Navigating your career transition

The ideal job is a job that enables you to be fully engaged. This means that you will enjoy what you do, you will enjoy working in your team or department, you will have a good relationship with your direct manager and you will feel that you’re working for a great organisation. The opposite then is true as well: if you feel unhappy or disgruntled with either your job, team, manager or organisation it may be very difficult to reach optimal levels of performance and personal satisfaction. Therefore, when considering better opportunities, assess your satisfaction levels with each of the abovementioned aspects of your job and really determine which of these are your main areas of concern. If you feel dissatisfied with your current job more than 60% of the time (cause let’s face it, we all have bad days and less satisfying parts to our jobs), I would say it is time for you to consider other opportunities. But before considering any alternatives, you need to put together a career strategy for yourself. There are various career coaching professionals that could assist you with this process, but you can also do it yourself. The main goal is to know where you are going (i.e. where do you imagine yourself being at the top point of your career), what you’re good at and what you need to do to get there. Once you are able to answer these questions, you can make the best decisions in terms of other opportunities.

When deciding to make a big career move, there are various factors to consider. Money is not the only one. Better opportunities could be opportunities that afford you growth or learning opportunities, that enable better work-life balance and flexibility, that help you achieve a sense of meaning and personal well-being or that afford you with mentoring opportunities from an experienced mentor. Also, remember that better opportunities could at times put you in a worse place if it is not aligned to your personal career goals and strategies. So, always make sure that you measure opportunities against your ultimate career destination, so that you don’t wander off into greener pastures that take you further and further away from your ideal career objective.

The one thing you can rely on, is that change is constant. Even in the same job or organisation, there will always be opportunities for growth and learning. When considering whether or not to remain in a certain job, you should ask yourself the following questions:

If I “settle” in my current job, will I remain satisfied and enjoy what I do?

Will I benefit by remaining in this job (financially, professionally, personally)?

Will I be able to learn and grow?

Another important consideration is that of mentoring. Often employees who have “settled” in a specific job are seen as subject-matter-experts and then have the ability to mentor younger, less experienced employees. In itself being a mentor could be very satisfying and could add a new dimension to any job.

Having said this, you should be looking for better opportunities if you’re not happy in your current working environment. Just ensure that your move is aligned with your career goal…. You don’t want to move from one bad working environment to the next working environment because you didn’t think about your next move from a strategic point of view. Understanding your own strengths and interests could be a good starting point, contact a career counselor to assist you in putting your career strategy together.

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