How To Effectively Change Careers In The Time Of The Great Resignation

changing direction

I am proud of you. It’s been a tough time, and like you are, many are considering how to change careers in search of fulfillment. 

Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University who has studied the exits of hundreds of workers, says, “the great resignation is coming.” Klotz says contributing factors are the many pandemic-related epiphanies—happiness, work-life integration, burnout, remote work and the future of work and the stress and trauma related to COVID-19.

The pandemic has caused many to be intentionally thoughtful about their careers and life. Music to my ears as a holistic career coach – you are worthy. Here are five things that will make a world of difference as you continue seeking out work that lights you up.

  1. Managing what’s impacting how you weigh risks and rewards 

We are in a heightened time of stress and burnout, but it’s so much harder to gain clarity and experience true career fulfillment when we feel that way. Stress affects the part of your brain responsible for executive function, and executive function impacts your decision-making abilities, emotions and focus. 

And so, if stress impacts how we weigh risks and rewards, all that back and forth you’re doing with:

  • A career idea,
  • Those imposter feelings,
  • Feeling afraid,
  • Missing big career change red flags or 
  • Not seeing the clues or job right at your fingertips 

All of it could be because of stress, my friend. 

You are more likely to have the time and energy you need to build your personal brand when you’re not so stressed or burned out. And when you effectively handle negative stress and overcome burnout, you can move onto building confidence, making you more likely to hit apply for a job and not be stuck in an analysis paralysis around whether you’re qualified.

To build resilience against the two, be mindful of your relationship with self-care. It’s not a fix for a toxic corporate culture or an organizational root cause, but it is something within your control, and building the self-care muscle pays dividends on your career growth habits as a whole. So, here’s some inspiration to get you going. 

career change self-care in less than thirty during the great resignation
  1. Assess whether your desires are concrete

To figure out if you’re running away too early or if it’s really a good move, ask yourself:

  1. Do you really want to resign? Don’t let a problematic boss push you out if you’re not ready to move on. Reclaim your power. 
  2. Are there a few things you wish and believe you can change and then everything will be okay?
  3. If you’re thinking about changing jobs versus going to school, ask yourself: How will going to school solve the problem? What evidence do you have for those solutions? 

Here are some reasons that typically signal a concrete need:

  • You’re living on the borderlines of regret because you fell into your job; meanwhile, your heart is set on something else. 
  • Your work doesn’t fulfill you mentally, creatively or socially, and it’s been that way for over 12-months despite no significant organizational changes.
  • You are burned out, and it feels like there’s only one way out.

Even with these reasons, ensure you’ve asked yourself, “Is there anything else I can do to increase fulfillment where I am before making a career change?” Changing careers may not always solve the problem, and it’s wise to be leveling up your career growth and development skills consistently. 

  1. Spend some time getting clear

On the note of leveling up, you can’t effectively do it without clarity. Continue building self-awareness around who you are, what you want next and what’s out there. If what’s next feels daunting, reverse engineer and make a list of 10 things you don’t want in your next career move.

To help high-achievers start and continue in their clarity journey, I created a free quiz along with an accompanying download. Take it here and discover:

  • Clues and ideas on what would be a fulfilling career move,
  • The mindset barriers that will get in your way and
  • The transferable skills that you can back up with irresistible evidence 
  1. Shape your narrative and brand through networking 

What we’ve talked about so far cuts to the inner-work. With a competitive job market and some companies and sectors still not back to normal with hiring, navigate and gain an advantage by cultivating your networking. 

Don’t think of it as is it better to network when you want to change industries or go to school? Networking is a skill you’ll need throughout your career regardless of what choice you make. It’s the number one way to look for roles and opportunities if you’re looking to change job roles in the same industry or, let’s say, change from the marketing industry to the health industry.

I remember interviewing an Intuit talent acquisition leader, and she said when you network, “roles are going to come to you, versus you having to go find them. That’s the best position to be in from a job-seeker perspective.”

Having meaningful conversations and building and nurturing relationships are a good use of job-search time. After a job search networking conversation, aim to leave with the following: 

  1. Understanding challenges in their department, role and the industry,
  2. Something memorable about the person to build on and deepen future interactions and 
  3. Someone else they can connect you to

You shape your narrative and brand when networking. You also learn new things as you make connections and better understand things like best practices, which makes you better at your craft—all bonus points for a competitive job market.

  1. Execute a plan 

Lastly, while plans may have gone array during the height of the pandemic, there’s no need for them to be that way now. Planning is an active and practical way to push you closer to your goals. 

Here are some questions to help get started:

  • When do you want to find a new job and why?
  • What might stop you from getting there?
  • How will you measure your progress beyond interviews and offers?
  • What will you say no to in order to achieve your goal?

You’re likely working full-time, and adding another job to your job search can be intensive and stressful. 

Here’s how to plan and manage job searching on top of an intense job: 

  • Value your time by spending it on things that will have the most impact.
  • Make time for self-care and stress-reducing practices.  
  • Be realistic with your goals and expectations and share them for accountability and a second eye. 
  • Get organized with your job search.
  • Hire a résumé writer or work with a career coach who can support you throughout each step.

According to Monster, 86% of workers feel their career has stalled during the pandemic, plus 34% think that the best way for advancement is to find a job with a new employer. You’re not alone, and remember how we started. I’m proud of you. I’m proud that you’re taking control. It’s your career.

Have you recently navigated a career change during this great resignation? Tell us about it! Offer your experiences and expertise inside our discussion forums, or come write for us.

About the author

Author profile
Rachel Montanez
Rachel Montañez

Rachel Montañez is a holistic career coach and international speaker. Troubled by our growing burnout epidemic and her experiences as a new mom, she created holistic coaching programs for high-achieving women ready to overcome burnout and embrace a fulfilling career. Her journey to career fulfillment began in 2009 when she found a book on career counseling in South Korea. She’s also lived and worked in the UK, Japan and the USA. On the corporate side, she provides keynotes, workshops and consulting, and her clients include some of the world's most innovative organizations.
Learn more at www.rachelmontanez.com.

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