Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Should I stay or should I go? 7: when should I at least begin to seriously consider making a career path change?

Posted in career development, job search, job search and career development by Timothy Platt on January 19, 2016

This is my seventh installment to a series on intentionally entered into, fundamental job and career path change, and on best practices for deciding both when and how to carry through on it (see Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3, postings 416 and following for Parts 1-6.)

I have been successively discussing each of a set of stay or go scenarios in this series, that I first offered in its Part 1. And I turn here to consider the sixth entry in that set:

• When should I at least begin to seriously consider making a career path change, and with all of the challenge and uncertainties that that brings?

The first five, as stated in Part 1 and discussed in Parts 2-6, would in most cases mean either working out potential conflicts and points of friction so as to be able to stay where you are now, or moving into an at least relatively similar work position elsewhere where you do not face those challenges. Any job change, with the review of goals and priorities that that entails, can lead to at least a consideration of making a more fundamental career change too. But my focus in this series up to here has been more on staying where you are now professionally, or making a same-career path move to another, probably relatively similar job. My goal here is to at least begin addressing more fundamental work life change as a given requirement, and situations where leaving a current job means changing career paths and fields of work too.

I recently finished writing and posting a series to this blog, and to its Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development, with a student and new graduate audience in mind:

• Using Social Media as Job Search and Career Development Business Analysis Resources (see Page 3 of that content directory, postings 397-415.)

I in fact wrote and posted that series with a goal of offering value to a more general jobs and careers audience, but I also wrote and offered it with the students and alumni of the business school of one of my alma maters as a specific intended audience. People like them who are starting out upon, or still early in their work lives can expect to face multiple job changes over the course of their professionally employed lives, and at least several more fundamental career changes too. And for most of us, and certainly in more rapidly technologically changing countries, it is very likely that the jobs that we hold later in our work lives and the work that we perform there, will not have even existed when we started out with our first real paid job.

• So when I write about career change here, with the greater levels of disruption and uncertainty that it involves than would be encountered when simply changing jobs, I write about a type of work life event that we all have to come to see as an expected eventuality, and one that we will all go through, and several times or more.
• There was a time when many and perhaps even most people could realistically expect to find work with an employer as they finished school, that they would simply continue working with until they eventually reached retirement age. They would stay where they started and advance upward in their career path through gained experience and seniority, and probably through at least some measure of job promotions. And they would pursue a same career path throughout this. This was certainly the hope for many coming out of World War II in countries like the United States. But that bygone jobs and careers era disappeared at least a full generation ago now, and for many a lot longer ago than that. And job change and even career change have become a professional way of life.
• So it is important to think through and understand job changes, and to be prepared for that. But it is at least as important to think through and be prepared for more comprehensive career path changes too.

I framed this series installment with a question that I appended to its title:

• When should I at least begin to seriously consider making a career path change?

In a fundamental sense, the correct answer to that question has to be “Now!” And this advice applies as much to people who are successfully employed now, in jobs they love and where they are appreciated and valued, as it does for those who are already approaching challenges that might force the issue.

I am going to continue this discussion in a next series installment where I will at least briefly discuss careers per se, and understanding where we are now and where we would seek to go from here if we are to pursue a best work life for ourselves. And as part of that I will discuss issues and scenarios in which we would have to make career changes. And I will at least briefly discuss the issues of navigating a career change. Then after that and as noted at the end of Part 6 of this series, I will look into the special case issues of founding a startup. And then after that I will discuss retirement as a stay or go scenario, where this increasingly means tapering off employment and making career changes rather than simply moving from being fully employed to no longer working.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3 and at the first directory page and second, continuation page to this Guide.

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