Motivation for a career change

This post is inspired by a great piece I read in The Globe and Mail recently, which talked about how to motivate yourself to change your behaviour. After reading it, I was inspired to write this post about how to find motivation for a career change.

There are three A’s to follow:

Awareness

What do you want to change about your career? Do you want to be promoted? Do you want to change careers? Do you feel like you’re struggling to keep up with your workload and want to find a way to be on top of all of your work? It’s hard to make a change in your behaviour -- just like it’s hard to be a parent, to get a university degree, to apply for a new job. It’s going to take work. Actually, it’s going to take a lot more work to change than it does to stay the same. Once you’re aware, then you can start to set up a strategy to make a change. Analyze your poor work behaviour.

Do you always go out for lunch? Could you instead go out once a week, and use the other four days of the week to get ahead on projects, apply for other jobs, or work on your side hustle?

Are you tired by the end of the day, and find the mid-afternoon slump slows you down from being as productive as you’d like? Could you instead adjust your hours so you start an hour earlier?

Analyze your current work situation and make note of your pitfalls, and ways you could find time to make your change.

Accountability

To make a change you need to keep track. Some people find that having an accountability partner--a friend or colleague--who is aware of your goals and can be the person you check in with, is helpful. Others don’t need someone, but they do need a diary, notebook or calendar to chart their progress. The key to sticking to your goal is to know your WHY.  It’s much easier to motivate yourself to work harder to achieve your goal if you’re reminding yourself why you’re trying to get a new job. That’ll help keep you on track when you really want to go out for lunch a second time in one week rather than taking that hour to work on a cover letter.

Action

The first step in taking action is setting your goal. Make sure your goal is something that you can achieve. You can’t control whether you land a new job in two months. You can, however, apply for 10 jobs in two months--with a stellar resume and cover letter. Make sure the goal is realistic.

Once you’ve decided on a one-sentence goal, write it on a sticky note and stick it on your bathroom mirror or your work computer. (Best to keep non-current-job related goals at home, so your boss doesn’t see).

Next, get a calendar and write down a to-do task for each of the next 60 days. Make sure to check off each item as you do it.

Finally, realize that you’re going to hit a patch of quicksand--but you’ve got to find a way to pull yourself out of it. At the beginning you’ll have the excitement of planning for change, but about halfway through you may become discouraged, frustrated and tired of putting in the extra hours. Remind yourself that this stage is part of the process, and you need to keep going. And then give yourself a reward at the end of the timeline!