Thinking of changing jobs?

Friday, November 14th, 2008 - career change, career coaching, career management, career planning, career transition, Employment

Thinking of changing jobs?

Delhi Organiser - Book Review of 'Who moved my job?'

The down turn in the economy is bringing forward many individual’s plans to change employment sectors. Having seen many jobs disappear in their sector, they suddenly seem to be bringing forward long held plans to do something else, which they have never yet put into action.

Is this a time when you should put long term held dreams into action? Possibly, but probably not if you are in secure employment with a great employer. Jumping in this case means a change of employer, skills and sector and resultantly higher financial insecurity. This kind of change only makes sense if you are looking on a daily basis for a new job, and everything you look at reminds you of what you unhappily previously did.

How to make a job change

To undertake this task, start with three blank A4 sheets of paper. Don’t get worried of you get writers block, just keep writing as much as you can:

  • Sheet1: what I have done/this skills I have
  • Sheet2: my life, my family, and where I would like to be with both
  • Sheet3: where I would like to be in work in 10years

What do these three sheets, once written, tell you?

  • Sheet 1 tells you what you have got to work with now – this could form the basis of a CV
  • Sheet 2 defines your personal priorities – you and your family, and what you want. Sheet 3 fits effectively inside
  • Sheets 1 and 2 – you have (Sheet 1), you want (Sheet 2) and you expand on part of the want in Sheet 3

Clearly there is a compromise here, for instance: You want more children, and yet travelling far away from home for your dream job means you need a very supportive partner, and need to let them have some form of support system when you are away; which probably means that the family home is located close to the mother-in-law, and that means you need to get on with her.

You can play these scenarios and go back and re-write the pieces of paper as often as you want, and I would encourage you to do so on a six-monthly basis. But eventually you will get down to a mix where by you have played out everything you can think of, and the amount of change/addition is minimal. The result should be that you have a clear plan, which you have talked through and agreed with your partner, and which as a result you are more enthused – and will resultantly be loved by any future recruiter you meet or employer who engages you.

Long term over short term gain

This piece is focused on Sheet 3, and picking a sector of employment that means you (hopefully) won’t end up in the same situation again – ie: thinking what you were doing was useless/boring, and wanting to change sectors. It may be the case that you enjoy the sector, but just want to move roles within that sector – that’s fine, and there are former shop floor workers in the coal, ship building, motor and pottery industries who are still enjoying work in the UK, just not on the shop floor.

If you want to pick a new sector, then look for signs that include:

  • Technology change – IT, or applications of are good signs
  • Market liberalisation – often seen at a government level, such as the entry of the low-cost carriers into the airline market
  • Legislation improvement – this often means more paperwork, such as in the case of recycling or employment law
  • Social trends – such as the divorce rating is rising, so more divorce lawyers and support staff are required; more women want to return to work, so there is a shortage of child care workers

In cases where you want to stay in the sector, but can see the sector is on decline, then look towards:

  • Creativity – much as though production may move, design teams most often stay and expand
  • Customer orientation – sales and marketing still need to be in-country, even if a product is produced internationally
  • Consultancy – new market entrants and competitors to your old employer have probably come along as a result of cost efficiencies in developed markets. All of these companies need help in launching and developing their products

But above all, in all cases – PICK A SECTOR YOU WILL ENJOY! There is no point in spotting a trend or a gap, and not having your heart go quicker and your face smile. If it will not, then recruiters and employers will pick up on that.

Changing sectors need not, if you follow some simple rules and looks at the long term trends, be such a daft or wholly risky choice – as long as you make a better choice.

Good Luck!

PS: On a personal note……. I know this system works, because I apply it every three months! This is the system I used to move from call centre design to the internet market in the late 1990’s, through joining the team in my company involved in Data Centres. I saw the long term trend was towards mobile and the internet, and hence knew I had to get a job in either one or the other sector. Five years later, I choose self employment as I could see the long term staff reduction trends in BT – there is far more staff reduction to come there. I got involved in the recruitment market place because of effectively a consultancy engagement – there are staff shortages in certain telecoms sectors. I had the contacts and abilities to find gaps and fulfil them. I stayed because I could see the challenge for career management would be difficult in a more liquid employment market, and if a good recruiter existed we could help candidates long term


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