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Everyone thinks they need a career change

January 17, 2016

We have all thought it.  We've looked at our friends and we've read about people in magazines and thought, we could do that - in fact, we SHOULD be doing that.  Everyone at some point wants a change and we've all heard about those entrepreneurs that just quit their day job one day and 3 months later had a brand new business that is making headlines.  


It's this time of year that a lot of people have made a new years resolution to look for a new job or start a new career, 1 in 3 of us in fact.  New year, new challenge they say.  


We now apparently change our careers 7 times in our lives with the young-uns changing them even more.  


You're encouraged to look at the things you enjoy when you're not working.  You like baking, you can be a baker, you like dogs, be a dog walker.  But is there not a risk that the reason you enjoy doing something is because you see it as a reward, as a treat away from the day job?  I think there is a lot more to consider than simply what you find fun.    


I'm a big believer that you should enjoy your job, I absolutely believe that you need to be doing something that you are happy spending potentially 40+hours a week doing.  But you can balance this seeming need to come up with your 'perfect' job when you put it in the box in your head that says it is your job.  It's not your life, it's what pays for the roof above your head and what pays for the food on your dinner plate.   


So the decision is do you want your job to be a job or do you want it to be more than that?  


If you are happy it just being the way to pay the bills, that's good.  You don't need to feel guilty about not having one of these headline style careers and best of all, you don't need to stress about finding your 'perfect' job.  


Now if you want one of those jobs that is like living in a dream-world (a good one, not a nightmare).  But are struggling trying to work out what you should be doing with your life, try this: 


1. Find out what your strengths are

I've blogged about this before, but when considering a career change, think about what your strengths are, don't worry too much about what you're not so good at, we can work around those things.  Try on-line tests, I can recommend Strengths Finder 2.0 but there are loads of others online.  They have come a long way since the days of the career test when you were still at school where anyone that liked animals was told they should be a dog groomer and anyone that was sympathetic was told to be a funeral director.    


2. Ask your friends and family

People will love to tell you their opinion and sometimes they may suggest something you hadn't thought of before.  I know when I've had similar discussions with my friends, they have come up with some ideas that I would never have thought of.  People close to you will see you in a different way than how you see yourself and therefore will connect you to different careers.


3. Ask yourself what subject you'd study at school if you went back now

When I look back now, I wish I'd taken psychology.  I've realised over the years that I constantly get drawn to how and why people think like they do.  In my career in marketing, the element that I particularly enjoyed was looking at the target audience and what their current perceptions were and what change we were looking to inspire.  By picking a subject, it could give you a broad selection of potential careers but it will highlight for you, what you're interested in.  


4. When you've done all your chores at home, what else do you do on a Saturday?

Whilst I was flippant about it earlier, it is good to think about what your hobbies are, what makes you tick?  If you never look at social media for yourself, you probably shouldn't consider a career in it.  If you like reading and spending time on your own, you may well not be interested in a job that is all about rallying the troops in loud environments.  


5. Think about the end game, what do you want to do when you're so rich you don't have to work anymore?   

By thinking about your future, it may give you some hints as to what you should be looking for now.  If you see yourself in the countryside or you see yourself travelling or with lots of animals around you - all of these things can give you an insight into what is important to you.    


Regardless of whether you want your job to be a job or more than that, if you don't enjoy it and you get the Sunday night blues, they you do need to seriously consider changing your job, but think long and hard before you interpret that into needing a career change.  Either way, I also say, New year, new challenge.


No more ifs or buts.


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