Kent’s Situation: I’ve been in one career area for over a decade and in the same organization for almost 8 years. Things aren’t great at work for a number of reasons, and I’ve been applying for jobs for a solid year, with no offers yet (though several interviews). I’m struggling to figure out what it is I want next-stay in this field or make a pivot. I know a lot of the reasons I can’t figure out what to do next is I’m so burned out and frustrated with my current position that I’m lacking focus.
Kent’s Question: I’m unhappy in my current job and job searching in my industry with no luck. Is it time to move on to a new career path?
Alison’s Answer: Thanks for the question Kent! It’s natural to start wondering about a bigger career change when a current career path isn’t working. So is a career change in order in this case?
I reached out to Kent to get a better sense of his situation. I learned several things that impacted my assessment of his case.
First, it turned out the he had really enjoyed his current job until new management came in and took away his responsibilities, leaving him with unfulfilling and mundane tasks in his day-to-day.
Second, while it was true that his job search hadn’t yielded a new position yet, when I checked on how long he’d been searching, Kent’s response was, “about five months”.
Lastly, when I asked, “If you did land a new job in your current field, how enthusiastic would you be about it on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being high)?” Kent was an 8.
Based on all of these factors, I got the impression that it was the current environment, not the current industry, that was the problem. Additionally, the length of his time job searching, which I’m sure felt like an eternity to Kent, wasn’t objectively that long. Most people interview at a couple places before landing a new gig, so I wasn’t too concerned that Kent hadn’t nailed down a new role yet.
As we talked more, I learned that Kent hadn’t utilized his personal network in his job search yet, which meant there were still untapped possibilities awaiting him. We came to the conclusion that Kent should continue his job search in his current industry, and I advised Kent to be persistent with his job search for the time being.
“If you get to a place where you hit a total wall with the process, then we can think about picking a new career direction. For now the name of the game is perseverance,” I said as we wrapped up our conversation.
If you’re in a similar position to Kent, of job searching without success and wondering if it’s time to make a career change, consider the following questions.
- Is my dislike of my current career path environmental? Have I liked my job in some work environments, but not others?
- If I successfully landed a new job in my current field, how enthusiastic would I be about it on a scale of 1-10?
- Have I exhausted my job search options and come up empty, or are there possibilities in my current career or network that I haven’t tapped into yet?
Your answers should help you to recognize if it’s a good idea to stick it out, like Kent, or if it’s really time to embark on a broader career change.
What’s been your experience with getting paid to do something you love? Was it immediate or something you had to work for?
Client Feedback on Working with Alison in a Cardy Career Coaching program:
“I began the process skeptical of the whole idea of life/career coaching and cynical about the possibility that it might help me in any way. By the halfway point of the first session, both feelings had melted away. Alison manages to walk the tightrope of empathizing like a close friend while providing an insightful diagnosis of the problem like the objective professional that she is. I would recommend her services to anyone who is floundering or searching for guidance in life or career.” –John K., Lawyer, Career Direction Clarity + Action Plan Client
Each week the Cardy Career Coaching Team is tackling a career question from someone in our community. If you’re at a crossroads with your career and would like to pose a question, sign up for the Step-By-Step Career Change E-Course! There’s a link to a quick survey in the early emails of the course where you can leave us a question. We might just write a blog post for you!