Career frustration? There’s never been a better time to make your move

We can’t predict the future, but with the economy on the up and the job market improving all the time, 2014 looks like the ideal time to consider that career change you’ve been dreaming about. Whether it’s a move to develop something you already love doing, or a sideways step into an area that you’ve been fantasising about, the encouraging economic picture means that the time is ripe to think seriously about making the move.

Figures released this year by the High Fliers Research Agency show the graduate jobs market at its healthiest since 2007.  The burgeoning confidence which that brings is encouraging Britain’s female professionals to reassess where they are at, and what it is they want from their working lives.

At the same time, professional life is undergoing a seismic culture-change. In fact, from June 30th the government granted all workers the right to request flexible working from their employers. The good news is that where ‘flexible’ was once a euphemism for low grade jobs, it now recognises the reality that intelligent professionals are looking for something more than just a salary check at the end of the month. And, of course, that sort of flexibility is especially important to women.

Taken together, those conditions represent the perfect scenario for anyone tempted by a new challenge.  But whilst the time is ripe for a career change, how can you predict that it will be right move for you?

The big picture is undeniably encouraging, but we all know that on an individual basis uncertainty and the anxiety that goes with it remain serious, confidence-denting obstacles. There are, though, practical steps you can take to overcome those hurdles and to make the most of today’s unique careers environment.

Dare to share: Who knows the way you work better than the people who see you up close every day? Dare to share your dream and see what their reaction is. You don’t need to call a crisis meeting – a casual natter round the coffee machine will do. Watch out for negative as well as green light reactions.

Think neutral: Talking to colleagues can be hugely useful, but it can also be dangerous, so it’s important find someone to bounce your ideas off who won’t be offended or threatened by them. And whilst friends and family are great for encouragement, when it comes to landing the job of your dreamsa neutral perspective is invaluable. Whether you talk to a professional careers advisor or someone more spiritual, a formal dialogue can be a deeply rewarding process. It’s also no bad thing to hear advice coming back from a source you may not have anticipated.

Test your enthusiasm: Fantasies are all well and good, but you need more than wishful thinking to cut it commercially. Meet up with people working in the area you’re considering, and ask them directly what their issues and frustrations are and consider seriously how you would handle them. And don’t forget the web: There are dozens of professional forums that can give you a real insider’s view. Focussing on the downside of your plans will be a useful test of your enthusiasm.

Trust your gut: It’s not the most delicate piece of advice, but it is tried and tested. Despite decades of scientific research on how people make decisions words like ‘instinct’, ‘hunch’, ‘intuition’ – and of course ‘gut’ – are a key part of the story. And that’s because humans are far cleverer than we realise. If you’ve got a voice somewhere inside you insisting that a particular career is calling you, it’s probably right.

If you’re hearing that call, one thing is for sure: there’s never been a better time to act on it.


Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.