Lately I have spent time with several friends on their careers. The tough economy, life transition and leadership issues have forced some of my friends to reconsider their current employment. It’s not uncommon for what you thought to be your dream job turn into your living nightmare. Over the years I have heard plenty of times, “I was hired to do one thing and now my job is doing something completely different.” It happens–more so these days than ever before. While I empathize with their pain ( I have been there before) I usually tell them: Don’t run away from a bad situation. Instead run toward the future you want.
Every time we run from a job, we risk of ending up in a similar situation later down the road. Before you search for another job or decide to make a career move, take time and do some honest soul searching. Here’s where I would start:
know your strengths and weaknesses. Be honest with yourself. Don’t buy into your own PR. You’re not good at everything. None of us are. Unless you can understand what you do well and what you don’t, you’ll never put yourself in a place where you can succeed. If you’re not a numbers person, then admit it. Stay away from business administration and accounting. Your perfect job will never be something you are not good doing. Never.
Understand the environment you work best. Work environment makes a difference in performance. If you’re a collaborative person, than a job where you work alone or from home is not going to get the best out of you.
Create a list of your past “wins” and find a common thread. Look back and catalog the projects, jobs, or situations where you had positive results or feedback. What made them succeed? If you can find the winning pattern, it will help you identify the key elements that will help you succeed in your new position.
Design your ideal job/career in your mind. It’s easy to say “yes” to a lot of things when you don’t have a strong idea of what you really want. It’s easy to say “no” to a good opportunity when you’re waiting to say “yes” to your perfect job.
Connect the dots. In my experience, the perfect job you want is usually two or three steps, jobs, opportunities away from where you are. Learn to connect the dots and strategically pursue the next logical opportunity.
What other advice would you give someone who is ready to make a job or career move?