New year, new resolutions, should a career change be one?
New Year’s is that time when we reflect on who we have been, who we want to be, and what we can do to move a little bit closer to our ideal self. It’s time for self-realization and assessment of where we are professionally and personally.
For most heading into the New Year, there is generally more of an open-mindedness towards keeping career options open, or at least networking to gain an understanding of the current job market and one’s value within it. What fewer people seem to do is to deeply consider what it is that they both like and dislike about their current role. This is important because without a solid and fundamental understanding of where we are in relation to where we want to be, and without getting in contact with those basic human elements that are responsible for our motivations, we are bound to repeat our same patterns, even if they are not optimal.
In this New Year, ask yourself why you have stayed where you are for so long, what would you change about your current situation, and why it is that you are considering change other than the arbitrary start of a new calendar year? Hopefully, you will arrive at the conclusion that you have stayed in your current role for good reason. While there is a time to consider a career change, don’t do so expecting an impossible perfection from a future role when your current one is great. On the other hand, don’t fall into the trap of convincing yourself that your mediocre role is great without seeking answers to hard questions.
For a start, consider some basics: do you have the title that you want, is there a path in your current company towards that title if you don’t have it, what is the timeline to get there? Are you even title sensitive? Is your company as flat or as structured as you would like it to be? Is your company culture one that is strong, one that you have an affinity for, and one that is inclusive?
Is your company hiring people that are easy to work with? Do you have the freedom and autonomy that you would prefer to have? Are you comfortable that the impact you are making is substantial enough? Are you providing products or services that bring you immense pride? Are the products cutting edge enough for you? Is there a stability that you are experiencing that is difficult to sacrifice even if the perfect opportunity presented itself? There is a whole myriad of concrete and common reasons behind strong positive or negative feelings towards your current role, or even the ennui that paralyzes you into quasi-satisfaction.
If your recruiting consultant is a good recruiting consultant, they should be able to direct you. They should not hesitate to listen and tell you when you actually are in a good situation, and they should be aggressive enough to help you find a step closer to towards an ideal change should your current situation not be satisfactory. If you aren’t asked basic motivational questions, you risk a fate of being in a role where you are unaware of whether or not it is the best fit for you at best, and you risk moving to a situation that is ultimately less satisfactory at worst.