That’s four million people who woke up the next day wondering, “What do I do next?”
What’s even more interesting is that April was not an anomaly. It follows a trend of the months before where millions and millions of people simply quit, walking away from their jobs.
At the same time, we’re noticing another trend. Some folks who quit their jobs are discovering the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Many of them are returning to their former employers.
All of this reinforces how tricky a career change can be. A decision like this involves risk, emotions and, of course, money. It’s why I want to offer three questions to think through if you’re considering a change like this.
Think of these questions as a check-list helping you manage the risk of the decision. We can’t eliminate risk but we can reduce it. Sometimes, the riskiest decision isn’t to leave. Sometimes, the riskiest decision is to stay.
Who can I talk to that can help me?
There’s a Biblical principle that says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.” For a number of years now, I have had a personal board of advisors who have advised me on both the big and small decisions in my life. It’s a group of four older men (and if they’re reading this, MUCH older) who I look up to and respect.
When I made the decision to leave Gwinnett Church, a church I helped start back in 2011, my advisors were a part of that journey. In fact, it was an 18-month decision-making process that they were involved with the entire time.
Additionally, the old adage is true –> who you know is often more important than what you know. One of the best strategies you can implement while contemplating or being in a career change is to meet with people and ask for their counsel. “What would you do if you were me?” is a great question to ask folks like this, especially those who are further along in life.
What is my biggest risk?
Often, our biggest risk is money followed closely by insurance. We’ve got to have insurance, right? In America, it’s the law. But these realities can often become handcuffs.
For example, when I talk to people about this and the topic of money comes up, I’ll ask, “If you were to walk away from your job today, how much of a financial runway do you have?” Two weeks? Three months? Six months? Often, my question is met with a blank stare and eventually with “I don’t know.”
This lack of clarity is a breeding ground for fear. It’s why so many people hang on to certainty while also allowing their soul to be crushed at a job they hate.
Let’s not let this be our story. Our first step is to define our risk reality. For some, money isn’t the biggest issue. They aren’t clear on what their strengths are, or they aren’t sure about how to launch their dream job. All of this is under the banner of reducing and managing the risk of a career change.
It’s why I’ve created a free assessment called the Career Risk Calculator. This brief assessment will give you a red, yellow or green light with specific action items on how to take next steps. Did I mention it’s free? Simply visit my website, JeffHenderson.com
Am I moving toward something or away from something?
I have a hunch that the reason people return to a job they left is they were running from something versus moving toward a new, compelling vision. When they discover there are problems in the new job too, they often return to the familiar, even if it was dysfunctional.
The way to distinguish between the two is reflecting of which emotion are you feeling more: frustration or excitement?
- Are you more frustrated over your current situation?
- Or, are you more excited about the potential of what’s next?
This takes some honest, self-reflection but whatever you find, the best next step is to keep moving. How can you reduce the frustration and ramp up the excitement?
Whether you’re among the four million people in April who made a career change or not, the truth for all of us is that what’s next is on the way. Life is a collection of seasons and you’re in one right now.
One of the best gifts you can give yourself is to start preparing for that next season. Questions like these can help you prepare. As the old adage says, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”
Take a step toward that by answering these three questions today. It might just be one pivotal step toward what’s next.
How To Use This Book
- Ask everyone in your church if they know someone who is currently trying to figure out what to do next.
- Create an email list out of this group.
- Send them the link to the Career Risk Assessment and ask them to take the assessment.
- Create small group discussions going through each chapter of the book.
- Create a business breakfast inviting everyone to a networking event.