The question is suppositional and from my coaching experience I realise that the working life is in stages. But most often the transition is so gradual and exponential that we don’t give the change much attention.
And then we are prompted to ask: Should career planning be more interventional? Should we be more proactive about changing jobs? There is always the danger of “feeling comfortable” and staying in a role for too long because “I like the people. It’s secure and the journey to work is easy.”
The risks are that you just accept easy options, lose ambition and interest and get to the lethargic stage where ‘I know what I would like to do but don’t have the drive to do”.
I have coached IT consultants to become successful secondary school teachers, barristers and doctors to become journalists and commercial executives. I am quoting these examples as the changes are radical and require high levels of motivation.
I have noticed that up to 25 years of age candidates will judge a job from an emotional perspective and from 30 years onwards this is balanced with the rational element. From 50 years onwards candidates tend to adopt pragmatism as the criteria for moving jobs. We could put this journey in stages. The early stage is directed by emotion: do I like the job or not? The middle stage is: I like the job but this must be balanced with security and financial commitments. The third stage is dominated by: does the role suit my skills and is the remuneration matching my expectations? At this stage liking the job or not fades as the dominant criteria for adopting a new role.
‘No need to apologise’ is a focus on that fact that when candidates change careers they feel that their previous job was a wrong choice rather than positively viewing their previous role as right at the time.
So putting all this in context why am I highlighting staging and our different attitude to the job market depending on our age? Too often as a Career Coach I meet candidates who would love to do something different but do not have the courage to make that big leap of faith. ‘I would love to become a doctor but can’t afford the 6-year training. I would love to be a forester but the money will not fund my mortgage. I always fancied landing one of those big planes at Heathrow but do not have enough motivation to spend all that money and time on pilot training. I am bored with my job and would like to do something which involves helping people. I enjoy experiencing different cultures and would love to find a job involving travel. I am really fed up with my job but I am not sure what to do about it.
Job choices are a journey-never a destination and career ladders will always have rungs missing.
And despite the many obvious obstacles, I encourage all my candidates to be courageous in their career planning. You can plan more radically in today’s work environment. You can study and train to develop new skills whilst you are working. Convert your ‘Ah buts’ to ‘Yes and…’ and then whilst you are queueing up to draw the old age pension you won’t be thinking ‘I wish I had…’ ‘If I only realised that I could…’ ‘I would love to have…’