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Helen Menhenett, research manager at Fairplace career management consultants, discusses career change in a cold climate. She believes anything is still possible with planning.
Worried about redundancy, downsizing, restructuring? Or just bored with your job? Most of us have to work to pay the mortgage, bills bank loans or a host of other financial demands so we can’t rush off and retrain as landscape gardeners - but there’s no need to dread Mondays.
The City & Guilds Happiness Index looks at what people say about happiness at work. The top five happiest professions have something in common - interaction with other people, not based in a conventional office and doing work that has clear outcomes. What do you want from your work?
Are you managing your career effectively? At the very least ask yourself where you want to be in a year from now. Are you looking to move within your organisation, your sector or the profession? What changes do you expect over the next year that will affect your role and organisation?
Positive career management requires focus and planning. Henry Ford said that “if you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right”. Market yourself as a premium product and campaign accordingly; whether planning your next move, climbing the career ladder or reinventing your life.
Firstly, the smart thing to do is to look for internal moves. If your organisation has good talent management processes in place they want to encourage your development and growth. Opportunities to advance won't always fall into your lap so be proactive in asking for them. You don’t want to be seen as a foot-soldier but as someone with strategic perspective, able to make tough decisions.
If you are looking to move outside the organisation or for a career change then you need a long-term plan. The first step is to identify what you want then identify how you are going to get there. What skills do you have and what do you need?
Then find the strategy that’s going to help you achieve your goals. Don’t just do what you’ve always done in the past. A recruitment agency is not in business to build your ideal career for you. Your dream job probably won’t be advertised. So pick up your address book and start making calls.
Networking is a key skill. It’s not about contacting everyone you know when you are looking for job. It starts long before the job search and you probably don’t even realise you are doing it. You’re networking when you talk to other parents at sports day, when you chat at the gym or at lunch with colleagues as well as when you are at professional and trade association meetings.
Good networking is about building alliances and cultivating relationships. It’s a two-way - so look to add value, ask what you can do for others. What goes around comes around; build your network, broaden your horizons, and help your contacts where you can.
The truth is that all the advice in the world doesn’t really help. You have to grasp the nettle. A Fairplace client left investment banking to run an art gallery featuring the work of new, young artists. Another left a pharmaceutical company to farm alpacas.
Your career is unique. Whether you’re chasing promotion, rebooting a ‘stuck’ career, starting your own business or changing career it takes a lot of energy and commitment. You need to define what you want, research your options and take your time to work towards it. Book on a course or go to a conference that interests you. Talk to someone who already made the move. Then go and look for something that fits your values and aspirations.
IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO CHANGE