If you are undecided about making a move, this checklist will help you map a path.
With any career move, there are lots of things to consider. Some find it easy to make the move and see what pans out, while others prefer to have a new role lined up and set to go before they resign. How you approach this will have a lot to do with your personality and comfort level. However, one thing is certain; there is no better time than now to give this some thought.
1. Are you learning & growing?
Have you acquired more knowledge, skills or understanding in the past year? Do you feel like you are developing and enhancing your knowledge of your work or software? Do you learn something new each day or is every day the same?
Learning is an integral part of satisfying work. Investing in development with time or money is never wasted, but is this a priority at your current workplace? You need to reflect on how your current employer or company views learning and development, and if you feel like you are being challenged on a daily basis. If you do feel satisfied that your current role is still evolving and your skills are being tested and enhanced, then one of the fundamental building blocks of a great career is in place.
However, if you don’t feel like you are aligned on this aspect of your work life, it could pose a problem in the future. The company’s attitude is unlikely to change quickly, and it may require a long term cultural shift. Only you can answer this question, but it is a very important one to address when considering your career options.
2. Is your work fulfilling?
Your values are what measure fulfilment. Values such as creativity, risk-taking, collaboration, teamwork, innovation and invention are all values that form the measurement of satisfaction. Feeling that your contribution and work is meaningful, essential or part of a bigger picture is what gives you purpose. Many workplaces are moving to a more collaborative and group dynamic where employees can really see and feel the value of their contribution. However, some workplaces do not have the culture or insight to see the value in this.
Ask yourself; are you fulfilled at work? Can you clearly see how your work moves the company forward? Once again this is a self-reflecting question but an equally important one. If you lack fulfilment at work this can most likely only be solved by moving on as it requires a commitment to organisational change and new ways of working which is not easy for some.
3. Are you mapping your direction?
Have you just taken opportunities or jobs that have fallen in your lap? Is the work you do what you want to be working on or just what was available at the time? Is your career currently moving in the direction you planned?
Guiding your career and having a plan and goal on how to get there is important. It is helpful to identify companies, agencies and people that you find inspirational. This can help map a pathway for you to explore. Study the career paths of people who you admire, look at the types of roles they have taken and companies they have worked for. Use this information to make a plan on the types of work you enjoy, companies that you would like to work for and people that you would benefit from networking with.
Once you have this mapped out then it will be easy to identify if you have been just taking whatever comes along or really steering and directing your career to where you see yourself in the future.
4. Are you building networks and planting seeds?
If you have a longer-term plan to move into a certain industry or to develop and extend your skills, start networking and building relationships now. Seek out and connect with people who are already in that field, and make connections with recruiters that specialise in that area.
It makes sense to start building these relationships before you make your move. Ask questions, take short courses and speak to people in these roles. Planting seeds, preparing and paving the way are all activities that can make that transition smoother.
5. Are you prepared?
Only you know the right time to make the move if that is what you plan to do. If you do decide to move, you will need to think about how you will resign. Spend some time preparing yourself, updating your CV and portfolio with current work. If you decide to stay, you will also need to think about the best ways to speak to your manager about improving your current role.
There is best practice when it comes to resigning:
Give as much notice as possible
Don’t discuss it with anyone until you have spoken to your direct manager
Comply with all the companies policies, requirements and guidelines
Be cooperative and positive
Do not speak negatively about the company to your colleagues upon departure
A very important thing to consider, and something that appears to be more common in this current climate, is a counteroffer. Be well prepared for your manager to offer you incentives to stay which may include training, higher remuneration, days off etc.
Of course, you have to weigh up and evaluate your options, but remember that the factors in play which made you want to move on in the first place won’t change. If it’s not a good fit for you now, it’s unlikely that you are going to feel any different about it later after accepting the counteroffer.
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