ARE you feeling restless and wondering if you should move on?
Before you start drafting your letter of resignation, pause for a moment to reflect. Review your career achievements for the past year. Which areas did you excel in; which areas should you improve on; and what practices or habits should you adopt, drop or change?
Making a career switch should not be taken lightly. Before you decide on anything, you should ask yourself what your life's mission is. What do you wish to achieve in your lifetime? What is the purpose of your life? And what values are important to you?
The answers will give you an idea of what industry, vocation or organisation that would interest you.
Like corporations who have achieved success by adhering to a set of objectives and principles, you should have similar statements to guide your career as well. Identify your passion, your vision for life and the core values that are important to you.
The three-circle model, which I have termed "Happiness at Work", may assist you in understanding yourself better.
Use it as a tool to gauge whether you should move to "greener pastures" or not. The concept is inspired by business author Jim Collins' best-selling book Good To Great. Collins' model is used to ascertain the business viability of corporate strategies, but this model is employed to assess career choices.
The first circle on the top left represents your skills and competencies. What are your personal strengths and talents? What are you good at?
For instance, you may have a knack for numbers and could easily train to be a financial analyst, or you have a good voice and showmanship that may take you far as a singer.
Make an honest assessment of your skills and competencies. Then, build upon your strengths and avoid or improve on areas of weakness.
The next circle on the top right symbolises your passion.
Passion engages and captivates your mind and spirit, giving you a powerful sense of purpose. You are likely to excel in what you feel enthusiastic about. Ask yourself: What do you really love doing?
The last circle at the bottom represents the economic viability of your chosen profession. In other words, is your income equitable to the hard work and long hours you put in?
There have been successful street performers who have achieved great success after years of hard work and perseverance, but will you be able to comfortably support a family as a full-time busker?
Happy at last
The area where the three circles intersect represents work-life sustainability and happiness. It determines how successful you will be in your career and life. Individuals who are most fulfilled in their careers often report that all three areas intersect.
If you are thinking about switching jobs or industries, ensure that you will be in or closer to the intersection of the three areas than you are in your current job. Consider whether the new job you are thinking of pursuing better suits your skills and talents, is something you are passionate about, or is more economically viable.
Pros versus cons
While the model is a good guide to help you decide whether to move or not, there are other factors worth considering too. For instance, you may have the necessary competencies and enjoy your work but office politics, incompetent bosses, crazy deadlines and excessive travelling make you unhappy.
If so, weigh the pros and cons and decide whether you can accept the trade-offs in your current employment or a new job.
Accepting these conditions means taking ownership of the decision to stick with your job and learning how to come to terms with these imperfections. In doing so, you will be at peace with yourself.
However, if you decide that the cons far outweigh the pros, you may choose to move on. As long as you have examined the situation, it means that you made a well informed, rather than impulsive, decision.