The MPW Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question: What’s your best piece of advice for someone looking to change career paths? is written by Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO of Ruder Finn.
Making big career changes can be scary. But before you seriously start to look around, step back and take a cold, hard look at where you want to go with your career and what may be sparking your desire for change. Are you going through personal transitions, experiencing challenges in your current role, or finding a passion for a new career calling?
If you don’t understand yourself or your motivation for change, you might make the wrong decision and take side steps in your professional journey rather than moving forward.
Ask yourself a few questions:
Why now? Is it pressures in my personal life?
Moments of personal transition are often linked to people seeking career transitions. Is it a new job you’re seeking, or is it something a bit more personal that is sparking your desire for change? Having a clear understanding of your motivation for change will help you be certain that you’re not just changing for the sake of new scenery.
Before you call it quits, have you raised your hand and asked for more?
Leaving your current place of employment is a big decision that can’t be taken lightly. Before you consider calling it quits, are you fully stepping it up in your current role? Often times, the answer to finding more challenging and fulfilling assignments lies within your current employer. Have a discussion with your boss about your frustrations or desire for new, more challenging work, and together determine a path for making your asks a reality. Ask for new responsibilities and address any challenges you feel are holding you back in your position or company that you want to address before exploring external opportunities.
Have you set a course of action to find passion projects?
Is there something you have seen in the marketplace that inspires you and makes you passionate about what you can achieve?
In thinking all of this through, take some concrete steps. Write down on paper what you want to achieve in your long-term career and set forward on the appropriate steps to help you get there. Making a big career change can be extremely scary, but sometimes those bold job shifts lead us on a new path to professional fulfillment.
Remember that in today’s world, jobs will constantly change. Being willing to be flexible and adapt to the changing environment will be critical, wherever your career leads you. Change will frame a lot of what we do, and a job will never be a fixed position, even in the most perfect of settings. There will always be ups and downs. Company culture, vision, strategy, and good chemistry with leadership is critical to long-term success. Make sure that you have a seat at the table so you can innovate, respond, achieve, and succeed, and definitely fit in a good amount of fun.