6 Things To Consider In Your Next Career Move
Updated: Apr 27, 2018
6 things we often correct for when we change jobs, and the things we can forget.
In the many conversations I have had with clients I coach and train, I often hear a familiar narrative when people consider their next career move.
"I'm not sure what I want to do next, but I don't want to do THIS anymore."
Sound familiar? Yeah - most of us have been there. I certainly have.
My career has been, some might say, meandering. I've worked across the private, public and third sectors in everything from big oil to education. On paper it looks impressive (I've worked for big brands and organisations) but could also come across as a bit random or un-planned.
In fact, every time I changed job I was correcting for something in my previous one and I think this is something a lot of people do. They are unhappy in their current role in some way and therefore, when choosing their next role they make pretty darn sure they don't repeat that mistake, by focusing on correcting the issue that's making them the most dissatisfied. I've done 6 jobs in the 11 years since I left university, so I feel I at least have some perspective on changing jobs and the things to consider.
From speaking to a lot of people about changing jobs, either through my work as a coach or at Women Discuss Work events, in the pub, on the bus - this comes up a lot so I've come up with a list of the common considerations or 'corrections' we often consider when thinking about our next job. I call this my career graphic equaliser (catchy ain't it) but it's proved very useful for me and my clients so I wanted to share it.
I'm a graphy kind of a person, it's probably the science training, so I draw this like a graphic equaliser (remember them?!) that I used to watch hypnotically on my dad's massive stereo as a child. I do appreciate this is a particularly analytical way of looking at things and far more comes into a job search than just whether it makes sense - it has to feel right - but in the tangle of considerations and the often emotional turmoil that comes along with making a big change, sometimes having a graph helps. No really, it does.
So here is is... drumroll please...
This is my graphic equaliser chart of how I felt as I approached the end of my McKinsey graduate programme (you leave after 2 years as standard unless you are stupendously talented, which, thankfully, I wasn't, so off I went).
The 6 considerations are each represented by one bar, and the height is effectively the 'score' you give each one.
To explain the 6 things a little:
Values Goodness this word gets bandied about a lot and I think it means different things to different people and in different contexts. Here it is quite specific - does the company you work for value and reward the things you believe to be worthy of value and reward?
This is not the list of values written in funky blue typography on the reception wall. This is the way the company ACTUALLY behaves towards its people (I'm very sorry but rarely do the two correlate in my experience). Do those who are worthy of promotion get it? Is the reward system (whether monetary or otherwise) focused in the right places? Can you behave and challenge and speak up in the way that is consistent with your inner moral compass and do well?
Tasks This one is quite simple but it's essentially whether the things that fill your day are stimulating, fulfilling and interesting. And I mean the things that actually fill your day, not the things that should based on your job description.
Sector I believe this is a false category, but I include it because I hear it so often: "I want to work in the charity sector, I need to be in media etc". In actual fact the sector is usually shorthand for a combination of all the other categories (charity sector = more consistent with my values, for example). However, if you are in a sector that you don't care about or doesn't match your values or where the people are generally unpleasant, I can see why you'd want to move to another one, so I leave it here for your consideration. If you don't think it's a factor just leave it at zero.
People Do you like the people you work with? Are there leaders you can follow who inspire you? Is there the stimulation and challenges you desire? Is your boss great or a burden on your entire existence? You get the idea...
Status This sums up a number of things - salary, title, promotion prospects, the brand of the company - the stuff that allows you to live the way you want and that you want to tell people about in the pub, whatever that may be.
Lifestyle Whatever your aspirations in terms of hours worked, flexibility, location, does the job match them?
What to do to come up with your own graphic equaliser...
This is not exactly technically advanced but it does the job.
Firstly, you need to rank the 6 factors - this is necessary because each of the 6 things will be at different levels of importance at various stages of your life. When I was 22 my salary actually wasn't that critical - I didn't have a mortgage or a family or any real dependents. It was far more important at that stage that I was learning and doing something I cared about (it still is actually). For a person with significant financial commitments their salary will be far more critical - so think about which of these is the most important to you at this point in your life and rank them accordingly, giving each a 'score' of 1-6 with 6 being the highest priority item and 1 being the lowest priority.
Now score your current job or the job you are thinking about taking (preferably both if you know what your next move might be). Each category gets a score of 1-5 (1 being lowest) based on how well your current or next job will meet your requirements. Now you multiply that score by the ranking score you gave that category to come up with the final score (or actually the sheet does it for you if you use it, and it also automatically updates the graph so you can save it and print it and stick it on your wall forever).
So there you go - one way of thinking about your current job and your future ones. I hope this is helpful and would love to hear from you if you think there are things missing from this - it develops and changes all the time so feedback is very welcome!