Finding yourself at a career crossroads can be scary – it often means that change is looming around the corner. Whether you’re deciding to change roles, firms or industries altogether, there are a lot of decisions to make when altering career paths. So what do you do at career crossroads? Throughout this article, we will discuss 5 actionable steps you can take to help you make the best decisions for yourself and your career.
Identify what you want
Often when we’re at a career crossroads, the primary issue is that we don’t know what we want. On the surface, figuring out what you want from your career sounds simple enough. But in reality, it’s much more complex. It’s usually a process of trial of error – understanding what you don’t want to identify what you do want. A great starting point is to write down all the pros and cons of your current job. What do you enjoy? What would you change? Once you understand what you dislike about your current role (whether that be an overbearing manager or the job itself), you can then start work on resolving those issues.
Essential read: How to kick-start your career when you’ve got stuck
Take charge of your professional development
If you’re not feeling challenged or fulfilled in your current role, perhaps it’s time to diversify and expand upon your skillset. Taking control of your self-development is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself and your career. By furthering your education and experience, not only are you demonstrating initiative to current and prospective employers, but you’re also increasing your value as an employee. As a result, you’re more likely to be considered for specialised projects, opportunities and promotions – and in the meantime, you’ll have added another valuable string to your bow.
We have a great course in our subscriber-only site Progress to Partner called “How to Truly Commit to Moving your Career Forward”. It’s a game-changer and will get you focussed and help you to create the time and space to work a little on your career plan every.single.week.
Evaluate your strengths, weaknesses and motivations
‘How do you make a decision at a career crossroads?’ This question may seem deeply complicated. After all, your career is built upon much more than your title or job description. It’s about your colleagues, your reputation, your loyalty (and, of course, your income). So, how do you make a decision at a career crossroads?
To start, we recommend outlining your strengths and weaknesses – what motivates you? What are you passionate about? Taking inventory of your strengths and weaknesses can help guide your career decisions, both big and small. For example, if you’re skilled and passionate about a certain part of your job or a certain niche, you could work towards becoming a specialist in that area. The aim is to identify what you enjoy and where your skills lie. Once you understand those two things, you can start making decisions that will fulfil you both personally and professionally.
If you’re struggling to pinpoint why you’re feeling unfulfilled at work and are no closer to answering the question, ‘what do you do at career crossroads?’, we suggest seeking advice from a coach or mentor. Or, if that isn’t an option, ask your friends and family. An outside perspective can shine a different light on your career, helping you identify what’s missing from your current role and, in turn, helping to piece together your future career plans. Remember, not everyone will share the same opinions – sometimes, you have to go with your gut. But what matters is they all want what’s best for you.
Usually, when we feel unfulfilled in our careers, it’s because we feel stagnant. Whether you’re looking to progress in your current firm or you’re ready to move onto something new – it all starts with one small step. So, speak to your manager about development opportunities or research alternative options. Remember, every big career change is the sum of many incremental steps. Though seemingly small, it’s these decisions that will help you take decisive action when you’re at a career crossroads. If you want to take action…
We have a great course in our subscriber-only site Progress to Partner called How to put together a development plan to achieve your career goals. The course gives you the structure, clarity, and guidance to gain the skills, knowledge, mindset, and experience to take your career to the next stage or level – whatever you want that to be.
Just take one step forward
The fear of making career decisions can feel paralysing, but once you realise it’s all a matter of one small step after another (one course, one conversation, one pro-con list etc), you’ll see with enough grit and determination, you can break out of your rut and start achieving any and all of your career goals.
Need more help with moving your career forward?
To see the whole recording and complete the “how to truly commit to moving your career forward” self-study course, along with my 30 other career-enhancing videos, join my subscriber-only site Progress to Partner You’ll also get access to my self-study courses including The Go-To Expert, Creating A Cast-Iron Business Case for Partner, How To Be On Your A-Game Every Day and over 15 years of training and resources supporting people’s career progression in practice bundled into a single location.