What to Do When It's Time for a Change
By Sandy Schroeder
Life changes come in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes we know immediately that we are ready for a change in life or work. Other times, little clues gradually surface until we wake up and put them all together. Changes can be big or small. You may begin branching out at work, try new situations, start taking classes for a new job, or look for a new job and/or a new location.
Whatever the change, decide what you really want, and what is out there. Sometimes exploratory visits to a new location or interviews can help you decide what you really want.
I have seen people do extensive research, while others wing it, deciding quickly to make major changes. Usually, the ones who take the time to find out all of the facts are a lot more satisfied with the results.
Do the Homework
As you consider changes, there are a lot of things that you need to know to make the best possible decision.
Decide who you are – You know where you are happiest, and what works best for you. Are you fine with travel and meeting new people? Or are you happiest in a fixed groove spinning out new projects and ideas from a central base? Are you in need of a change, or just curious about the market? Be honest with yourself to get the answers that will help the most.
Decide what kind of life you want – Do you thrive in a fast pace? Or are you more of a deep thinker and in-depth researcher? Are you happiest in an urban area or a small town? Do you enjoy taking care of a home, or do you prefer to have a low-care condo or apartment?
Consider your best skills - Think about what you have done, and what has worked best for you. What jobs have pleased you the most? What are your strengths, and weaknesses?
Review your finances – If you are considering changes, start putting aside money to finance exploratory trips, and serve as a backup during transitions.
Round up support – Reach out to people in your field for suggestions or recommendations of your abilities.
Test the water – Check out current options, jobs, requirements, and locations. Begin accumulating enough information to get a good picture of what is available, then pursue whatever you like.
You may decide you are happy where you are, or you need to take classes to get the job that you want. Or, you may have spotted something new to pursue. Either way, hang onto the information you have accumulated and continue self-checks to make the decisions that fit you.
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