Do you want the security of the known or adventure into a totally new direction with high potential? Those questions seem to be on the minds of many professionals and managers in dealing the after effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The overriding issue is: Do you want to emerge from your current situation better and stronger?
The answer comes down to four factors: Career goal, opportunity, risk and reward. Before you try to answer these questions, take the time to assess your current job situation, your family concerns, what has been your history in dealing with major change, and your experience in dealing with uncertainty. Those answers may help you assess your readiness and ability to determine the best course of action.
CAREER GOAL: The first question to assess: Is your career goal achievable? If you’re a junior accountant in a major corporation at age 50 and want to be the CFO, that’s just a dream. But if you’re an accountant in a small business and have the credentials and experience, a Controller’s job can be yours, maybe even somewhere else. The factors to consider: Current job level, number of years to retirement, education, special certifications, experiences, supply/demand of the function, and potential to grow.
OPPORTUNITY: Different industries and functions have a distinctive pattern of job prospects. When the economy is down, cost containment is a leading function. When the economy accelerates, marketing and sales take the driver’s seat. The same with diverse industries like consumer products, mining, aerospace, healthcare, and so on. Each has a distinctive pattern that will affect your prospects. Find the niche that parallels your passion and opportunity to excel.
RISK: Whether you stay in place or jump to a new job in a new industry, each decision carries a different kind of risk. The stay-in-place risk is to remain in a job too long without developing new skills and experiences. Or falling behind technologically when better systems are introduced with your competitors. The higher-risk job changer is dealing with a new situation, people and issues that must be overcome with high performance. The new kid on the block is always under the microscope.
REWARD: Rewards come in many different forms. Some are more tangible like money, higher title, more responsibility, greater decision making, or a larger organization. Other rewards are just as important but less visible like greater job satisfaction, the love of what you do, the impact of the things that are important to you, the passion you bring to the work. Those of us who have experienced both of these types of reward at the same time are truly blessed. Deciding which of these elements take priority over the others is a normal but critical judgment. Choose well.
Change during difficult times like now can be career making or career stalling. An honest assessment of where you are, what you need to do and a reassessment of your career goal is critical. Do it now.
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