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At each stage of your life you’ll be faced with career decisions to make that reflect your situation and goals – flexibility, family, pay, or the opportunity to progress to name a few. But what if your role is no longer challenging you; is it really in your best interest to stay? Whether you’re looking for a change in industry, taking the next step up or building your arsenal, individual short or long term career goals come into play – but so too does your happiness.

You could be dead set on moving, sitting on the fence or loyal to your employer to the very end; either way it’s worth taking a step back and evaluating why you’re in that position and if it’s going to help you get to where you want to be. Heck, you may not even know where the next step is, but do you have the resources and opportunities available to you when you are ready?

If you were to sit down and map out your career goals, how would your current position place you in achieving them? You spend most of your week in the working world, so job satisfaction is a key to overall wellbeing. After all, it’s not just you your job affects. How you feel about your job impacts on your relationships, it radiates from you as soon as you step in the door.

There are many reasons why we hold off from jumping into the unknown. Loyalty to our boss, fear or waiting in hope that an employer delivers on the promises they made to you. You know, the pay rise, the promotion, or the assurance that you’ll only need to fill this role for a few weeks on top of your existing workload. Hmm, are they really going to follow through?

And then there’s the waiting game. Knowing what role you’re after and the industry you want to be in is both a blessing and a curse. Roles can be few and far between, and even more frustrating is when you do get that opportunity and ace the interview, only to find out you’ve missed the mark by being either too senior or too junior. Seriously?!! It’s hard to pick yourself up after taking a knock to your confidence, but what else is there to do when you’re career-driven?

The key is to remain proactive. Get the negativity out of your system (yes that can include having a mini pity-party) and work out what your next move is. Get involved with networking groups to raise your profile and broaden your networks. What coffee meetings do you need to set up? Who do you need to be introduced to? How can you raise your profile in the industry – can you volunteer your time or leverage social media to your advantage?

Pros and cons: weighing up the move
Taking both your short and long term goals into consideration, weigh up what factors are crucial for you to have in your job, what you do and don’t like about your current position and what sacrifices you’re ready to make. Depending on what matters to you most, you may consider factors such as opportunities for growth, pay and flexibility. How does your current employer stack up? Are your current conditions in line with your goals?

And if there is something you don’t like about your job or the work culture, what does your boss have to say about it? Nothing will be achieved waiting in silence hoping your workload will lessen or you’ll get that promotion if you don’t speak up. When you have found the courage to voice your concerns or queries, the answers given will hopefully spell out to you what your future prospects look like at your current organisation.

How is your CV looking?
You never know when you’ll need to send out your CV, so make it a habit to review and update it every few months. If you are looking, are there any areas you think need more attention to strengthen your experience? It could be an idea to volunteer your time with an organisation or attend courses to build up your experience.

Your LinkedIn profile is just as important to keep looking fresh. Simple steps for getting it up to scratch could include ensuring your profile photo is crystal clear and professional, setting aside time in your diary each week to engage with your network or even sharing stand out articles relevant to your industry.

Never burn your bridges
You may have already started the job-hunting process, but be sure to keep your plans confidential until an opportunity is set in stone, or more aptly, signed on the dotted line. And while you may have a job offer lined up (and its taking all your strength not to mic-drop and walk out), your contacts will remain a valuable network and even more so is maintaining your reputation. If you’re staying within the same industry, chances are you may come across your past employers.

So what now?
It’s a tough one, but you’ll need to be straight up and ask yourself “are things really going to change for the better?” Having a conversation with someone trusted who can provide you with a neutral opinion could be a good chance to challenge and test your thinking. Before rushing to make your decision, take the time to evaluate your options – what do you really enjoy doing, what does your ideal organisation and team look like? An organisation’s values should be in-line with your own.

Most of all, during such a challenging time it’s important to find something that’ll help you manage the stress and keep your chin up.

What’s your next move going to be?

Rachel is a Business Development Coordinator with a background in professional services. Having held various in-house communications and marketing roles which sees her work alongside a variety of stakeholders, Rachel understands best practice when engaging in an industry where time is quite literally money.

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