Job dissatisfaction has seemed to reach new heights in recent months, but it’s likely evidence of larger trends. The era of spending an entire career at one company has largely passed and employees have more job leverage than ever before.
With that in mind, how do you decide on the next career move? Bo Parfet has personal experience with such a decision. He was working long hours on Wall Street when he realized he needed to make a change. Adventure called, and Bo booked a trip to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro. The experience was transformational as he went on to peak the seven highest summits on each continent. These experiences brought Bo clarity and have been helping people with their careers ever since.
To better decide your next career move. Bo Parfet recommends asking yourself the following questions before deciding your next step:
How am I learning and growing?
The first step in changing jobs is better understanding the job you currently have. According to a study at JobList, 25% of people change jobs because they’re looking for a new challenge, while 23% cite being no longer passionate about their current role. These dissatisfactions can often come down to a feeling of stagnation. Bo Parfet recommends you take stock of how much you’re learning and growing in your current role. Do you feel fulfilled? Is there upward mobility? Have you been given new responsibilities recently? Learning itself has immense value and often brings a sense of achievement, so if you’re not learning in your role, it may be a sign that it’s time to look elsewhere.
What’s my ideal day? (Don’t forget to pay attention to the “small” things!)
Growth and mobility aren’t the be-all-end-all. The day-to-day of your job plays a huge role in satisfaction. Jobs take up over 40 hours of your week, so it’s important to understand how you would most enjoy allotting that time. This step trips up many people, so Bo Parfet recommends reflecting on the granular. Pay attention to how your mood shifts throughout the day, maybe even keep a journal to aid in that analysis. Are there certain tasks that cause anxiety? When do you find your mind drifting? Conversely, notice when you’re excited or find a flow state. Those are good signs of tasks you might enjoy.
Am I headed in the right direction?
It’s essential to have a grasp of your core values. The Harvard Business Review suggests that our core values typically don’t change over time, but what does change is their relative importance and the way we express that within work. Knowing your core values is easier said than done. A LinkedIn study in 2018 found that 22% of people are “career sleepwalking.” This career passivity can often lead you down a career path that is unfulfilling and distant from core values. What’s the solution? Bo Parfet says to be intentional. Begin to plan your career in three to five-year chunks. This is much more manageable than the traditional “10-year plan.” Develop a broad vision of your future that incorporates interests, values, and your ideal day-to-day work.
Which people can help me along the way?
Shifting your career can rarely be achieved in isolation, says Bo Parfet. Relationship development – a nice way of saying networking – is essential. As you develop the vision of your career change, consider who you know and how they can aid such a transition. Don’t be afraid to tap into your already established network to ask questions and build roads. Ben Franklin once wrote, “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.” What’s that mean? People want to help.
LinkedIn has also enabled networking beyond your immediate relationships. Bo Parfet recommends taking advantage of this tool to help plant seeds at companies of interest. Make sure to build a professional profile, then utilize secondary connections, alma maters, or other points of commonality to form connections and request informational interviews. When you take the 3-5 year-long view, these relationships could prove crucial down the road to landing that interview at a dream company.
Finally, create the transition plan.
Once you’ve reflected on the above, it’s time to build a transition plan. Much like setting up your LinkedIn, you should frame your resume for the job you want. This is especially important when attempting to shift industries. You’re essentially crafting an argument for how your experience applies, and this argument extends into how you write cover letters for these jobs. Seek to find quantifiable outcomes that can reposition your successes and skills. Some jobs may require new skills or training. If that’s the case, the internet is an excellent resource, as are classes, books, or volunteer opportunities that can help you develop new skill sets. Once you’re ready to hit go, tap into the network you’ve developed. All of these actions can, and will, build toward unearthing new opportunities, but understand it will likely take time. Bo Parfet recommends setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound) to check your progress along the way.
Self-reflection is a skill in and of itself. If you take the time to look inward then practice patience as you look outward, you’ll vastly increase your chances of finding the right career path for your skillset.