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Running from Job

Why Running Away from a Bad Job Won’t Make You Happy

Running from Bad JobWhen you’re unhappy at work, it’s tempting to want to make an escape. Particularly when you work in a highly toxic or dysfunctional environment, you reason that anything must be better than this. If only you could start anew, everything would improve.

It’s only natural that a bad job would motivate you to want to make a change. The sense of urgency is much greater when you hate your job. But when you choose to run away FROM a job, rather than run TO a job, you leave a lot of room for error.

Here are 3 reasons that running away from a bad job won’t make you happy.

1. You’re letting your emotions dictate your future.

If you decide to leave your job just to get out of a bad situation, your judgment is generally clouded. Your anger, fear, or resentment are driving your decisions, which doesn’t allow for reason and deliberation.  When your emotions are in control, you may be more impulsive, irrational, or careless in your decision-making process.

Find time and space to think, not just feel. If you need to remove yourself from the situation to get the distance you need to neutralize some of your strongest feelings, take a vacation. Don’t make such an important decision without a clear head.

2. You’re not getting to the root of the problem.

Why are you so unhappy? What is so dysfunctional about your current environment? If you don’t use this opportunity to think critically about what went wrong, how can you prevent it from happening again?

When your primary motivation is getting out of a bad situation, it’s difficult to think analytically about what you need and want from your work. To ensure that your new role doesn’t lead to the same frustrations as your current role, be clear and specific about what’s not working and what you need to thrive in your next job.

3. You’re not taking responsibility for your own actions.

If you are in an extreme work situation where your physical or emotional safety is at risk, you should get out as quickly as possible. But most people are not. And as much as we would like to blame the boss, leadership team, or culture for our dissatisfaction, it’s often not that simple.

If you run from a bad situation, you miss a chance to learn from your mistakes. Think critically about what role you played in your own unhappiness. Are there things that, in hindsight, you could have done differently? Are there strategies that would be helpful for you to practice now so that you’re more confident and prepared in your next role? If you don’t make personal changes, you doom yourself to repeat negative patterns.

When you engage in critical thinking and self-reflection to determine what you truly want from your career, you create a powerful vision of the role you want to run toward. This vision guides your decision-making process and keeps you focused on finding the right role, not just the fastest exit.

Would you like help getting clear about your next step? Join the free 7 Days to a New Career Direction Challenge!

Biggest Reason You Haven’t Made a Career Change

The Biggest Reason You Haven’t Made a Career Change (And What to Do About It)

Biggest Reason You Haven’t Made a Career Change If you’re like so many other professionals, you’ve been thinking about making a career change for a long time. You’ve fantasized about leaving your current job and doing something more fulfilling, challenging, or rewarding. But you haven’t… You’re motivated to make a change. You know all the reasons why leaving is the right thing to do. So what is stopping you?

The biggest reason you haven’t made a change yet is that you don’t know what you want. You might have a job title in mind. You might have a sense of what you’re looking for in a new company. But you haven’t crystallized your vision.

Making a career change is very difficult. As humans, our natural tendency is to stay in our comfort zones, even if those comfort zones make us unhappy. The prospect of change triggers our primitive instincts to protect ourselves from threats. This leads to all kinds of excuses and justifications for inaction.

To battle the inherent forces of inertia and resistance to change, you need something even more powerful. A vague or incomplete vision of what you want from your next step is not strong enough to carry you through the inevitable fear and anxiety you’ll face during a career transition. To commit to real change, you need an inspirational goal to drive you.

Having coached hundreds of professionals through career transitions over the past several years, the most consistent theme I’ve observed has been their inability to clearly articulate what they want. Some know what they want to do but they don’t know where. Others have a vague sense of what they’d like to do but they don’t fully know what that looks like. Still others have no idea what they want to do – they just don’t want to continue doing what they’re doing now.

The problem with this lack of clarity is that it creates doubt. The unanswered questions and incomplete information weaken your resolve, leaving room for all kinds of thoughts and feelings to derail you. When you know exactly what you want, you can be intentional in your actions and more courageous in your efforts.

If you’ve been dreaming about a career change but haven’t taken action, or haven’t completed the process, it’s time to pause and reflect on what you truly want – not at a superficial level but at a very deep level. Ask yourself the following questions:

1. What is motivating me to make a change?

Be clear and specific about what’s missing from your current work. What are you hoping a new job will do for you?

2. What does my new job need to look like for me to feel fulfilled?

This is more than a question about job responsibilities. What are all of the criteria that are important to you?

3. What am I still unsure about?

Before you can get the answers you need, you have to know the questions. If you’re unclear about what you want, what do you still need to sort out before you can clarify your vision?

If you’d like more help getting clear about your next step, join the free 7 Days to a New Career Direction Challenge!

Think Leaving Your Job

Think a New Job Will Solve Your Problems? Think Again

Will a new job solve your problemsWhen you’re feeling frustrated in your job, it’s natural to imagine an escape. Fantasizing about that mythical new job with the inspiring manager, supportive colleagues, lack of office politics, greater flexibility, etc. might be the only thing that gets you through a stressful work week. Once you make that transition, everything will be better…

If only it were that simple.

It may be true that it’s time to leave a toxic work environment. But finding a new job won’t necessarily solve everything. I was recently speaking with an executive coaching client. He came to me initially with a desire to make a career change. After experiencing frustration and burnout in his current executive position, he thought that finding a new job would alleviate his stress.

Interestingly, this insightful client soon recognized that the challenges he sought to address by leaving might actually be of his own making. Sure, he might have some frustrating colleagues and an overwhelming workload. But he realized that much of his pain could be attributable to the way he manages these stressors.

Rather than focus on a career change, he decided it would serve him best to first focus on development areas that he could address within himself. He astutely concluded that if he did not work on himself, he was very likely to find himself in a similar situation in his next job.

Are you trying to run away from your own issues?

If you’ve been struggling at work and considering a career change, ask yourself what’s motivating you. What are you hoping will change if you leave? How will a new work environment be better?

In some cases, finding a new job can help. Sometimes external factors, such as an incompetent manager or an unethical work culture, are out of your control and the best course of action is to change jobs. But often it’s not an external factor that’s undermining your career success and satisfaction.

Here are some questions to consider before making a career change:

  • Is your perfectionism leading to increased stress and burnout?
  • Is your tendency toward conflict avoidance keeping you from addressing tensions with leaders or colleagues?
  • Are your insecurities and self-doubt undermining your confidence in your ideas and positions?
  • Is your limited visibility preventing you from influencing others and making your voice heard?
  • Does your lack of understanding of how to manage office politics keep you from advancing to the next level?
  • Does your inability to say no and set reasonable boundaries leave you with an overwhelming workload?
  • Are you overlooked for promotions and challenging new opportunities because you don’t have powerful relationships with influential leaders?
  • Do poor impulse control and unchecked emotions alienate you from your peers?

Focus on yourself

If you answered yes to any of these or related questions, fleeing your current job for a new job will not help you. In order to achieve the career success you desire, you need to strengthen yourself. Until you address the internal challenges that hold you back, they will simply follow you wherever you go.

Identify your highest priority challenge – the one that most undermines your success – and set a goal to address it. Are you struggling to set boundaries with your boss? Consider educating yourself on negotiation strategies that can help you more efficiently manage your workload. Is conflict avoidance your challenge? Focus on learning and developing new conflict management strategies. Take a course, read a book, or speak with a mentor you admire in this area.

Leverage your current work environment as a practice ground for new behaviors. If you wait until you transition to a new job to address these development needs, it will be much more challenging to follow through. You’ll be caught up in learning your new role, building relationships with new colleagues, and executing against new goals to focus on your own professional development.

Even if you’re fully committed to leaving your job, regardless of the source of dissatisfaction, act now to tackle internal challenges. You’ll be much more confident stepping into your new role if you do.

Fallen Out of Love

Have You Fallen Out of Love with Your Career?

Fallen Out of Love Career? Career TransitionI recently had another all too familiar conversation with an executive coaching client who has fallen out of love with his career. In earlier days, he was excited and energized by the opportunity to influence new prospects, drive new business opportunities, and develop impactful client relationships. After more than twenty years in his industry and function, however, his heart is no longer in it. Recent years have seen changes in industry regulations, as well as shifts in client attitudes that undermine the pride and satisfaction he once felt for his work.

My heart aches for leaders in this situation. For talented executives who have committed years of their lives to mastering their craft and maximizing their impact, it’s not easy to accept that it’s time to move on. Like ending a longstanding romantic relationship, leaving a once rewarding career is a genuine loss that results in sadness, disappointment, and anxiety. It takes courage to make the decision to move on and it takes time to heal the pain that results.

If you’re considering a career change, it’s important to recognize the complexity of your decision. Not unlike a divorce, you’ll likely experience a roller coaster of emotions from relief, hope, and liberation to fear, confusion, and frustration. It is normal to experience these feelings and critical to allow yourself the time and space to work through them.

If you’re ready to take your career in a new direction, consider the following steps:

 

1. Grieve the loss 

 

No matter how ready you feel to move on and begin the next chapter of your career, leaving your current career behind is challenging. For most of us, our careers are tightly linked to our identities. Stripping your existing career away inevitably leaves a void, resulting in confusion, uncertainty and self-doubt. If you try to make a career change too quickly, you will find yourself haunted by unresolved feelings.

Have you ever tried to date too quickly after a break-up? The same principles apply here. Until you resolve outstanding issues and come to terms with your decision, you won’t be in a position to make healthy, productive choices about your future.

 

2. Reflect on your needs 

 

If you’re like most busy leaders, you haven’t had much time for self-reflection. This might be the first time you stop and actively think about your career interests and professional goals. Before taking any action, be clear about what you want from your career. What have you learned about yourself throughout your career thus far? What strengths, skills and experiences would you like to leverage moving forward? What do you specifically want to avoid?

The clearer you are about yourself and your professional needs, the better prepared you will be to embark on a career change. Without this clarity, you increase the risk of returning to an unsatisfying comfort zone.

 

3. Engage others for support 

 

Once you’ve had some time to recover and reflect on your professional needs, start talking with the people around you. Regardless of your level of self-awareness, you don’t know what you don’t know. Talking with the people who know you best can lead to important insights and ideas about where to take your career next.

The act of socializing your message with others also helps you become more confident in your career direction. The more comfortable you become with your story, the more you begin to believe in yourself. Talk initially with your inner circle, as you’ll experience less pressure to impress and deliver a cohesive message.

These three steps will help you ease the pain and discomfort of a career change and give you the courage and confidence to embrace a new career path.

Are you considering a career change? Have you recently made a transition? Please share your thoughts and experiences here.

Leadership Transition

New Leadership Position? 3 Steps to a Successful Transition

Leadership TransitionWhether you’re a long-standing leader or a newly promoted manager, think back on your transition from individual contributor to new leader. How prepared were you to step into a leadership role? Did your company offer leadership development support? Were there clear expectations of your new role? Did you feel confident in your ability to be successful?

If you’re like most leaders, your path to management was not paved with leadership training, mentorship, and other critical support. You independently navigated the transition from a position where your focus was primarily on your own efforts, to a role with responsibility for inspiring, developing, and leading a team.

As you well know, leading a team requires a very different skill set from leading yourself. It’s no longer just about you and your individual performance– it’s about the team. In your new role, you might not be the rock star you were in your previous role. It can be difficult to give up that glory. You might also miss being on the front lines, practicing the skills you’ve mastered over the years. Additionally, the increased exposure that accompanies a higher-level position often creates anxiety, leaving you longing for the comfort zone of your previous role.

Making a transition to a new leadership role at any level is complex, anxiety-provoking, and even messy at times. Expectations aren’t always clear, players and politics change, and the stakes are much higher. Despite your previous experience, without a clear strategy and development plan to help you maximize your new leadership role, you could find yourself set up to fail. As Marshall Goldsmith says, “What got you here won’t get you there.”

As you embark on any new leadership role, follow these three steps:

Leverage company resources

Some companies offer formalized leadership development programs to prepare you for a bigger leadership role. In some cases, these programs are publicly promoted or provided to you as part of an orientation/transition period. In other cases, you may need to seek them out.

Do not wait to be told! Proactively ask your manager or HR leader about the types of development support that are available to you. Even if your company doesn’t have its own leadership training and development offerings, it might be willing to pay for you to seek support elsewhere.

Invest in yourself

Be willing to make an investment in your professional development, whether or not your company provides you with leadership training and support,  Attend relevant conferences, training programs, and workshops to gain new leadership skills and learn from the experiences of others.

Even some of the best leadership development programs are inherently limited because you are typically learning how to lead in a vacuum. You’re placed in a short-lived, artificial environment rather than learning to lead in context. To receive consistent support as you tackle the challenges of your new leadership role, consider engaging an executive coach, mentor, or other ongoing resource.

Ask for help

Nobody, especially a new leader, is expected to know everything. Regardless of your level of experience, you will undoubtedly face moments when the path before you is unclear. Don’t go it alone.

If you’re uncertain about how to proceed, clarify expectations with your leadership team. Clear communication is critical to your success. Build a relationship with your manager immediately and make it a habit to communicate regularly. Leverage your peers and direct reports as well. Particularly if you’re new to the group or organization, they will have insights and experience that will be highly valuable to you.

Above all, be a leader in your own career. Great companies offer great leadership resources but it’s incumbent upon you to seek them out. If you’re not getting the support you need to be successful in your leadership role, take action to get it. Don’t wait for someone else to act on your behalf.

It’s Not Too Late to Change Careers

Time for Career ChangeAs an executive coach, I am committed to helping professionals achieve success and satisfaction on their terms. I’ve worked with many talented individuals who have overcome significant obstacles to achieve their goals. So it’s always disheartening to me when someone has a professional goal or vision but shrugs it off, claiming that it’s too late.

In rare cases, it might be too late. If you’re 50 years old and dreaming of becoming an NBA all-star, that ship has likely sailed. But for most of us, our goals are much more attainable with the right attitude and level of effort.

For some people, having a dream that they write off due to age is a way of shirking responsibility. Instead of making the effort to make their goal a reality, they blame their age and continue to suffer in their less desirable job. In this scenario, it’s not their fault that they don’t have a more rewarding career. It’s simply too late to make the required changes.

The unfortunate effect of this belief is that you give up not only your dream but also your power. You’re a victim of external forces, which hold you hostage in an unfulfilling role. Is that how you want to live?

It’s important to be realistic about what’s possible but if you really want something, it’s also critical that you question your assumptions and limiting beliefs. If you’re thinking about making a career change but worry that you’re too old, consider the following:

1. What do you want to do?

One of the greatest forces against change is lack of clarity about what you actually want. Many professionals have created an ambiguous vision that allows them to fantasize about an escape from their current jobs. The vision lacks structure so taking action to achieve it is virtually impossible. But it serves the purpose of giving them something to think about when times are tough. Is that what you’re doing, or is there something more?

Before giving up on a dream, take time to clearly articulate what you would do if age and other factors were not an issue. Be as detailed as possible. Don’t stop until you can visualize yourself in that role.

Taking the time to clarify the vision can often make it feel more attainable. Once you’re clear about what you want to do, you can begin to recognize it in real settings, rather than simply imagining it in your mind. That makes it far easier to explore the possibilities and the changes you would need to make to successfully make a transition.

2. Why do you want to do it?

Once you’ve painted a clear picture of what you want to do, ask yourself why. What is it that motivates you to want to do this? Think deeply beyond the superficial reasons that tend to surface immediately.

Is this simply a mental escape from your current job or is it more than that? What would this type of work offer you that you’re not getting today?

Exploring your motivations for wanting a change can be very powerful. Not only does it help you to gauge your level of interest in making a change, it can also help you to recognize opportunities for change in your current situation. Perhaps the change you really want can be achieved by making some tweaks to your current role, or by taking on a new role in your company or industry. Many times we think we need to make dramatic changes to achieve our goals when small changes will have the same effect.

Be clear about what is driving you to make a change. And recognize that the vision you’ve outlined is likely only one way of achieving your goals. Are there other ways you can satisfy your need for change?

3. How badly do you want it?

Making a career change at any age isn’t easy. As you get older, though, it does tend to get more complicated. Complications aren’t a function of age but of life. As you get older, family and financial responsibilities make it more challenging to shift gears. Change is possible but it requires effort. The more badly you want something, the more likely you’ll be to commit to the process.

On a scale of 1-10, how badly do you want this? Is it something that you deeply desire? When you imagine yourself in the role, how does it make you feel?

If you’re like most people, you haven’t had an opportunity to truly think about these questions. Take some time to seriously reflect on them. Think also about another important question:

At the end of your life, which will you regret more: pursuing a more fulfilling career, regardless of the outcome, or remaining in your comfort zone, however miserable you may feel today?

If you can clearly articulate your goal, tap into your deeper motivations, and determine that you truly want to achieve it, don’t let age stand in your way. It’s perfectly normal to feel anxious and uncertain about how to proceed but you don’t have to go it alone. There are countless resources available to help you explore and execute this type of transition.

Most importantly, remember this. You can’t change your age but you can change your circumstances. You can either be over 50 with an unsatisfying job or over 50 with meaningful work.

This is a post on behalf of Job Action Day.

Job Action Day

Have a Difficult Boss? Try This

difficult bossIf you’ve been in the workforce for any length of time, you’ve noticed that not all managers are equally qualified to lead others. While it would be ideal if all managers reached their positions based on their leadership abilities, individual performance, politics, and other factors often drive promotions. As a result, many executives reach leadership positions without the right skills and experience required to effectively lead people.

As an experienced professional, you’ve likely worked for at least one challenging manager throughout your career. In the process, you’ve suffered the anxiety, frustration, and fury that result. Even if all other factors are positive, having a challenging manager can make your job unbearable.

So what are your options? While it’s only natural to feel powerlessness in these types of situations, you have more choices than you may realize. Here are some steps you can take:

Change Your Perspective

How well do you actually know your manager? Do you understand what drives him? Can you relate to the pressures he’s experiencing? What are his communication preferences?

The frustration and anger that accompany a bad working relationship can cloud our perceptions. Once we’ve determined how we feel about someone, it’s difficult to change that impression. As challenging as it might feel, try to see things from your manager’s perspective. Doing so could help you to gain a deeper understanding of him and ultimately improve your view of the situation.

Communicate Openly

Much of the conflict we experience with our managers results from poor communication. Take a moment to reflect on a time when you approached a new initiative or assignment with confidence but your manager later dismissed or criticized your work. What happened? More often than not, the problem was not your work or your manager’s response; it was the fact that you each had very different expectations.

Many workplace (and personal) relationship challenges would be avoided if clear expectations were established upfront. Unfortunately, many managers are too busy or distracted to confirm that their communication is clear. Unless you say otherwise, they will assume that you are in alignment. Even if you think you understand your marching orders, ask clarifying questions and gather as much information as possible to ensure that you and your manager are on the same page.

Seek a Mentor

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your relationship seems irreparable. This can be particularly damaging to your career if your manager is a highly influential or politically connected figure in your organization. If you can’t get your manager’s support, it is critical that you seek support elsewhere.

Find a mentor or other influential leader you can trust to help you navigate the challenges you’re experiencing. Having someone who can offer insights on how to effectively approach specific situations can help you feel more confident and comfortable in your role. You must be strategic, however. You do not want to be perceived as going around your boss. You might even find it helpful to connect with an outside resource, such as an executive coach. The key is to engage a trusted resource confidentially who can provide critical support without undermining your manager’s established authority.

Be Professional

It’s very difficult to maintain a positive attitude when you’re frustrated with your manager. Not doing so, however, will only make things worse. To best protect your reputation and avoid hurting your career, it is critical that you act professionally at all times.

Do not engage in gossip, bad-mouthing, or other behaviors that can come back to haunt you. If you have a difficult boss, others likely feel the same way about him and can feel your pain. Behaving unprofessionally doesn’t endear you to others; it simply damages your image.

Explore Your Options

In any situation, it’s critical to acknowledge what you can and can’t control. The steps outlined here allow you to take some control of a difficult work environment. Ultimately, though, any relationship involves two people. In order for change to occur, the other person must be responsive to your efforts.

If you’ve tried everything and nothing has worked, it’s time to consider other options. Are there other roles internally that would not only allow you to escape your difficult work situation but also help you to advance your career? Are there external opportunities you can begin to explore?

There are few things more frustrating in a job than working for a difficult manager. It can, however, be a great growth opportunity. If you strive to become a more effective leader, learning to communicate with others of all types will be critical to your success. Take advantage of this time to strengthen your own communication and leadership skills. And always remember that you do have options and support available to get you through this challenging time.

How to Engage in a Confidential Executive Job Search

confidential job searchYou’re ready to make an executive career transition but you recognize that this could take a while. In the meantime, you want to avoid potential backlash and protect your current role. To minimize risks to your current position, you hope to keep your job search activities confidential.

So how do you search for a new role without alerting your current employer? Conducting an executive job search while you’re employed can be tricky but here are a few approaches you can take to maximize confidentiality.

Be discreet.

The use of social media can greatly accelerate your job search but if you’re not careful, you risk exposure. Pay special attention to your LinkedIn profile. Be sure that it is complete and that it powerfully reflects your accomplishments and career direction. Do not, however, announce your interest in finding a new job.

While making changes to your profile, adjust your privacy settings to ensure that your activity is not broadcast to your network. This is particularly important if you haven’t been a consistent LinkedIn user, as a sudden burst of activity could raise suspicions. Be discreet with other social media platforms as well.

Use discretion with your colleagues too. While you might be tempted to discuss your plans with co-workers, don’t assume that they will maintain your confidentiality. Until you are prepared to share your decision with your manager, you should avoid discussing it with anyone else internally.

Avoid the use of company resources.

When it comes to the use of mobile devices, email, and other technologies, the line between personal and professional activity is often blurred. It is critical, however, that you limit all job search activity to your personal resources. Messages sent through your company email address, searches you conduct through your company’s network, etc. can all be monitored by your company’s IT group, which can blow your cover.

Ideally you should reserve all job search activity for non-business hours. At times, however, you may need to respond to an email or speak with a recruiter during your work day. Use your personal email account for all job search-related correspondence. When connecting by phone, be sure that you are speaking in a private setting, even if that means taking the call in your car.

Stay committed to your current role.

Your time is limited. And as your enthusiasm for making a change has grown, you’ve mentally begun to check out of your current position. You’d much prefer to focus your efforts on your transition. Although it’s difficult to balance the demands of your existing role and an executive job search, the easiest way to raise suspicions is to let your performance slide.

Until you officially exit your role, you have a responsibility to perform at your best. Stay engaged with your team, continue to add value, and be sure to meet all deadlines. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s also important to your reputation. You never know when you might need a reference from a current leader or may work with current colleagues again in the future.

Conducting a confidential job search can be a challenge. With the right level of strategy and discretion, however, you can be successful. Follow these steps to maximize your executive career transition.

Is Fear Preventing You from Making a Career Change?

FearIf you’ve been considering a career change, you know how daunting a process this can be. Making a career change has important implications for your professional and personal life. It’s no surprise that you’re feeling overwhelmed by confusion, uncertainty, and self-doubt.

Many executives begin by making assumptions about the career transition process. Beliefs such as, “I’m not qualified to make an industry change,” “I’ll never find a position that pays as well as my current role,” or, “I can’t have job satisfaction and a high-level, challenging position at the same time,” keep you securely in your comfort zone. Unfortunately, they also prevent you from taking steps toward a more rewarding career.

So how do you overcome the fear and limiting beliefs that stand in the way of greater career satisfaction? All transitions involve some degree of risk but you can take proactive steps to minimize the risk and maximize the reward.

Ask yourself key questions

Begin by making an effort to understand your real motivation for making a change. What do you truly want from your next role? Answering this question might require some soul searching. Many executives seek career opportunities because of external expectations rather than internal motivations. For example, they can’t imagine how others, including their loved ones, would respond if they gave up a stable corporate position to pursue a riskier start-up venture. Or they worry about what others would think if they gave up a large compensation package to work for a non-profit.

Take some time to think about what is most important to you. What do you specifically want to do? What do you not want to do? What type of environment will best allow you to thrive? The more thought you give to these types of questions, the clearer your vision will be.

Establish clear goals

Having a clear vision is the first step to a successful career transition but without clear goals, you’re unlikely to take action and make your vision a reality. Begin with a timeline. Would you like to make a change in 6 months? 2 years? 5 years? Knowing your timeline will allow you to translate your vision to a strategic plan.

Your strategic plan should include clear goals and associated action steps. Goals might include clarifying your specific career target, developing a marketing strategy that positions you for your ideal role, engaging your executive network, etc. Making the effort to create specific and measurable goals will greatly increase your chances of success.

Confront your fears

Even with a clear vision and an actionable plan, you still might find it difficult to take the next step. You know what you need to do but fear and uncertainty stand in your way. Take some time to reflect on these fears. Common fears include leaving the safety and security of your current company, regretting the change after you’ve made it, qualifying for the position you really want, earning enough money in your new role, maintaining your work/life balance, etc.

All of these fears are normal but they don’t have to hold you back. By exploring these fears and understanding what lies at the root of them, you’ll dilute their power and approach your career transition with more clarity and confidence. Suppressing your fears or allowing them to control you only keeps you in a state of stagnation and frustration.

Following these steps will help you to maximize the often stressful and overwhelming process of making a career transition. Sometimes, however, fear can continue to keep you frozen in your tracks. If you still find yourself stuck or unclear about how to move forward, consider asking for help. Getting support from a resource who is not as close to the situation as you are can often help you gain new perspective, slowly step outside your comfort zone, and eventually reach your goal.

Is It Time for You to Make a Career Change?

career changeYou have mixed feelings about your current job. While some days are tolerable, others feel simply unbearable. You’ve thought about making a change but, until now, you’ve always decided that it’s easier, and perhaps safer, to just stay where you are.

In today’s rapidly changing, competitive environment where you are expected to not only be an expert in your field but also have a passion for what you do, it’s not surprising that many professionals and executives are actively considering career shifts. According to a 2014 Gallup poll, approximately 70% of employees were not engaged or were actively disengaged in their jobs. And a 2014 Jobvite survey found that more than 50% of employed professionals are actively seeking or open to new jobs.

So, when is it time for you to look for a new career opportunity? If you’re unclear about whether or not to make a career change, here are a number of indicators to help you decide.

Stress levels are high

Your work consistently makes you feel anxious, frustrated or unhappy. Thoughts about work have become disruptive and it’s apparent to those around you, including your loved ones. Work always has moments of stress but when that stress becomes all-consuming and never dissipates, it is time to consider a career change.

The challenge and excitement are gone

You’ve lost enthusiasm for your work. The job that once brought you satisfaction has since become routine and unfulfilling. You long for a role that allows you to more fully utilize your skills and strengths. If you’ve exhausted all opportunities for advancement in your current role, then it’s time to think about making a career change.

You no longer believe in your company

Things have changed. New leadership has taken the company in a new direction and you feel disconnected from the mission. Or a major shift in strategy has left you feeling disillusioned about the company’s future. It’s difficult for you to stay motivated when your goals are out of alignment with your company’s goals. If you no longer believe in your company, it’s time for a career change.

Your health is suffering

Changes in physical and mental health can be manifestations of dissatisfaction in your job. If you are having trouble sleeping, experiencing changes in appetite, becoming ill more frequently, or noticing changes in your personal and professional relationships, a career change might help.

You feel undervalued by your leadership

You’re a consistently high performer who has made powerful contributions to your organization but you feel disrespected by your leadership. Perhaps you’ve been passed over for promotions you’ve legitimately earned. Maybe your compensation is out of sync with your value. If your management doesn’t fully recognize your potential and reward you accordingly, it’s time to think about making a career change.

If your executive career has reached a plateau, now is the time to take action. Don’t allow your career to stagnate any longer. Begin by assessing exactly what you want (and don’t want!). Next, set clear goals and a strategic plan to achieve them. And finally, take the first step. The first step is often the most challenging but once you take it, you’ll begin to build the momentum you need to follow through on your goals. Remember, if you get stuck, seek the support of a career expert who can help you address key obstacles and stay focused on your plan.