Are you looking for a new career?
American workers quit their jobs at a record pace in August, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. Around 4.3 million workers left work voluntarily in August, which is by far the most the government has recorded since it started keeping track two decades ago.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans pondering what comes next for your career, check out these 3 tips on how to start searching for a job with meaning and how to play the “long game” to achieve your goals for your new career.
- Place Small Bets
The first step towards long-term career success is figuring out what’s meaningful to you. If that seems overwhelming, look at the things you’re already doing outside of work that you enjoy. That could be listening to podcasts, going to museums, or taking photos.
People tend to hesitate exploring new career areas or make shifts in their career because they’re worried they might fail. The answer is not to avoid trying new things. The answer is to place such a small bet that it is inconsequential, whether it works out or not. What we mean by that is, what is the smallest thing you can do to begin to gather data about new directions?
Here are 4 small steps you can take as part of your new career search.
Set up a lunch with somebody who works in that field so that you can learn more about it and do an informational interview
- Read a memoir by someone in that field
- Subscribe to industry blogs so you become conversant with the terms and players
- Shadow someone at their job for a day to see what their role is like
- Try the 20% rule
After you’ve done your research, try the 20% rule. This is a concept Google uses at the enterprise level, letting employees work for up to one-fifth of their time on experimental projects. That’s where 20% time comes in because it gives you permission to explore your interests and see what works while the stakes are relatively low.
It is far better to take small, concrete actions today, even if you’re not completely sure what the ultimate destination is.
If that seems like too much of a time commitment, try beginning your new career search with even less, it doesn’t literally have to be 20%, it can be 5 or 10 or whatever you can spare, but it’s carving out time on a small and consistent basis to explore an area that you find interesting and that perhaps might go somewhere.
The 20% rule is an example of how a low-stakes wager can pay off. It is a small bet, but if it actually turns out that is going somewhere, if it actually does turn into a new career, spending 20% of your time on a consistent basis, actually can make something real.
- Avoid comparing yourself to others
One of the biggest enemies to long-term thinking is comparing yourself to others.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all metric you can use to measure when you’ve got it made at work. When it comes to things that are so diverse and personal like career success, it can be really damaging because there are a lot of industries and unique paths. Try not to worry too much about things that might not be in your control and probably have nothing to do with your level of talent or ability.
Ultimately, it’s really hard for any of us to tell the difference between are you not successful, or are you not successful yet. it’s very important for us to be able to recognize that this is a distinct possibility and not to give up too soon on areas that may in fact be promising for a new career.