The Power of Y.O.U. and Weighing your Career Moves
“A leap of faith is the crucial step towards inspired possibility” Nancy Friedberg
It’s fairly common to experience a few different jobs and even careers until you’ve landed on one that satisfies your ambitions and passions. The evidence for this has proven true for my clients over the past 3 decades of coaching no matter what career and life stage my clients have been going through – from Millennials through Gen X to Boomers. Two years out of college and you might have worked in one to three different companies, industries, or roles. Fast forward, and it can take another series of moves as you move into mid – life to hit it right. If you uproot yourself in mid – life from a career in which you’ve become an expert in exchange for a new career path, the stakes can feel even higher. How will these moves affect your overall career? Is it frowned upon to make multiple moves, or is there an upside? As with most moves, there are pros and cons.
Here’s what to consider as you entertain needing to make a move in a shorter period of time than expected.
Pro: It Allows For Self-Discovery
When you’re “soul-searching” through various careers, you’re able to better understand what drives you—what your interests, values, needs, and aspirations are and how they align with your work.
A huge benefit to taking this time to explore and achieve “self-discovery” is that it provides an opportunity to “reality check” a specific interest or industry and consider where the next steps might lead you. For example, working in legal services may spark an interest for a paralegal to pursue law school. A stint overseas may lead to an interest to gain a master’s degree in International Business. These action steps may not have occurred if you weren’t exposed to these roles and had the time to get in touch with your true calling.
Pro: It Narrows The Focus On What You Really Want
It also allows you to re-evaluate a passion for a specific role, industry, or company, where you can determine in which direction a change is necessary.
Some clients think they need a full career change to gain satisfaction where they leave both the industry and the function they work in. However, sometimes all that is needed is a “career pivot,” where there’s only a selective adjustment.
For instance, you might stay in your industry, but move to a different functional role. One client of mine validated his passion for the technology industry sector while working in a senior role at Oracle, yet decided he was no longer happy in Sales. He was able to leverage his skill set and landed a new role in Business Development/Corporate Strategy with Cisco. This move was just the fix he needed for greater satisfaction and fulfillment. The converse is also true, whereby one might be satisfied in a Sales function but decide to pivot away from the technology sector to work in the healthcare industry instead.
What’s more, sometimes it’s a matter of location—where you may want to remain in technology and Sales, may not feel motivated by the company itself, the city, or the people you work with. A solution? A change in city or company. Changing the geographic location or switching to another company that’s more flexible or tailored to a desired lifestyle can definitely boost one’s happiness and work/life balance.
Pro: It Builds A Greater Network
Expanding your circle of relationships and cultivating a network of champions can lead to other opportunities, and when you switch companies, industries, cities, or roles, you inevitably meet new people and create more connections to leverage.
One client I coached in Investment Banking left his job after a year to follow his former boss who moved to another investment bank. He never had to do a job search. By establishing credibility, trust and a professional relationship with his boss, he was able to effortlessly advance his career.
Con: It Can Be A Turn Off To Employers
I recently went to dinner with a friend who is the founding partner at a Hedge Fund. He had mentioned that he wouldn’t call a millennial candidate in for an interview, as the candidate had three jobs in three years. This raised concern as to whether or not the candidate would be committed to the company, or if he or she were simply looking for something temporary.
Many employers like to see that millennials value sticking with a company and adding to their portfolio of skills. Often people can increase their salaries faster when switching companies, so it’s tempting for millennials struggling to pay off debts and student loans. Unfortunately, job-hopping can make a candidate seem unreliable, as opposed to someone who has given a longer period of time to a company and its team.
Con: It Doesn’t Allow For Much Experience
Switching jobs too frequently doesn’t allow for the time to hone one’s skills and really develop mastery and expertise in a given area. If you switch between finance, marketing, and sales within a few years, you won’t be able to develop adequate knowledge in a specific job function. The same goes for switching between different industries, as well.
Con: It Can Make You Feel Lost
While self-discovery is possible (and a benefit), job-hopping or “job grabbing” as I call it, can create feelings of uncertainty, instead, where one feels alone in trying to land a job that he or she knows is right.
People can start to feel “scattered” and lost if they move too often without having a rationale. It’s best to know why you are moving and have a clear list of criteria for what you are looking to improve. Know the top skills you enjoy using most often, your work related values and deal-breakers, and the likes and dislikes of your jobs. Keep a note of these when going through key transitions, and it’ll make the process of making career moves more productive and effective.
Please feel free to leave any comments or personal stories. Helping others find their way is what inspires me to do my life’s work.
Power Challenge of the Month?
- When looking to make a career move that you believe may be rash, ask yourself am I running away from my current role or running towards a new role that fits more of my criteria for career engagement and satisfaction?
- What are likely perceived benefits of the new job? What are the inherent risks financially, mentally, and spiritually? What are my core values and what are my dealbreakers?
- Have I vetted out the company, the culture and the expectations for this new role thoroughly? Does my decision feel solid and am I clear on my rationale for making this change? Are my expectations realistic?
Are you ready to take action and be accountable for your desired results?
Do you want challenge yourself to grow professionally and personally? If your answer is YES to both for creating sustainable change, then contact Nancy to learn more about the steps for getting there.
Nancy Friedberg, M.A.
Master Coach and President, Career Leverage, Inc.
Marshall Goldsmith Certified Stakeholder Centered Coach
Certified Now What? Facilitator