Considering a Career Transition?  Questions to Help You Ponder Your Next Move

By Rachel Verlik, ACC

Changing jobs, let alone careers, can be a challenging and frustrating time.  It is fraught with many emotions, with considerations of impact to self and family, time, money, commute, stock options, fulfillment, etc.  There are generally many competing decision points and emotions at play.  As an executive coach, I often connect with those who are looking to make a job or career transition.  In doing so, I take a holistic approach at what career means to them and how it fits into their overall life.   Below are some questions I utilize to help ground clients when those decisions become tough and clouded.

What am I REALLY searching for in a new role?

Often, what we are really searching for may not be served by a new job or field.  I once switched jobs because I thought I wanted to be in a different field.  I arrived to the new job and realized within the first month that while switching fields was indeed necessary and fulfilling, switching organizations was becoming even more imperative.  So ask yourself:  are you running from your old job/career or running TO a new one? Get clear on that distinction for yourself.  Dig deep. Find out what the real, powerful “why” is that is pushing you to a career transition.   You may find out what you are looking for has nothing to do with career or employment at all.

How does this new opportunity align with my values?

You may ask, “Why does this matter?  I just need a job to make money to support myself and my family.”   In fact, finding employment that is in alignment with your top values is incredibly important.  It keeps you engaged and creative and provides a much higher chance of being in a state of flow and productivity.   Imagine waking up each morning loving the work you get to do that day and that is in alignment to your belief system!  When you are clear on what your top values are, you can hold career decisions against that criteria to see where there may be alignment (or not).

Who can hold me accountable to my goals when decisions get hard?

Without fail, decisions related to switching jobs and careers can get really murky, really fast.   Old paradigms and gremlins pop us – especially as it relates to money. Understand that money has energy and a power all its own – consider what money really means to you and how that plays into your decision-making.

Find someone who can help sort through your thoughts and hold you accountable to what really matters to you –whether that is an increased income, a better commute, or a role that is 100% in alignment with your passions. It can be a coach, a friend, a spouse, a clergy member, or your sister.  Having someone to hear you out, support you, have your best intentions at heart AND to tell you when you are making decisions not in alignment with your desires is priceless.

What do I want vs. what do others want for me?

Often, we can get caught up in the chase of promotion, rank, or status, not recognizing that we ourselves really don’t want it.  It’s what we are “supposed” to do, not what we feel is best suited for us.

Case in point – I was once being groomed for an executive leadership role.  I went through all the necessary leadership and executive training, was doing all the “right” things, and gaining exposure to the top leadership in the organization. Yet one day, I realized “Hey, wait.  This is what my bosses want for me, not what I want for myself.”  That realization was a gift and put me on a much different – and much more personally rewarding! – path.     Had I not paused to consider if I wanted that path, I would be missing out on work that I feel is much more aligned to my life’s calling and values.

Of course, these questions just scratch the surface when considering a career transition.  But identifying your “powerful why” – the real why behind this transition, the deep longing or wish that will help you move beyond fear and old paradigms to bring forth new options- will be your true grounding and north star throughout the career transition process.


To discuss these issues with Rachel yourself, please connect with her HERE.