your head is there to keep you safe, right? It stops you from taking risks by pointing out all of the things that could go wrong. This is normal and natural. But if that little voice is keeping you stuck it is very unhelpful. Don;t let it get in your way.
Instead: Listen properly to your own concerns, don’t shove them down and bury them - write them down, examine them, chat to trusted friends about them, determine the likelihood that they will happen. And formulate a plan for if the worst happens. Good planning recognises risk and mitigates against it.