Last week I gave in and had a long over-due wisdom tooth yanked! With a numb face and dribble down my chin it occurred to me that my latest dental experience was very similar to changing career – you put off the ‘perceived pain’ for as long as you can, procrastinate, deliberate, and eventually cut to the chase and do what you should have done ages ago, in most cases with great results! With a major career-change AND wisdom tooth extraction under my belt here are my 3 steps to avoiding career-change pain…
I was told two years ago that I had to have my wisdom tooth taken out, it was just a matter of when. My options were to wait until the pain got unbearable or have it taken out there and then! The dull ache wasn’t bothering me too much, and after a few weeks it completely disappeared so I let the tooth live a little longer. That was until my head felt like it was going to explode at the start of January, amidst moving house and trying to have a holiday – not a great combination!
So what has this got to do with career change? Well, the thing is, I had no way of knowing when the pain was going to reappear, and by putting off what ultimately had to be done, I ended up dealing with a horrible situation at a very inconvenient time, something that I see happen time and time again with people who want to change career.
Yes, changing career can be hard work and yes, it can take time, effort, dedication and commitment BUT if you’re bored of your job, sick of your career or can’t bear the industry you work in, it’s generally only a matter a time before that ‘pain’ gets too much and you decide to make a change.
However, unlike going to the dentist, by the time you reach your career-pain threshold, it’s likely that you’ll need much more than a 20 minute ‘extraction’ to get your career and mind back on track. A lack of direction or confusion about what to do next can lead to a sense of overwhelm and you may find yourself making a quick-fix decision that won’t serve your career well in the long-term. So what can you do to avoid this horrible scenario? Here are my top 3 tips on how to avoid career-pain: –
1. Weigh Up The Consequences
In hindsight I should have planned to have my tooth extracted once I knew it had to come out, rather than waiting for things to nasty. Unfortunately I didn’t take the time to consider the consequences of waiting and I certainly paid the price last week when I was in a world of pain! The same goes for your career – if you’re fed up with your job but have been given some respite that alleviates that ‘pain’ for a while (i.e. boss goes on maternity leave, company has new exciting product launch, you get promoted etc) don’t just sit back and hope that everything will work out well in the end. Your career is too important to rely on ‘hoping, wishing and waiting’! Consider how long you think the respite will stave off those old feelings, and if the boredom and/or frustration is likely to return once the novelty of those changes wears off? Weigh up the consequences of waiting, and take action if you don’t like what you see.
2. Put A Plan In Place
If you get some respite from the things you dislike about your career, use that precious time to put together a strategy on how you can change career before the boredom, frustration and ‘pain’ returns. Don’t wait for it to rear it’s ugly head before you take action as you will probably need more time to make some significant changes to your career than the situation will allow.
3. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Remember this – you will do more to avoid pain than you will to find pleasure. This simple and proven theory explains why so many people stick in their career comfort zone because they perceive the pain of changing career to be too high, and they only consider doing something about it when the the pain of their current job becomes unbearable. Ideally, you don’t want to wait until you loathe your job before you do anything about it, so take some time out to think about the pain you will end up experiencing if you don’t make some changes to your career now. Ask yourself these pain-inducing questions to help you create the leverage you need to make an all-important change:-
With three more wisdom teeth waiting to make their debut, I’m very clear on my plan of attack when they start to pop through next time – and trust me, it doesn’t involve waiting! I hope you choose to do the same if you’re considering a career change.
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Written by Faye Hollands – Director at Outshine Consulting. Faye is an accomplished Career Coach and Time Management Specialist who has successfully coached countless clients on how to create a career they love, get more done in less time, and achieve personal and professional success. You can contact Faye on +61 2 8323 4335 or email email@example.com
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