A BIT OF BACKGROUND
My job is highly structured with firm deadlines that always leave me drained. At first, I couldn’t understand why because I met countless happy people at work. So I blamed myself. Months later, I mentioned to someone that I loved everything about my job except what I actually do every day. “Man that’s terrible,” he replied..
That answer freed me to finally admit that I was miserable. Then I started to vent, and vent...and vent. Afterwards, I decided to leave my discipline by year’s end. Changing employers wouldn’t help. It wasn’t about the players; it was the whole game. So here’s how I’m preparing to switch careers.
THE GAME PLAN
Get your finances right.
Typically one should save enough to pay 6 months of expenses. I’m a proponent of taking advice in context. If work makes you depressed every day, try eliminating some credit card debt before you go.
The goal is to reduce financial stress but mental health is key. No job is worth undue depression. Similarly, if you feel threatened or unsafe, then the time to quit was yesterday – seriously, please get out of there ASAP.
Tie up loose ends.
Try to finish incomplete assignments so you won’t leave on unpleasant terms. Otherwise, you could soften the impact by giving advance notice and helping with the transition. Again, consider your safety and personal situation to decide what’s best for you.
This is when you journal, soul search, take personality assessments to see where your interests lie, especially if you’re looking for a complete career makeover. Speak with different people currently in your field of interested to get the inside scoop.
Once you know your next career venture you can:
• Update your social media to communicate the same message across platforms.
• Learn or practice the skills needed in your new career.
• Update your resume, CV, and/or portfolio.
• Apply to jobs you meet 60% of the job description. (You can learn the rest on the job.)
• Network, network, network.
Let’s take a moment to further discuss networking.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Networking is how you relate to other people. Everything from a handshake, to email greetings, to liked social media posts counts as networking. It even includes how you interact with the elders at church! A recommendation from a close friend or relative speaks volumes, as compared to a resume or cover letter.
I recommend quitting a job on good terms whenever possible because it impacts how you’re remembered. One bad memory can overshadow the good. Your reputation determines who helps you, who refers you to colleagues, and even what’s said “off the record” when deciding between candidates.
I encourage you to reflect on your previous interactions and ask yourself: “What can be improved?” and “Where have I done exceptionally well?” These answers will reveal your personal style, allowing you to connect authentically. Networking efforts fall apart once people find you ingenuine.
For more networking tips, I recommend you check out Build Your Dream Network by J. Kelly Hoey. I’m currently going through the book myself, which inspired me to write this post. It’s a great read.
And remember: Be vigilant in the pursuit of your dreams!
This post was submitted by Jemima Victor, a young professional from Boston.