Lifehacking Your Career Change

Career Change

So, I was pondering back on my (long windy road) to get here. It was scary. Overwhelming. And yes, sloooowwww!

When you’re plopped in front of a desk, day in and day out and you are not ignited with passion every time you tackle a project, hours can feel like years, no, decades! And you just can’t see the end in sight.

I know, I get it!

I was there too! And the scariest thing is to sit there on a Sunday night, with a glass of wine… or two… or three (the number of glasses of wine is directly proportional to the length of time you’ve been in “Get-Me-The-Hell-Outta-Here” mode) and you’re buzzing with the question: But, What do I want to be when I grow up?

You remember the movie “Office Space” right? Not the TV show, but the movie.

There was Milton, the suspender-wearer office guy whose business attire obviously came from K-Mart, khakis and all. Nobody noticed him. His biggest annual review complaint was his missing red stapler.

But he actually was starved for attention. He just didn’t know how to get what he wanted! Well, eventually Milton got so sick and tired of feeling like a piece of furniture that he actually burned down the office building.

So, don’t be a Milton. Don’t blend with the office furniture to the point that you start feeling like you need to burn down the building. Go figure out how to do soul-satisfying work every friggin day!

You know it’s not (fill in the blank with your current title) – but where do you even start?

Well gorgeous, fret no more. Although the truth is there isn’t a quick answer to your angst (and trust me, I wish there was one), and yes it is going to be a process, the good news is that there are shortcuts to figuring all this out a lot faster! Just go grab your red stapler and burn the building down!

OK, just kidding. Please don’t burn the building down. Instead, follow this one simple process to lifehack your career change.

So, here we go:

A Shortcut To Your Career Change: Survey Your Inner Circle

Before you continue spinning your wheels, let your peeps help you out!

Here is the process.

First, you want to create a list of questions you think would be helpful in decoding the next step in your career change. Aim for questions that are open ended (the whole What-Why-How thing). These questions should give the person full reigns to answer freely and truthfully (in other words, don’t lead them into an answer you want to hear). Here are some examples:

  • What’s my strength? Weakness?
  • What career can you see me in?
  • What career can you definitely not see me in?
  • What 3 words would you use to describe me?
  • If you didn’t already know what I do for a living, what would you guess, and why?
  • I’m trying to go from field X to field Y. What steps would you suggest?
  • What are my blind spots?

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These questions should give you a sense of how others perceive you and may even surprise you with natural talents that you take for granted or are unaware of. It’s like brainstorming times a gazillion! This process alone will start to trigger some fresh new ideas.

[image url=”http://theguavaproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/nwhpn-300×199.jpg” alignment=”left” margin_left=”0″ margin_right=”0″ margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”0″ border=”smallBorder” width=”300″ height=”199″] Next, pinpoint the people you’ll be recruiting for your Career Change Survey. You need to be careful, especially if you don’t want to tip your hand to co-workers that you’re considering a career change. Focus on friends, trustworthy colleagues and family members you can depend on to provide honest feedback (no frenemies need apply).

I suggest identifying 10 to 20 people who share interests, skills and values you admire. In a perfect world, you’ll want to a nice diverse group of men and women in different fields so you can get a broad perspective. But don’t let this bug you down. Better done than perfect.

Once you’ve zeroed in on potential members for your survey posse, it’s time to approach them. Make sure you’re  clear on the objective of this exercise so that you can communicate it easily once you contact your list. Also, you want to convey clearly to them that you want them to set aside time for this. That this is not a quick “25-things you didn’t know about me” game but rather that you’re looking for their input into the next chapter of your life.

You can do this in person, which will add tons of value since you’ll be able to read people much better. But I have found that it can be an intimidating process both for you and your friend/relative/barista or whomever you’re going to survey. When I went through this process myself, I simply put together a template email that I used as the starting point to create individual emails for those people I had identified already. You could also create an online survey and make it anonymous so people feel more free to be completely honest with you. There are tons of free tools out there to do this with. I recommend Survey Monkey – it’s super easy to use.

Here is a script you can use as a starting point:

Hey (insert name here)! I’m always striving for improvement and self development. Lately I have been feeling a little lost and would love your support on helping me get back in the right direction. I’ve put together a little questionnaire to help me see myself through the eyes of those closest to me. My goal with this exercise is to gain a new perspective on my strengths and weaknesses that will help me hone into career path for me. I know you love me and wouldn’t want to hurt my feelings, but I’d appreciate your candid feedback about my limitations as well as any insight on what you perceive to be my strengths.

You’ve Asked. They’ve Answered. Now What? How to interpret what people say

Once you’ve gathered all the feedback, it’s time to make sense of all of it. First of all, don’t take it personal. I know, kinda tough… but you’ll be much more successful if you take the information in knowing that it’s coming from a place of love and that you’re now a step closer to ditching your boring job and create a beautiful career for yourself.

Notice any consistent patterns across comments you’ve received. It’s easy for something negative to stick in your craw. But the power of one harsh appraisal can cloud your understanding of how you’re perceived in general. Remember, you’re trying to find patterns. To uncover them, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What adjectives did people use to describe me?
  • What skills did they say I possess or lack?
  • What aspects of me or my brand were most frequently mentioned?
  • Were any of those aspects cited as unique or unusual?

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Now you can go off and start thinking of your career change from a whole new perspective. Use the mix of skills and strengths you received the most feedback on to search for suitable careers that would draw on those.

Remember, you are meant for big things! You were put here on this Earth with your own mix of amazing natural skills and your own sazon! Once you tap into those gifts, life is so much easier! You weren’t born to struggle!

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Are you ready for your own breakthrough in your career transition? Let’s talk! Send me a quick message HERE and we can set up a time to chat so you too can start living the life you want and deserve!

Now it’s your turn gorgeous, type in the comments below What is ONE thing you crave to have in a job?

 



Abrazos,

Jennifer

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Jennifer Kent is an award-winning entrepreneur who helps you define your dream career and ditch your boring job.

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About The Author

Jennifer Kent

Jennifer Kent is an award-winning entrepreneur who helps you define your dream career and ditch your boring job.