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A 4-Step Framework To Make A Career Change

Written by: Ricardo Brito, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Ricardo Brito

Planning our next career step can sometimes feel intimidating. We might think the future is too big and uncertain, or we're overwhelmed by the many routes we could take. This uncertainty can be paralyzing and discourages us from delving into self-discovery. But no matter our situation, there's a technique I've created to help kickstart this journey.


Man in eye glasses looking up the ceiling

When we look at our professional future it can feel overwhelmingly empty of options or overloaded with endless opportunities. In both scenarios, it can be tough to pinpoint where to start figuring out what we desire, how we envision it, and the ways we can achieve it. Tackling that huge pile of potentials and thoughts can become overwhelming, often leaving us completely immobilized. Likewise, lacking even a hint of what our possible futures may hold can discourage us from starting to explore.


In my coaching, I've found that starting with these four questions (in any order) can provide a solid framework to guide your exploration. These questions will serve to either help you focus or create a starting point for your quest.


1. What's the setup and format I want?


The initial step in a career shift involves clarifying your preferred work model and work lifestyle. Consider questions about the work setting, the method of work, and your collaborators. Evaluate whether you prefer traditional employment or a more autonomous or balanced route. Your work landscape preference - remote, hybrid, or in-person - is also pivotal, given recent shifts in workforce trends.


Assess your need for flexibility and the type of organization you'd join - a startup, non-profit, multinational, or family business. Consider their unique cultures and how they can impact your job satisfaction. Finally, think about your ideal work relationships and whether you see yourself as part of a team or an individual contributor. Being honest with these preferences can steer your career path effectively.


Gaining a clear understanding of your work lifestyle preferences, acts as a guide, directing you to those professional opportunities that align with your personal values and passions. It serves as a career filter, helping to streamline your choice of roles, save time and energy, and ensure your professional journey is personally rewarding and fulfilling.


2. What's the content of my work and which topics do I want to be part of?

Have you ever found yourself so involved in a task or project that everything else fades into the background? When we think about changing careers, it's this kind of passion we want to tap into. What elements of work truly fires you up? Does the concept of a particular industry excite you?


A client of mine, from my New Futures Program, was seeking to transition from a product management role into education. The first step involved defining what 'education' meant to him, and what it could look like. We explored formats to deliver education, whether through traditional classroom teaching, one-on-one tutoring, writing educational content, or leveraging online platforms. This encouraged him to consider a range of options that might align with his passion and professional objectives.


On a different note, maybe you're drawn to the hands-on craftsmanship of more physical work after years of mental exertion. If that's the case, what exactly lures you in? Is it the mastery of a craft or the sheer display of strength and power that catches your interest?


These questions may seem daunting, but they're necessary for introspection if you want to discover your true 'what's next.' Remember, the more specific you are about what it is that you're striving for, the easier it will be for you to chart the course to reach it.


3. What's the role I want to have and which impact do I want to create?


Our roles in the world of work are as varied as we are as individuals. For some, the dream may be to put in the hours alone as a writer, a coder, or an artist, creating something independently. On the other hand, you may be craving more connection, envisioning yourself in a team-driven setting, or even leading a team yourself.


Or perhaps you aspire to be a connector in your line of work, bridging gaps, encouraging partnerships, or fostering communities. There are those who find themselves as resident experts, passionately deep-diving into particular subject matter. Lastly, you might be the kind who wants to build something from scratch and take on all kinds of responsibility.


They all differ in what kind of impact they have. Some significantly influence our personal lives, such as impacting mostly ourselves or a close group of people. Other roles influence entire teams or organizations, contributing to the collective success of an organization, and there are roles that affect communities and potentially shape society.


It's important to consider the interconnectedness of roles and the scale of their impact, so we can better navigate toward a desired career path.


4. In which ways does this career change serve my life?


If you're pondering over "what's next" in your career, chances are you're seeking a transformative shift in life. Maybe you feel like I did a few years ago.

This change can lead you in a new direction, influence your personal goals, and uplift your quality of life. Our jobs are just one part of the bigger picture of ourselves.' For that reason, it's important to understand how this change aligns with your overall life goals, and what it should bring.


Does this career shift pave the way for an increased income, or does it promise you a more harmonious work-life balance? Is it the stepping stone to a lifestyle you've always aspired to live, to build a family or perhaps it's the chance to finally immerse yourself in work that deeply resonates with you and feels meaningful?


This process is very personal, pushing you to tune in to your desires and aspirations. Your reasons for wanting a career transition are uniquely yours, and what you hope to gain from it should reflect your personal values and dreams. So dare to interrogate yourself—how exactly does this change bolster your life?


Be honest in seeking clarity about what you want from this change – roles, impact, topics, they're all crucial. But, don't just skim the surface. Launch into a deeper exploration of the profound ways in which this change can serve your life in its entirety. Embrace the journey of self-discovery—a journey that is, indeed, a work-in-progress but that will lead you to your "what's next" in the world of work.

Follow me on LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

Ricardo Brito Brainz Magazine

Ricardo Brito, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Ricardo Brito is not just a work and life coach. He is someone who stands by your side as you navigate your professional development, aiding in your discovery of new paths and opportunities while fostering a healthier relationship with work. His mission is simple: help you discover the path to your 'what's next' in the world of work.



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