So many people have decided to change job over the past few months. I remember a conversation with an ex-colleague who said, “the problem with the pandemic is that it has given us too much time to think.” I was taken aback because I thought that was a good thing … it is! Time to reflect on your professional, emotional, and psychological well-being is an excellent opportunity to work out if your current job is healthy, fulfilling, and meaningful to you.
In summer 2021 I decided to change my job. I was having a lot of success and making a difference to the people I was working with. But I was worn down, disillusioned with the culture of the company I was working for, and knowing that I could contribute so much more in a different environment. I decided to take the two-week vacation that my wife and I had planned to determine my next move. Here was my strategy – and one that I would recommend to anyone.
- Reflect on when you have been most successful and most in the sweet spot of doing what you love. I reflected on my career and when I felt I had been most fulfilled and professionally effective. What were the things I did that extracted most from my skills, motivation, and commitment? Settling this in your mind is crucial. It validates you. It makes you do a self-inventory of when work has been the best. Some call it “discovering your purpose.” Whatever you call it, settle in your mind what really makes you effective and happy at work. This is about values, priorities, and connection – not money or status.
- Emotionally and mentally commit to your next step. For me, this was to actively look for another job. Some people know exactly where they want to work and the precise job they want. That is great – and if you can find it, go for it. For me, it was more casting my net wide and knowing that the role/company which fitted me well would come around. As it happened, I applied for a role that was a good match as far as I could tell. In hindsight, what was so reassuring were the many people in this new company who said, “I knew you were exactly the person we were looking for.” Do your due diligence, talk to people about other roles, and then settle in your mind to take the role that fits your sweet spot.
- Approach a change of job with a positive mindset – retrospectively as well as forward-looking. It is important to be grateful for the experiences that your previous roles have provided and the people who have enriched your journey. Thank people and find the positives, even if your last role drained your energy and depleted your spirit. And then look forward to giving your best and proving to yourself that the change is a great one!
To change job should never be just about trying to get a higher salary. Nor should it be because you are always moving away from things that do not float your boat. It should be about knowing what you are great at, talking this through with others for validation, and knowing where you can add value. It should also be about a journey – taking the next step in a lifelong adventure where experiences enrich you and those around you. I have always found that making a positive impact on others is the best way to feel a positive impact in myself. Having a servant leadership approach and a knowledge that work is part of life, not life itself. Whatever you decide to do, try not to have regrets, and take the time to discover the best version of yourself.