Maybe you’ve worked in the same career for most of your life, and most likely your life circumstances will have changed several times along the way – while you still need to work to maintain your lifestyle, your heart is no longer in it. Maybe you are older and are concerned that changing careers could mean it may be more difficult to find meaningful work. You know you’re ready to embark on a significant lifestyle change… But what does this mean for you and how do you go about it?
Many careers seem to follow a similar pattern: people start their corporate life in one discipline; they hone their skills and learn their craft; undertake professional development; maybe change roles; maybe change disciplines; or maybe change industries and/or sectors. At each juncture of deciding to change roles and/or companies there are choices to be made. Although many choices are based on financial considerations, there are other factors to also take into account: Will the role be challenging; will the role provide the desired advancement opportunities; does the company and management team display the values and ethics that you want to be associated with; does the company genuinely contribute to the local community; what will be your legacy of contribution?
A key question for me that underpinned my own significant lifestyle change was: How much is enough? I had always figured that if enough is good, then more must be better… I soon came to the realisation that it can be easy to become so focussed on ‘more’ that you can lose sight of the fact that enough is actually OK – and that often knowing what is enough, and when is enough; that the stress levels decrease significantly as well!
Early on in a career, many people are focussed on what a company or enterprise can do for them – they are often looking for advancement and they may often change roles to chase what they perceive will deliver their career objectives. A casualty of this approach can be that the altruistic aspect of work can often be overlooked. Instead consider: What is it you can do for the company itself? For the community? What will be your legacy of contribution to society in general? When you are gone, what do you want to be remembered for?
Before we can create a meaningful career or indeed a meaningful life – we need to understand what has meaning for ourselves. What is important to you? Do you know what your values are? Do you understand how your beliefs influence your behaviour and the choices that you make on a daily basis? Do you consider the values and beliefs of the people, communities or companies with which you associate?
Perhaps take some time to consider your values and beliefs; as well as those closest to you. While you’re in a reflective mood, perhaps give some thought to what success looks like for you – in life, in work, in relationships, and in all other aspects of your life.
Now that you have defined what success looks like for you; and you know your values and which beliefs support your healthy life – then you can consider if your current career or lifestyle is meeting your life objectives – and if not, where changes might be made.
Here is one approach… Forget job titles. Focus instead on what specific skills and attributes you have. Consider your technical, management and leadership skills as well as your emotional and intuitive skills. Know which skills and attributes are fully transferrable across a number of different industries or sectors. Consider different company structures which could be attractive: Trusts, charities, environmentally or sustainability focussed entities, or other community based enterprises. Write down the attributes and values [the characteristics] of your ideal company and its management team. This company could be one you [eventually] own, or one you want to work for.
Are there any of these types of enterprises in your community, or within an acceptable commuting distance? Would you move to be close to your ideal enterprise? Be broad in your thinking. If you have a particular person you admire – especially if they might be a business owner, shareholder or even a senior executive – check out the Companies’ Office website to see what companies they are associated with – do your internet research to find out more about each of the companies. Make a list of potential companies to which you feel you could add value.
Other options could be to start your own business, or buy an existing business? Could you teach your skills to others? Would you consider re-training?
Regardless of the route you take, also consider your financial situation; you may need a buffer to help you transition to your new career and also factor in that finding your new role may take longer than you anticipate.
Once you have considered the above. Then it is time to work on re-crafting your professional and social media profiles; and refreshing your CV. Then begins the task of marketing yourself to potential employers or business partners. Discuss your plans with your contacts and networks, as they may be able to provide you introductions to help your search. Being strategic in your approach will mean that you waste less time on activities which don’t support your new objectives. Don’t be surprised that once your outlook and your approach changes – new opportunities may start to present themselves as well.
If you want some help with your significant lifestyle change then give me a call!