Considering a Career Change? Tips for Taking a Big Leap

A conversation with career coach Ken Coleman
By Barbara Danza
Barbara Danza
Barbara Danza
writer
Barbara Danza is a mom of two, an MBA, a beach lover, and a kid at heart. Here, diving into the challenges and opportunities of parenting in the modern age. Particularly interested in the many educational options available to families today, the renewed appreciation of simplicity in kids’ lives, the benefits of family travel, and the importance of family life in today’s society.
November 16, 2021 Updated: November 16, 2021

One of the many unexpected consequences of the pandemic and resulting public health measures is a reevaluation of one’s work. Many are realigning their careers, goals, and lives and are taking a big leap in a different direction.

Just in time for what some are dubbing “The Great Resignation,” career coach Ken Coleman is releasing his new book “From Paycheck to Purpose: The Clear Path to Doing Work You Love.” I asked his advice on making a job change during these times. Here’s what he said.

Epoch Times Photo
Career expert Ken Coleman. (Courtesy of Ken Coleman)

The Epoch Times: Many people are rethinking their careers right now. How do you know it’s time to make a change?

Ken Coleman: There are two questions to ask yourself: “Should I leave?” and “Can I leave?” 

Let’s take “Should I leave?” first. If your current job doesn’t have you on the path toward the future you want then, yes, you should leave. You owe it to yourself to make a change. If you’re in a toxic environment under bad leadership and it’s affecting your well-being then, yes, you should leave. Are you bored out of your mind? Yes? Leave! You were created to fill a unique role and you will be happiest in your work when you fill that role. 

Now ask yourself, “Can I leave?” I strongly encourage people to make sure they have the next job before making a move. Unless you can afford a potentially lengthy gap between jobs, be patient. You don’t want to hurt yourself or your family financially. 

The Epoch Times: Once you decide you want to make a career change, what steps should you take to make a successful transition?

Mr. Coleman: First, resign from your current position with class and integrity. Tell your leader before anyone else, and make a plan to help them after you’re gone. Make sure you know your new industry and company inside and out. You’ve got to do your homework. When you start your new job, ask a ton of questions and take a lot of notes. Learn the company culture and structure. Keep your lunch plans open so you can connect with other team members. Focus on relationships. Get to know your teammates and your leader. You now share the mission, and you want to communicate that you’re all in.

The Epoch Times: Some people know they are dissatisfied with their jobs but don’t know what work would bring them satisfaction. How can they determine what career is best for them?

Mr. Coleman: Great question! What you’re talking about is someone finding their sweet spot. You can do that by asking yourself a series of questions. I recommend journaling or making a list of whatever comes to mind:

What are some of my natural talents?

Of those talents, which gives me energy and makes me feel alive?

What specific group of people would I most love to help?

What problem do I want to solve for that group of people?

What solutions can I provide?

When you sit down to reflect on these questions, you’ll notice patterns appear. Pay attention to those patterns because they’re indicators of what your dream job could be.

My Career Clarity Guide has helped thousands of people across America get unstuck. This downloadable guide will help you understand who you are so you can take bold steps toward your dream job.

The Epoch Times: What are some of the most common mistakes people make when making significant career changes?

Mr. Coleman: Not doing the research and not connecting with the right people who can help you. The last thing you want when you’re thinking about a career change is to end up in a new job you equally hate. Make sure you know enough about the industry and role you want to pursue, and don’t let pride or the fear of rejection stop you from connecting with people inside your circle and beyond.

Your goal should be to find a position that allows you to work in your sweet spot—the intersection of what you do best, what you love to do most, and the results that matter to you.

The Epoch Times: There are good and bad aspects to any work, of course. How do you know when you’ve found the right path for yourself?

Mr. Coleman: Exactly. We’re not talking about seeing unicorns and rainbows at the office. We’re talking about finding the right role, for the right pay, in the right environment, at the right timing. That’s a career grand slam, and it’s entirely within your reach. 

The Epoch Times: The world has been through some major shifts. Do you believe this is a good time to consider a big career leap?

Mr. Coleman: It’s the best time! 

More than 4 million people left their jobs in August, and the trend is expected to continue into the new year. The pandemic gave people space to consider what they do, where they do it, and whether it’s actually what they want to be doing. It’s given people pause for perspective. 

Now is the time to get clear, get qualified, get connected, and get started. Work that you love and accomplishing results that matter isn’t a pipe dream.   

Epoch Times Photo
“From Paycheck to Purpose: The Clear Path to Doing Work You Love” by Ken Coleman. (Ramsey Press, 2021)
Barbara Danza
Barbara Danza is a mom of two, an MBA, a beach lover, and a kid at heart. Here, diving into the challenges and opportunities of parenting in the modern age. Particularly interested in the many educational options available to families today, the renewed appreciation of simplicity in kids’ lives, the benefits of family travel, and the importance of family life in today’s society.