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Considering a career change?

21 June 2017 |

Here are Career Coach Hannah Salton’s top 6 tips to help you work out whether now is the right time to quit your job

You’ve put the hours in at university, were ecstatic to land a place on a graduate training programme after university, and then… reality hits. We often leave university with huge aspirations and expectations of what a career in the City can offer us. Sometimes, once the reality of the 9-5 sets in, it can be easy to feel unsure if you’re on the right path.

Here are my top 6 tips for helping City workers to properly consider whether staying in their current job is right for them, or if it might be time to move on…

1. Don’t make any impulse decisions

It can be really tempting after a particularly gruelling week or series of frustrating workplace conversations to hand your notice in there and then. Reacting quickly to current circumstances is unlikely to serve you in the long-term; it’s better to try and step back and see the big picture before you react impulsively. You’re also less likely to burn bridges with your employer and colleagues if you avoid making a rash decision (and potentially resigning in a more dramatic and/or hostile manner than necessary!).

2. Note your biggest priorities

Everyone wants different things from their career. Some people value flexibility and purpose, others independence or a high salary. You may value different things depending on where you are in your career. It's important to weigh up any career change against your preferences and priorities, not the expectations of family, peers or colleagues. Write down your top 3 non-negotiable priorities to help guide any tricky decisions in the future.

3. Consider what is changeable

No job is perfect 100% of the time, and everyone has good days and bad days at work. Having said that, we spend such a large proportion of our life at work that it’s important you get the level of job satisfaction you want. Write down 3 things you would change about your current job if you had complete control over it. Next to each of the 3 things, write down some specific actions you could take over the next two weeks to see if you can start shifting them in the direction you want.

4. Talk to your boss or supervisor

Many people are afraid to have honest conversations with those more senior than them for fear of being viewed in a certain way afterwards. Having managed a team myself, constructive honesty about how team members are feeling is something I valued enormously. There may be challenges you’re experiencing in your current role that your manager isn’t aware of, and without an honest conversation there is nothing they can do to help. If you do end up leaving, you will want to know that you tried everything in your power to make it work. This should avoid the risk of you later wondering “what if…?”.

5. Be wary of other people’s observations

You may hear subjective opinions from friends and colleagues such as “it’s normal to hate your job” or “everyone works crazy hours in London”. Use your own standards to determine whether you’re experiencing the level of job satisfaction that works for you, and if not, commit to doing something about it.

6. Take action

This is the most important of all the points, and the stage at which most people give up. According to a recent survey, up to 80% of Londoners stay in jobs they aren’t happy with. If you know that you want to make a move, start exploring your options today. Create an action plan with timescales; work with a career coach or mentor to help define your goals; or simply start reworking your CV.

To help work out what you might want do next, read my article on how to use your network to work out your next career move.