Time to change career: make September the new January
September is your chance for a new beginning.
With the summer sun still on your shoulders, with renewed energy after a well-deserved break, and a very clearly defined four months until the end of the year, September is a more energising time to set sail into new beginnings. Much nicer than chilly January when everything seems to be about doing less of something!
When you were younger, you’d be donning a new school uniform in September, re-filling your pencil case and pressing your feet into new shoes.
Now you’re older, the tangible signs of a new term have probably vanished. But that opportunity to start anew is still waiting for you if you’re willing to respond to the seasonal nudge.
The shift into autumn is your chance to answer any of the questions that have been effectively keeping you imprisoned in the status quo. How about finally getting clear on what your own chief jailor is?
Let’s take a typical question that underlies many career changers’ inability to take action. It remains an obstacle simply because they haven’t actually defined the question and therefore have been unable to find the way forward!
What have you outgrown in your career?
Let that land.
What in your working life no longer fits? What no longer sits comfortably with you? Honestly.
This is not the time to answer on auto pilot from what you think should be the case. This is time for your most authentic voice to speak up, to admit what has become difficult for you to accept in your working life.
For example, when I knew I had to take notice of the nagging discords in one of my previous jobs, I might have listed:
· Being micro-managed
· Having impossible targets to aim for
· Aiming for targets that compromised my personal values
Write yours down and look at them. It might be the first time they’ve seen the light of day, but you’ll recognise them for what they are. These irritants have probably been chafing for some time.
What do these things have in common? Which part of yourself do they relate to?
In my example, I could identify:
this opposes my preferred working style
the values of trust and autonomy are being denied
it’s an inhibiting factor for my productivity
it restricts my ownership of the role and results I achieve
Having impossible targets to aim for
a value of fairness is being trampled
a belief that results should be achievable is contradicted
a growing lack of respect for the setter of these targets
not being heard or respected or valued
Targets that compromise my personal values
diminishing accord between the organisational objectives and my own
clash of personal and department purpose
lack of meaning in the work I do
the value of making a difference is compromised
Your turn: When you unpick your own questions and the associated discordance you reveal, what themes can you see? Which important values are being crushed? And how important do you think this is?
For example, if authenticity or integrity is an important value for you and you find it increasingly difficult to match your personal values with those of your workplace, what then? Are you handing over your own integrity in exchange for a pay packet? Only you can answer how important that might be and whether you can tolerate that particular exchange – or for how long.
If you ignore your answers, how will you be feeling by the end of the year? And by the end of next year? Once you’ve seen the truth, it’s pretty difficult to get the blind genie back in the jar!
Many people may never hear the call to make significant changes in their lives and are perfectly content. Others, once they become aware of their discontent, and what is fuelling it, will need to take action.
Which camp do you fall into?
If you want to take action and find yourself saying something like:
‘I’m not settling for this any more,’ or
‘life’s just too short to pretend this is OK’,
then please do yourself a favour your future self will thank you for. Write into your diary:
September 2019 – start discovering what I really want from my life and my career.
Step 1: (make it simple, achievable and specific)
Start date: (don’t procrastinate – make it this week)
Completion date: (ditto – make it the following week if that’s achievable)
Accountability: (who will hold you accountable? Tell someone who will be supportive, who won’t offer their own opinion or judge)
This is one place to start and is especially good for those of you who want to DIY.
But if you need help to gain greater clarity and reveal your honest answers, give me a shout. We can set up a free 30-minute call to get the ball rolling.
By the end of the year, life will be looking very different. And you’ll be able to say that 2019 was the year you got your life back!