Technical and Executive Recruiters

Overcoming the Fear of Change

By Bill Radin

©1998 Innovative Consulting, Inc.
Career Development Reports

You and I are lucky — we live in a world rich in possibilities. Besides being able to select from an unlimited variety of occupations, we also have the right to find happiness in our daily work.

If you’re considering a job change, it’s probably for one of three reasons:

  1. Personal — You want to change your relationships with others. For example, you may have discovered that you’re incompatible with the people in your company.
  2. Professional — You’ve determined the need to advance your career. For example, you’ve found that you won’t reach your professional or technical goals at your present company; or that you’re not getting the recognition you deserve; or that you’re not being challenged technically; or you’re not being given the skills you need to compete for employment in the future.
  3. Situational — Your dissatisfaction has nothing to do with personal relationships or career development; it’s tied to a certain set of circumstances. Maybe you’re commuting too far from home each day, or you’re working too many hours, or you’re under too much stress; or you want to relocate to another city (or stay where you are rather than be transferred).

Whatever your personal, professional, or situational reasons may be, you’re motivated by the desire to improve your level of job satisfaction and make a change.


THE COMPLETE JOB DESCRIPTION

In order to translate your needs into results, let’s begin by evaluating your present position — it’s the first step in any job change.

  1. What are your daily activities? That is, how do you spend your time during a typical day; and
  2. What are the measurable results your company expects from these activities? In other words, how does your supervisor know when you’re doing a good job.

Often, I discover that people are hard pressed to come up with solid answers about the specific nature of their work. Try this exercise: On a sheet of paper, write a complete, current job description in which you list your daily activities and their expected, measurable results. This exercise will not only help you clarify your own perception of your work; it’ll be useful later on when you begin to construct a resume and communicate to others exactly what you’ve done.

THE POSITIVE POWER OF VALUES

Once you’ve described all the facets of your job, the next step is to understand the relationship between what you do and the way you feel.

I use the term values as a descriptor of personal priorities; as a yardstick to help you:

  • Understand what types of work-related activities you really enjoy;
  • Determine which goals or accomplishments are important to you and give you a feeling of satisfaction; and
  • Evaluate whether your personal priorities are in balance, or in harmony with your job situation.

Although it’s fairly simple to decipher which daily tasks you really enjoy, the task of scrutinizing your personal priorities can be tricky.That’s because there are often factors unrelated to your job that can come into play. The point is, we all have highly personal motivations which guide our career choices.


THE DESCRIPTION MAKEOVER

Now that you know how to clearly define your values, the next step is to describe the changes you’d like to make in your new job.

YOUR JOB CHANGING STRATEGY

If you were to look at your career from a purely strategic point of view, I could give you four good reasons why it makes sense to change jobs within the same or similar industry three times during your first ten years of employment:

  1. Changing jobs gives you a broader base of experience: After about three years, you’ve learned most of what you’re going to know about how to do your job. Therefore, over a ten year period, you gain more experience from three times 90 percent than one times 100 percent.
  2. A more varied background creates a greater demand for your skills: Depth of experience means you’re more valuable to a larger number of employers.
  3. A job change results in an accelerated promotion cycle: Each time you make a change, you bump up a notch on the promotion ladder. You jump, for example, from project engineer to senior project engineer; or national sales manager to vice president of sales and marketing.
  4. More responsibility leads to greater earning power: A promotion is usually accompanied by a salary increase. And since you’re being promoted faster, your salary grows at a quicker pace.

Many people view a job change as a way of promoting themselves to a better position. In most cases, I would agree. However, you should always be sure your new job offers you the means to satisfy your values. Your responsibility when contemplating a change is to evaluate what’s most important to you. Whether you focus on a single aspect of your job , or on the overall nature of the job you’d like to improve.

The more clearly you connect your values with your work, the greater the potential for job satisfaction.