CareerCareer DevelopmentPersonal GrowthProblemsProductivity

Getting Out of a Career That You Fell Into

I recently wrote a post on how people with ill-defined or cross-functional job roles can recalibrate and rebrand themselves for greater self-awareness and professional success.

But what if you are in the wrong field entirely and simply need to…get out?

That is a difficult decision. Unless you are financially independent, changing careers is not a move you will want to make impetuously, or without your new life’s calling already lined up.

Assuming that a clean break really is the right thing for you, here is a checklist you should discipline yourself to go through—before departing your current job:

Know Thyself 

Being honest with yourself is the first step in any transition. Ask yourself this: what would you do if you had one million dollars per year in income? Can you answer that question? Do you even know what you should be doing if you did not have to worry about money? What would you want to be doing with your life and your time? Too often the drive to “make more money” is what is behind career dissatisfaction and career moves. Start with a consciousness of abundance. Fool yourself into believing money is not a factor for you and see what you can learn about yourself.

Wherever You Go, There You Are

Superficial problems in your environment and your career are those problems that are universal to organizations or to human nature. That, as such, will follow you around wherever you go. If it is simply office politics that is getting you down, that may not be a good enough reason to make a career move. In fact, such irritations and petty obstacles should be seen as opportunities to be mastered, consciously and internally. Otherwise, you may find yourself playing out the same scenarios repeatedly.

Diamonds in Your Backyard

You have figured out what makes you happy. You have learned the lessons you needed to learn about your organization, environment, and colleagues. Before moving on, try to identify the things that you could be doing in your current organization that will be of help in your next career. Look for opportunities to serve your current employer, and future career, while simultaneously preparing yourself for future success.

The secret is this: if you successfully go through all three of these exercises, you may not even need to leave your job at all.

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