When you’re in your 30s you’ve reached a critical point in your career. You’ve got a good amount of experience under your belt, you’ve been promoted a few times, and you’ve got a decent salary.
But, as Stephen Covey said:
“It doesn’t really matter how fast you’re going if you’re heading in the wrong direction.”“
Having the right goals in place is fundamental to successfully achieving them, and for that achievement to really contribute to your happiness and life satisfaction. So the number one priority at this stage is getting clarity on what your priorities actually are!
A great way to do this is to define your personal values, getting to a list of your top three is ideal. Then ask yourself if these values are really reflected in your career and your lifestyle today. If not, you can go about setting goals that are aligned with those values, and then creating an action plan to achieve those goals.
Signs that you should move on
1. Your key strengths and skills are not being leveraged:
If you find that you’re unable to use your experience and abilities in your current role, it may be time to look for a role that’s a better fit for your profile. The same applies if you’re not being recognised and appreciated for the value you’re adding to the business.
2.You’ve stopped learning and growing:
If every aspect of your role starts to feel routine, if you’re constantly bored and you feel you no longer have any opportunities to grow either in this role or in another role at your current company, then you’d do better to seek a new challenge.
3.The positives no longer outweigh the negatives:
If your salary no longer makes up for the stress and overtime, if the fun times become less and less frequent, if the interesting projects no longer compensate for the dull tasks, then you may want to look for a job where the balance is more in your favour.
4.Your values are misaligned with the company’s:
If you find yourself disagreeing with the overall company direction, or your boss’s decisions are counter to what you believe, and fundamentally you realise that your values are not aligned with those of the company, the right thing for both you and your boss will be to find a role that’s a better match for what you believe in.
5. You have a burning desire to do something else:
If your gut tells you it’s time to move on, if you have a passion that you’ve been dreaming of following for years, if you have a business idea that’s clearly formed in your head, then now may be the time to make it a reality; even if it means starting at a lower level.
Questions you can ask yourself:
What is my current job giving me (in terms of tangible benefits as well as things like satisfaction and growth)? What’s missing?
Where am I headed in my current role? (This is also a question for your boss.)
Where do I see myself in five years? Ten?
What would this career change give me?
What to do next:
The next steps will depend on your reasons for wanting to change, and your answers to those questions above. You may decide that you simply need to change to a similar job in a different company, or perhaps a different industry; you may be looking to move into the non-profit sector; or maybe you want to start your own business. As a general guide, if you haven't already I would advise you to do some research on what it would take for you to make that move.
Have a look at the roles that are currently being advertised: Does your profile fit the job description? Are there skills that you need to develop, courses you need to take, in order to be qualified? What books can you read about this new industry or field to get better informed? What conferences and networking events can you go to in order to connect with people who are already there?
Money is often the biggest concern for people making such a big change, especially if you're facing the prospect of a cut in your salary. If this is a worry, then it’s best to sit down sooner rather than later and take a proper look at your finances. Do you need to start cutting down on your expenses to have a buffer for when you decide to quit? How long will it take you to save this amount, i.e. what deadline can you give yourself to actually quit your job?
If you’re really unsure of whether the career change is the right move for you or not, or you just want some extra support from someone who is objective and unbiased, then you can also consider working with a career coach.