Three Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making a Career Move

The number one query that comes up in introductory consultations is this,“I hate my job, but I don’t know what to do about it. Should I quit? Can I quit?” The thing is, as a certified coach that subscribes to the International Coach Federation’s code of ethics, I will never tell you what to do. This is your decision to make. However, there are some questions to ask yourself before you make the leap.

career move

1. What do you like and what don’t you like?

Yes, this is still a thing — go complete your pros and cons list. Sometimes it is a manager, not a job, that you are destined to deviate from. Taking the time to reflect and pinpoint what it truly is about the job that makes you feel disgruntled is absolutely the most important first step. Knowing what you like and don’t like can also give you hints about where you might want to go next, if leaving is the best option.

2. Are your values being met, and if not, can you influence a change?

Countless times I sit down with a client and ask a few questions about what is important to them, and we realize their values simply are not being met at their current place of employment. If you go through your day with a heavy feeling in your chest, and feel something is not quite right, this might be you. When we have misalignment with our heart, we feel dissatisfied at work and dread showing up for the scheduled tasks.

Make a list of the values you need to be met on a day-to-day basis to feel satisfied. Mine are what I call my three C’s: communication, collaboration, and creativity. If I live a day in my life without communicating and collaborating with others, I feel like I have failed. Also, without room for creativity I find I go to bed with a heavy heart. Notice how you feel at the end of each day, and ask yourself what is missing?

Once you have this list, it is important to reflect on how, on average, your current workplace is meeting your needs. If you would rate yourself lower than a five out of ten on each of your value words, then perhaps it is time for a change. Otherwise, ask yourself where you might be able to influence these values at work. Perhaps you can ask for a new project that is more aligned with what you’re about, or maybe it is time to apply for a lateral move internally. The options are endless, but this reflection will help to narrow it down.

3. How would you describe how work fits into your everyday life?

It is interesting that many of us feel that life and work are separate entities, but I am a firm believer that they are intricately intertwined. When you contemplate the life you want to live, work is a huge part of that.

Consider your ideal lifestyle. How many hours per day would you like to work? How much time would you like at home with your family? What environment do you prefer to spend your leisure time in? Do you enjoy being told what to do, or do you want to call the shots yourself?

If you like to live in the hustle and bustle of the big city, and spend your evenings at the trendiest new speakeasy bars, then perhaps a corporate job would be a great fit. However, if you like to hang out with horses in the country side and climb mountains, and only want to work 30 or 40 hours per week, perhaps a role that allows more flexibility and promotes a healthy lifestyle is more important than company reputation.

Pick a lifestyle and understand your values before making any big life decisions. Whether you stay or go is not as important as knowing why you’ve made the decision, and how it is in alignment with who you really are. Once you have this foundation, consider where you have control and influence, and make a game plan from there.