“Should I change jobs” is a question no one wants to ask but everyone thinks about at some point, usually late at night, when you’re still filling out paperwork rather than lying down next to a loved one and going to sleep. Maybe you wanted to be a trail-guide but ended up as an account executive, a carpenter but are stuck lawyering, and sometimes when you look in the mirror, you don’t even recognize yourself… Or maybe not.

Whether you’re lost in a deep existential crisis or just feel that your skillset is being under-utilized, deciding whether to take the plunge and find something new is a big question with a lot of variables. From the job market (pretty terrible) to your current work environment, what your ambitions are, etc., lots of considerations have to be made. But that shouldn’t scare you away. Lots of professionals (about 30%) transition jobs, even industries, each year, and if you really want, you can to.


So, Should You Change Jobs?

That’s the million dollar question isn’t ? Well, ask yourself this:

  • Have you lost the passion to go to work?
  • Are you undervalued?
  • Is your work/life balance off?
  • Are you unhappy at work?
  • Do you hate your colleagues?
  • Are your skills going untapped?

According to Forbes, if you’re experiencing two or more of the above, it’s time for a change. I know it’s somewhat of a cliché in this day and age but it’s true that you’re not going to lie on your deathbed wishing you’d worked more, especially at a job you hate.

But what do you do from there? Once you’ve decided you need to make the transition, what are the next steps?

Once You’ve Decided to Leave, Start Making Plans

This should come as no shock to you, but deciding to leave a job shouldn’t be a quick thing, like, for example, you decide on Monday and Tuesday is your last day. Only in the most extreme circumstances—think violence, sexual harassment, extreme degradation—is it appropriate to make such a quick exit. Instead, you’ll want to sit on your decision for a few weeks, and then put in your two-weeks notice. This gives you time to collect and warm up your contacts and, more importantly, to decide what you want to be when you grow up.

Things to Consider When Deciding on a New Career

  • Do you want to stay in the same industry? If not, what other industries might your skills transfer to?
  • What did you hate about your last job? Make a “must-have” list to help guide your decision-making.
  • Do you want to work in a large, corporate environment or for a startup? A for-profit or a non-profit business? Select two that sound the most interesting to you: a first choice and a backup. You’ve earned the right to want to work where you work.
  • What industries do your closest contacts work in? For which businesses? Because an overwhelming number of jobs are gotten through connections, setting your sites on a few companies with whom you have contacts is a smart move.

After thinking through these four points, you’ll likely have a good idea of where you want to get started and where you want to land.

From here, it’ll take some keen leveraging of your contacts, but with persistence, you’ll be on the road to a more fulfilling career. Just be sure that you’ve made a cautious decision, given yourself a nice runway, and have started working your contacts well in advance. I’d tell you to get your resume and LinkedIn together but, well, you’re a professional, and I trust you already know that.

Also, when changing jobs, it’s important to be able to access all your professional contacts. Use the CircleBack app for iOS or Android to keep all your contacts and even protect them against loss from the inevitable corporate phone wipe.