Are you thinking about moving to a new industry in 2021? Career and executive coach Paul Heng answers some of the questions you should be asking yourself before deciding to make the switch.
Q: I’ve had the same career for many years now. How do I know if I should change careers or industries?
Paul: Use this “Ideal Job” guide. Break down your job into activities – that is, what you actually do, for example, identify prospective clients, engage clients, build relationships, initiate sales conversations, close sales, deliver services, and so on. Now, sort these activities into three “buckets”:
Learn: Activities that teach you new skills or knowledge
Stretch: Activities that you know how to do, and need to do more of to be an expert
Eyes Shut: Activities that you can do with your eyes closed and that you’re likely already an expert in
If you have an almost equal number in each bucket, you have an ideal job. In this case, you should stay put. If you’ve been doing the same job for some time and you have more activities in the “Eyes Shut” bucket, then you’re likely just going through the motions at work and not exactly learning or progressing. If this sounds like your situation, then you may want to make the switch.
Q: I’m not happy in my career but I’m not sure if I’m ready for a new one. How can I tell it’s time for a real change and that I’m not just bored with my current job?
Paul: Ask yourself why you’re not happy, and be objective. Not liking your boss is not an objective or good enough reason for switching careers. More appropriate reasons would be that you’re not being challenged enough in your current career, that you’re eager to try something new or different, or that you feel your skills and knowledge could be put to better use elsewhere. Remember, though, switching careers doesn’t mean you have to leave your current company – it could just mean making a lateral move to another role or department within the company.