Change is natural, change is good.
It’s that small itch, that gut instinct that creeps up and won’t go away - then when you have time to stop and contemplate (hello end of year holidays), you realise that it’s just no good, you need a career change and that’s all there is to it.
2021 has been a year of flux for us all, especially in the workplace that has seen a seismic, revolutionary shift in the way we work, peoples mental health, economic struggles and a new management of what ‘normal’ working conditions look like. (Spoiler alert - ‘normal’ left town with 2019). It’s been another year of uncertainty and change, and it’s perfectly understandable to be considering a change of scenery in your career, or even another industry altogether.
It certainly comes with a pinch of bravery, but also a sense of ‘ if not now, when?’ and if this is you, there are a few practical things that you might want to consider before you take the plunge into a new career for the new year.
The internet is full of predictions for the future, post pandemic workplace. From hybrid working models and fully remote working to the more pertinent - employee expectations and navigating higher turnover. You are certainly not the only one thinking about a full 360, that’s for sure. But how can you navigate this changing landscape to take full advantage of whatever the future holds?
You can do hard things.
People will tell you that you are crazy to consider a shift, especially if your current role is secure.To be frank, if your personal and financial situation is precarious at best, they might have a point. On the flip, if you can mentally afford to either wait it out until the right role comes across, or the time to figure out what it is you actually do want, there is really nothing stopping you. You might be thinking about resigning regardless. Do not catastrophise the future or allow anyone else to do it on your behalf. If you can sustain your financial responsibilities without the safety of your salary, it could be the best option for you. Only you know, but you must also know that stepping out of a comfort zone is entirely possible, it’s just that so many of our family and friends will never do it. Don’t let the mind monkeys hold you back.
Take a moment - are you desperate to leave your current organisation or are you simply itching for change? Is there a possibility to get what you really want without resigning from your current employer? Explore all avenues and opportunities that might be already under your nose - and if they aren’t obvious, could you have a conversation with the leadership team to express your needs and the benefits you will bring to a new role?
No short term thinking.
If it’s a full industry pivot you fancy, it’s important to be looking long-term. Keep your eye on your ultimate goal, and don’t rush. In a ‘now’ or ‘hustle’ culture, whilst each day does count, it’s not a process to be rushed into. If you need to take time, take it. Sustainable progress is key, and your mental and physical health a priority.
Remember who you are.
We are undoubtedly shaped by our past experiences, but these do not define us or our future. Our experiences ingrain within us as stories, and our brains use these to try and tell us ‘who we are’. But are you still that person? Your identity, or indeed, your future identity can only be shaped by you. Your career identity is the need to understand how you see yourself but also how others perceive you. A sense of self awareness is required to make sure you recognise that if there is a disconnect between the two, you can do some work on building your reputation and professional credibility in your field.
Your unique identifiers.
It’s important to be clear on exactly what it is that you, and only you can bring to the table. When you have this clarity it can really help you focus on your job search or create your own conversations and opportunities with people who can help. What values do you bring to a role? How do you engage and lead? If there are any gaps that you identify that don’t fit with what it is you want to do next, you can seek further learning, experience or upskilling. You must make sure that you can articulate your personal value succinctly to a new, prospective employer.
It sounds obvious, but your network is more important than ever. It’s very easy, when busy and comfortable in your job, to have focused only on that this year. If this is the case, you must make a concerted effort to reconnect with either current colleagues in your organisation, potential or existing mentors or the wider world at large. If you are set on an industry shift, this may feel daunting, but if there is one thing the UAE is full of, it’s networking opportunities, both online and off for every industry, however niche. Find them and you will get a better idea of the current market, any existing skill gaps and most importantly, opportunities! Remember that good networking means give and take. What can you do for others that will build relationships and loyalty when you need it? Treat networking like a two way street and it will certainly pay dividends for you.
And lastly, before you quit your job, be sure that your job is the real issue. In a tough year for everyone, you deserve to be happy at work, but sometimes the real issues lay elsewhere.
If 2022 will be your year of career change, stay focused and stay true.
What is for you will not go by you. Good Luck!