How to reduce the risk of your next career move
Thinking about a next step in your career can bring in feelings of uncertainty. Am I good enough for the job? Will the culture of the organisation be a good match? How will it impact my work-life balance?
Experiencing fear and stress in this stage is completely normal.
But, this fear can lead to a ‘freeze mode’ where you’re not making any progress other than scrolling through LinkedIn for hours.
And this inaction is exactly why making a next career move can feel so hard.
The fear doesn’t go away, but trust me you can make it easier for yourself to deal with it.
The magic word here is ‘experiment’.
A career experiment is a great way to validate the career move you’re thinking of. It’s a small action-based project in the ‘real world’. It doesn’t take a lot of time, it’s a low risk activity and most important it’s fun.
- Having an informational interview with someone to learn more about her/his job.
- Doing a weekend course to find out if it sparks interests further.
- Volunteering in a company to find out more about the work environment.
- Joining a project in your company to find out if you’d like to do more with a certain theme.
- Shadowing someone for a couple of hours to explore more about the work.
These experiments give you a lot of valuable insights. You can ask yourself questions like: Does it spark my interest further? Can I become good at the job and what is the earnings potential?
Fail fast and carry on
With career experiments you can easily find out if the move you were thinking of is right for you. And if it isn’t, the experiment gives you information about moving forward in the right direction.
In other words, you can fail fast and carry on.
For example, you’re thinking of becoming a child counsellor and your career experiment is a taster day at one of the charities that offer counselling training. You find it really interesting and because you studied psychology you feel confident that you can become good at it. The next career experiment could be an informational interview to find out more about the job opportunities and earnings potential in a certain charity.
Another outcome could be that after the taster day you’re less enthusiastic and you don’t see child counselling as the right direction for yourself. It may feel like a dead-end, but it’s not. There is a lot of learning here, because you now know why this role isn’t suitable for you and what could be an alternative. Like for example career counselling on secondary schools.
This example makes clear that simple and short experiments reduce the risk of making the wrong decision. Besides that, you learn from them which has a positive effect on the speed of your change. And finally, career experiments make your journey more fun as well, because you meet new people and get inspired in a different way.
So, the choice is yours.
Will you stay behind your computer making all kinds of assumptions about that new job, or will you go out and validate your idea by experimentation?
PS: here you can find more blogs for creating a work life you aspire to.