Making a career transition is a great time for reflection and evaluation. The pause in the daily work routine provides an opportunity to look back on the decisions you made, what you would do again, and what you would do differently given the opportunity. Companies should consider enterprise career management as the corporate complement to individual efforts, because both sides benefit from doing it well and authentically. In other words, when an employee and a company are not suited to each other, no one comes out ahead.
While a job change is challenging and difficult in many ways, it also allows you a space to reinvent yourself and reevaluate your purpose. The last thing you want to do is wind up with regrets about your career.
Now is the time, then, for some self-reflection about where you are in your career and where you want to go in the future. And review the following three questions for insights into decisions that can lead to — or avoid — career regrets.
Does work feel like work?
When you are truly aligned with what you love to do, you cannot wait to do it. You don’t have any Sunday night qualms or dread about the coming work week. Instead you look forward to going back to the job. If you cannot say this with certainty about your previous (or current) position, then consider a more extensive change than just finding a new place of employment.
Did you take the job only for the salary?
This is a trap of woe for far too many workers. They spend years, if not decades, at high-pressure positions where they are unhappy and that they would ditch in heartbeat — except for the money. A fat paycheck is nice, but it is no panacea for employment that bores you, stresses you, or simply does not allow you to work out of your innate strengths and inclinations. Sure, we all learn new skills to improve our job performance, but this goes much deeper. It speaks to aligning who we really are with what we do for a living. If there isn’t at least some congruence, misery follows.
Did you choose a field based on others’ expectations?
Too often people pursue a profession or occupation to please parents or a spouse or a partner. This is not a reliable path to success and contentment. You deserve to be honest with yourself about your personality, your aptitudes, what you like, and what you are willing to devote a great deal of your time and energy to over several decades. The other person is not going to do your work for you, so do not give that person the power to dictate your career path. And if you don’t have a clear concept of who you are and what you want, career coaching could be helpful.
Are you willing to take risks?
Interesting, more people regret not taking a chance on a career move than at least giving it a shot. Are you at a fork in the career road? Can you recognize an opportunity if it shows up in your life? Before you dismiss an action or choice as too risky, try to imagine how you will feel in 5 or 10 years if you do not try it and wonder what might have been.