Colette Clail has a nice piece on touching on the subject of career change. I know Colette well and really like her approach to career change and fitting all the jigsaw pieces of your life together. Her key points:
  • Get clear about what is making you unhappy.
  • Identify some small changes that you can make immediately that will make a difference.
  • For the longer-term, define what your ultimate career goal is. This can mean you moving on, moving up or moving out.
  • Once you have determined your long-term objective, devise a plan and then do it!
I heartily concur and would add that the biggest difficulty I see clients encountering is the long-term picture element. People seem to feel that they have little or no control in these fast-changing times and therefore, long-term planning is largely a waste of time. I suspect this may have something to do with the fact that so many people in the private sector see their employers thinking and behaving in a very short-term mode and have absorbed that mindset by osmosis. Monkey see, monkey do …

You have to have a plan. Have to. It doesn’t need to be etched in granite, but it does need to be released from your head and captured in some form. I have likened career plans to bus schedules – no one expects the bus to arrive on time, the schedule is merely there to tell you how annoyed you should be.

Even something scribbled on the back of an envelope is fine. “By the time I’m XX years old, I’d like to have achieved the following: A, B, C, D, E.” It brings a surprising degree of focus to your thinking on a day-to-day basis.

Under the Career heading on Wikipedia, some nice person included a rant quote from me:

“You can define the word ‘career’ in two ways – as a noun or as a verb. I recommend pursuing your career as a noun.”

What can I say? Career as a verb doesn’t usually have a happy ending: “Today a bus careered off a cliff. All 47 people on board were killed. Film at 11.00”