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Insights: How to Know When it's Time to Move On

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Ask the Expert! Through WISE Insights,Connect with knowledgeable experts to receive honest and thoughtful answers to your career-related questions, or read about challenges your peers are facing.

Question

Submitted by: WISE NYC Metro member | 6-15 years professional experience

What kind of tips can you provide to job-seekers who are making a career change or contemplating a career change? How do you know when it’s time to change jobs and when it’s time to change careers?

Answer

There are times when change is inevitable, whether by choice or out of one’s control. Any transition is often stressful, even when it’s an exciting or positive change. If you are proactive, you have more control and can reduce the stress of any move.

When it’s time to change jobs:

  • No more room for growth or promotion — “been there, done that.”
  • Needs/interests have changed personally (e.g. relocating) or professionally (e.g. specialization, larger company)
  • Irreconcilable differences with boss or supervisor
  • Downsizing (your position) is in the air

When it’s time to change careers:

  • Long term “burnout” — needs and goals have changed or you feel/are stuck
  • Aging out/injury (e.g. sports, performing arts, youth industries, etc.)
  • Industry is losing value or changing
  • Passionate about new interests (or a new chance at an old one)

Whether you’re looking for a new job or on the career exploration path:

  • Keep resume up to date
  • Stay current with new technology
  • Maintain relationships
  • Join new communities
  • Research next career steps for matching your values and goals
  • Start identifying the transferable skill sets needed for new starts
  • Plan your timetable for transitioning realistically
  • Include informational interviewing, shadowing, volunteering, and being active in organizations/events

Remember, transition is best when you’re excited about going towards something. Regularly make time to assess the climate and your values at your current position, and if you do put the wheels in motion, also make room for emotional leave taking or loss.

Lauren Gordon

About Lauren Gordon

Lauren Gordon, Career Counselor at Career Transition for Dancers, provides counseling, group programs, seminars and training. A psychotherapist, EAP consultant and career counselor in private practice in New York City, Lauren serves the arts, sports and other communities. She is on the program committee of Career Development Specialists Network and has written about career transition, including a chapter on athlete career transitions in "Applying Sport Psychology."

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