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What Does Career Change Mean For You?

Written by: Britt-Mari Sykes, 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 Britt-Mari Sykes

Career change is the most frequent topic of conversation I have with my clients. A client may not know what a career change will look like and may not know what steps should be taken toward that change, but they often know what they want to feel and experience.

A young entrepreneur at her place of work.

The desire for change is experienced differently from person to person. This also applies to the strategies adopted to bring about change. These will differ depending on individual contexts, relevance, appropriateness, skills and experiences of work and career, stage of life, expectations and aspirations for work and career, and the current job market.

Personalizing the meaning of career change

An initial first step is getting to the root of an individual’s desire for change and personalizing it: “What does change mean for you”?

Let’s look at 7 examples:

  • A desire for change might be precipitated by the feeling of being “stuck” in your work or career. Feeling stuck and wanting some kind of change to resolve that feeling is quite common. Change might entail an acknowledgment of this feeling and an openness to conversation that facilitates a better understanding of what you are experiencing. Feeling stuck may not necessarily mean subsequent steps toward a career change. Sometimes conversation, clarity and perspective are enough to help you make personal adjustments within your current career and work environment that alleviate the feeling of being “stuck”.

  • Change might mean a change in attitude and a re-prioritizing of what work and career mean to you at this stage in your life. Our personal attitude towards work and career moves and shifts throughout our working lives. Our relationship with work and career changes over time. Questions that arise about our career lives, questions we may be grappling with, could well be drawing our attention to this natural movement and its meaning for us. Once again, this does not necessarily indicate immediate steps toward a career change but it can lead to new insights and perspectives that help us navigate movement and respond to changes to the meaning of work and career.

  • Change might be the realization that you have outgrown a specific role. By exploring this realization, you start to look for possibilities within your current work environment for further growth and expansion. Acknowledging the experience of movement in our career lives can motivate us to seek out new opportunities, new learning, new skills, and/or new experiences. Movement (however that is personally experienced and defined) in our careers is not only inevitable, but also vital to stay engaged, connected, and feeling fulfilled.

  • Change might mean creating better boundaries between your work life and other areas of your life to maintain your health and well-being. Increasing levels of unmanageable stress and burnout are all around us. Even work we find fulfilling is not necessarily immune to stress and burnout. Our work lives change, as do other areas of our lives, all of which necessitate continuous monitoring, maintenance, and adjustment. The boundaries we put in place at one stage of our career life may not be appropriate at another stage. Adjusting our boundaries in concert with the movement of our lives and careers keeps us connected to our well-being and acknowledges the value of the different areas of our lives.

  • Change might mean moving into a very different role or taking on different responsibilities within your same work environment. Our skills, experiences, expertise, and value expand throughout our lives. At different stages of our careers, we want opportunities that align with these changes. This alignment keeps us engaged in our work, connected to our work environments, and experiencing fulfillment through our development AND our contributions.

  • Change might mean a move to a different company, organization, or maybe even a different geographical location, but maintaining a similar role and career trajectory. Our desire to align our growth with different responsibilities and experiences may lead us to seek out opportunities in new environments and new collaborations with different colleagues or teams.

  • Change might mean embarking on a completely different career path and changing career “identities”. Having more than one career in a lifetime is now both “normal”, and a reflection of the ever-changing job market. These realities also have us rethinking what a career identity is, and how flexible a term it is. Where once a career identity was associated with one profession, job title, or role, it is now a far more personal reflection of the unique characteristics of our career lives, what we have experienced in the world of work, and how we define that identity based on how we have navigated career change(s).

However “change” may be experienced, reflected upon, and personally defined, the key is to gather information and gain clarity long before any strategy for change is put in place if indeed a strategy is required.

Take a step back, pause for a moment and reflect:

  • Acknowledge the different feelings you are experiencing around the topic of change. What are you experiencing and what stands out most?

  • Identify the changes you are seeking. Can you identify why you are seeking these specific changes? What is personally meaningful about these changes?

  • Identify what further information you need. What can be researched? Who could you reach out to for an information meeting?

  • What would change feel like? What possibilities would change bring?

  • What can you let go of to facilitate change?

  • What personal strengths and/or resilience can you rely on during a period of change? What other supports do you have around you?

Exploring a career change? Career Counselling can help at any stage of your career life. Contact me here for more information or to book a consultation with Canvas Career Counselling.

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

Britt-Mari Sykes Brainz Magazine

Britt-Mari Sykes, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Britt-Mari Sykes Ph.D. is a Career Counsellor and founder of CANVAS Career Counselling working remotely with clients across Canada. Britt-Mari offers a reflective and strategic process to clients, one that integrates their lived experiences, values, and aspirations. This experiential approach to career counselling helps clients gain greater clarity and perspective and design practical steps towards a more meaningful relationship with work and career.



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