Career Advice

I’m Considering a Career Pivot—Does It Matter if That’s Because I’m Bored With Pandemic Life?

Minda Harts

Photo: Getty Images/Westend61
When you’re stuck in a tough spot at work—you’re *this close* to burnout, you’re wondering whether your job is the right fit, your office culture could use a serious upgrade—who do you turn to? Your mentor, who has years of experience you can rely on? Your mom, who always keeps your best interests in mind? Or your BFF, who is dependable for a killer pep talk? Put all three perspectives in a blender, and you’ve got Good@Work, Well+Good’s career advice column. See All

Question

I’m considering exploring new job opportunities that would actually be more of an entire career pivot than upward move. I’m excited that it would be something different, but is “different” necessarily “good?” How can I know if I’m scratching a real itch to explore something that authentically interests me or I’m more so looking for a career change during the pandemic because I’m exhausted from the monotony of life right now? Because I’m worried that if the answer is latter, I’m gambling my career trajectory on it.

Answer

I truly appreciate this question, and I am excited that you are thinking about what your career options could be going forward. Your situation reminds me of a quote I love by inspirational leader Iyanla Vanzant: “It’s time for you to move, realizing that the thing you are seeking is also seeking you.” One thing we can both agree on is that you are in need of a change in your career, pandemic or not. And, to your point, the origin point of this need for change could indeed be the fatigue you feel from the pandemic. If you’re working from home now like I am, you too know that going from the kitchen to your desk to nowhere else several times a day does get monotonous.

In thinking about your question, I’m reminded of some of the transitions I’ve had in my career. For instance, when I left my nine to five to pursue being an entrepreneur. There were days at my old job when I didn’t think I could make it through another two-hour staff meeting or respond to an overbearing client with the same request in a different way. There were days when I wanted to run out the door and never come back! I was in desperate need of a career transition, and I can only imagine how compounded this feeling might be for many people who are working from home, with minimal activity outside of working hours. And given that last year presented a flurry of forced transitions, and no one can guess what 2021 has in store, taking control by making a change in your career makes a lot of sense.

Sometimes, we think we need to leave our current position, yet, if we have internal conversations with those invested in our success, we might that find what we need is right within reach, without even leaving.

The first step I would recommend is to think about your why. Dig deep into why you really want something different. It’s important to understand where our need for change is coming from. And as you consider what the next steps are for your career, let me pose a question: If your manager offered you a position in a different department or provided you with additional responsibilities, would that help scratch this need for change?

The reason I bring it up is that sometimes, we think we need to leave our current position, yet, if we have internal conversations with those invested in our success, we might find that what we need is right within reach, without even leaving. So the real question is, are you just bored with your current workload, or could it be that you need a stretch assignment to help ignite your passion? Or is it really a new job you want?

My second piece of advice is to give yourself permission to explore what your career interests might be if you uproot and take the leap into an entirely new career. This might look like networking with people who are in the industry you are considering. Ask them questions about their role, compensation, and upward mobility. You probably don’t want to make any major decisions without all of the necessary information to help you make an informed career choice. If you feel good about the information you are gathering, work on tailoring your resume to fit your new desired industry, which you can do by way of personal research or by hiring a resume writer.

Lastly, make sure you aren’t getting caught up in the “New Year, New Everything” hype. Make sure your next steps are based in your reality. Even if it seems like everyone you know is finding a new job or moving to a new state, don’t feel like you have to compete with anyone. Your life is unique, and it requires you to take steps that only you can take that benefit your future.

I’ve made a few career transitions in my career, and when I was finally able to leave my day job, I had an action plan in place to help ensure I’d be successful. I spoke to a lot of people and gathered as much information as I could. So, if you are still thinking about making a career transition into your own business or another company/organization, preparation is essential. Remind yourself of your why, and make sure you have a plan that you can implement. And, when that plan doesn’t go exactly how you, well, planned, please remember to be patient with yourself. May your next transition greet you with open arms.

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