How to change jobs when you are unsure about next career move

Are you planning to quit your job but have no clue about your next move? Here's help.

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Build a fresh perspective when you are unsure about your next career move.
By Devashish Chakravarty

Are you planning to quit your job but have no clue about your next move? Or are you a fresher with no idea about where to start? Your biggest hurdle is your state of mind where neither do you have a passion to pursue nor a long-term career plan to work upon.

You are frustrated with your role and yet other job options seem equally terrible. You will not find direction in your current state of awareness and will need to energise your thinking with fresh inputs, experiences and perspectives. Here’s how.


  • Time focus
As a first step, remove any deadlines for finding your perfect career. There will be no instant answers when you are trying to map the next 20 years of your life. When you remove the deadline, your mind will be relieved and can create worthwhile solutions. Keep yourself occupied in a project or a temporary job if that stops you from worrying or if you need an income. Else take a break from work to make it easier.

  • Self focus
Now focus on yourself. Start on a fresh page and do not dwell on limitations like a lack of education, money, contacts or personal circumstances. These are temporary and you will miss the big picture if you anchor yourself in today’s challenges.

To solve your career question, get a larger canvas and a wider perspective that comes from internalising new learnings. Invest in reading, people, and new projects to build a larger bank to draw from. Also consider all those exciting options that you considered risky earlier. Think of travelling extensively, starting your business, trying internships at startups, volunteering at an NGO or working in an area of your hobby/ passion.

  • Job content focus
If you have held a job once, you are aware that the work content is often different from the job title. Thus, while considering and rejecting new career options, you are probably operating from a limited world view of what the work might feel like.

“Salesperson” – can lead to completely different experiences depending on whether you are selling over the telephone, in person, to individuals, to corporations, whether you are selling small ticket items or a single large sale every year. If you cannot experience a new prospective role, seek advice from people who are successful in those roles.

  • Contribution focus
Another good way to approach a job is from the space of contribution. Think about what you can contribute to the new employer, colleagues, customers, business and what impact that has on the world. A contribution perspective changes your world view and increases your motivation for your future career that will energise you in the long term.

  • Goal focus
When you are clueless about your next career move, stop thinking about the skills required. Think about creating a goal instead. Most careers are built upon a collection of skills. A software architect may know to code, manage teams, is an expert salesperson and is constantly on top of advances in technology. Similarly, an entrepreneur would pick up various skills in his journey to become successful.
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If you identify a goal that is a few years away, you can generate many paths to reach your destination and thus create multiple starting points to choose from. Once you select a path, shift your focus to the present moment and master skills one at a time. Remember that the goal must be work related and not an outcome.

Thus, becoming famous or earning a million dollars cannot be the goal. Such outcomes may arise once you find the career that you are happy to work upon and become successful.
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  • Person focus
A great technique is to stop thinking about your next job and instead ask yourself – who do you want to work with. It could be a person within your network or someone you have respected or heard of. Working alongside a great boss, a successful leader or even a sorted peer will give you immense learning, clarity and perspective in a short time. Consider this as an extended education that will get you to your best career path from the learnings you have acquired.

  • Life focus
Take a step back and make sure that other areas of your life are in order and wellbalanced. Remember that you have multiple other identities as an individual – including that of a friend, family member or contributor to the community.

While you are worried about your next job, you do not want other areas of your life to break down simultaneously. Stay invested in all your other areas to retain the balance you need to figure out your current challenge. Next leverage your support system of friends, colleagues and family and involve them in your efforts. You will gain different perspectives, new opportunities and people contacts leading to a faster or better solution.

  • Completion focus
The final and the most important step of trying to figure your next career is to complete what you start. If you have taken up a two-month internship, complete it. If you have taken up a short project within your company, finish it well. Most learnings and insights will come from the completions you achieve. Abandoning your short-term plans midway will reduce your confidence and slow down your journey to finding your dream career.

When the reason is...
1. Boss

What is your primary reason for quitting your current job and landing in a tough space of fi guring out your next move? The most common reason of quitting is a bad boss. If this is your reason too, then simply take a short break and fi nd a similar job after researching your future boss and colleagues. It’s too early to switch career paths.

2. Environment
Maybe the company culture is toxic. If you are dissatisfi ed with the way people are treated or if everyone is always on edge for fear of losing their jobs and thus are compromising on their work-life balance, then look for employers where job satisfaction is high, and attrition is low.

3. Industry
Are you in the wrong industry? Say you are a techie in the IT services industry where both your company and boss are ok but you don’t enjoy the projects you do. Consider an adjacent industry like an IT product company. Alternatively, explore a role in the technology department of a fi rm in another industry to get your mojo back.

4. Function
Are you simply exhausted by the kind of work you do on account of your current skill set? If you are in customer service and you dislike that kind of work, it is time for you to leverage your communication skills, acquire some new ones and change your function. Have you thought learning about technology and moving to IT sales?

5. Outcomes
Are the outcomes troubling you? Say you are a salesperson who is happy with both sales and your current employer, but your compensation does not meet your aspirations or the pressure from clients and long hours is killing your life. Consider switching to an industry where sales cycles are relaxed, and high profi ts mean greater compensation.

(The writer is founder and CEO at Quezx.com and Headhonchos.com.)
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column are that of the writer. The facts and opinions expressed here do not reflect the views of www.economictimes.com.)
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