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Three essential strategies for your next career change

Written by Executive Coach Hannah Wilner

Strategy #1: Create a 3 part list

When you’re contemplating leaving the security of a known job, whether to find a new position or launch your own business, creating a 3-part list is the best way to make sure your next career change lands you somewhere you want.  The following coaching strategies will help you prepare for your next step.

First and foremost be clear on what about the current role or company you do not like.  Are there any parts of it that you find positive?  Use the attached pdf to make a detailed 3-part list that specifically identifies the criteria you will use to determine what the right next career option is going to be.  First, start with your Deal Breakers, what won’t you stand for in your next position or role.  This is an easy place to begin if you’re frustrated in your current position.  Second, list the things you Must Have, what are your non-negotiables beyond the salary, include aspects such as environment, organizational hierarchy , location, etc.  Now you’re ready to identify what you would Love, this is your place to dream of the best possible scenario, those things that erupt your excitement for work.

Understanding these three perspectives provides a filter to sift potential options through and also helps provide confidence in your decision making.

Strategy #2: Listen to your thoughts and emotions

One important risk to be aware of is making a decision based on emotion.  Our emotions are a reaction to our thoughts which tend to be very transitory.  Sometimes it’s easy to get stuck in a loop of one negative perspective such as “I can’t handle this one more minute” or “this job is killing me”.   While these thoughts are valid (at least as much as any other thought you might have), they only represent one viewpoint.  As a coach I work with clients to expand their way of looking at tough situations, which helps to alleviate strong negative emotions.  When we make decisions in reaction to our emotions the aftermath is much harder to deal with.

Our mindset is malleable so use this to your advantage.  The position you’re in may not be what you need, especially if your current situation is described on your Deal Breaker list, however it is our belief about the situation that makes it unbearable…and that you have control over.

Strategy #3: Timing is critical so don’t jump the gun

You’ve experienced how quickly things can change, instead of allowing this to make you feel uncertain, use it to boost your confidence.  One of my career coaching clients was working on his exit strategy, believing that his current company was in a bad financial position and would be laying people off in the next few months.  After we established that his position wasn’t likely to be reduced, he revised his exit strategy and committed to stay for another 6 months to support the executive team.  In that time, the CEO had negotiated the sale of the company which provided my client a significantly better payout than he would have received otherwise.

The bottom line is that it’s hard to know what’s happening at the top.  Decision makers are under significant pressure right now to increase employee engagement and satisfaction, rolling out new workforce support systems which may turn into the items from your ‘what you would Love’ list.

In Summary

If you don’t have the next position locked in, use this time to get clear on what you will accept and the type of role you’d love to have.  Knowing specifically what’s on your 3-part list will increase your effective communication, and provide a higher likelihood of getting you what you want.  The worst case scenario is trading one challenging job for another, which happens when we leave abruptly or aren’t clear where we want to go.

I’m here to help with your career search, business launch, and any transition that’s heading your way.  Reach out anytime, I’d love to hear what’s going on in your life.