This is the time of year when we often think about change–whether to make one and, if so, what. If you’ve been considering the possibility of a change with regard to your job or career, is something holding you back or standing in your way?
To be fair, I don’t think anyone says that change is easy. It’s often mildly uncomfortable and can be hugely intimidating, and few of us leap eagerly into it. But you might be asking yourself whether you’re really ready to do it and how important it is to your career progress.
If you’re stuck in a job situation that has stalled your career, you do need to ask yourself what the consequences are of not making a significant change. For instance, if there’s no potential for improvement as the situation now stands–at least, not unless you can take some clear action to achieve that–your choices are probably not happy ones. Staying where you are will at best maintain the unsatisfactory status quo and involves the risk of long-term career damage, but leaving also involves some risk and requires actions you might not be ready for yet. How big a risk are you prepared for?
It might be extreme to say “not changing is fatal,” but it does have the potential for major difficulties. You’ll need to look at what you stand to lose, both emotionally and financially, whether you decide to stay or leave. If your assessment comes down clearly on the side of higher risk from one choice or the other, that can be your guide. How much do you stand to lose by making a change–or by not making it? Ask yourself, what’s the worst that can happen if I make this change–or don’t? (This is not a new concept, but you might have forgotten about it or avoided considering it.)
I’m basically an optimist, so I prefer to look at change from a more positive standpoint. In other words, not just based on what I stand to lose. I want to ask myself: What can I gain by initiating the change that will make it really worth my while to put out the necessary effort and take the unavoidable, calculated risks associated with it?
Once you’ve decided that you’re going to make a substantial change with regard to your professional growth, you need to determine when and how that should take place. To do this, you can start with some basic steps:
Get started on the change! Nothing worth mentioning will happen until, and unless, you do.
To quote a woman named Susan Rice, from her 2010 Stanford University commencement address, “If you want change, you have to make it. If we want progress, we have to drive it.”