As the “Great Resignation” continues, quit rates hold steady: 4.4 million Americans put in their two-week notices in February 2022. This number is only slightly lower than November 2021’s record high. After seeing this data, you might be wondering, “Is now a good time for me to switch jobs, too?” If you’re entertaining the idea of changing things up, the answer is probably “yes.”
Career shifts can be daunting; there are new skills to learn, people to meet, and responsibilities to take on. However, the risk is usually worth the reward. Why not pursue a job you find fulfilling? Your career has a massive impact on the way you view yourself, so it’s important to find a role that genuinely brings you joy and gives you a sense of meaning.
When it comes to finding new opportunities, you’re not limited to traditional job boards, Google searches, or LinkedIn posts (although these can still be valuable resources). Career growth opportunities come in all shapes and sizes — even within the same industry or organization. With companies’ priorities and goals changing in response to the “Great Resignation,” now is one of the best times to look for a new position. Here’s how:
1. Do some soul-searching.
Before you start, take time to review your career and life goals. As Canadian educator Laurence J. Peter put it: “If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.”
Examine where you are in life. Are you where you thought you’d be? Do your goals still align with your current career path? Once you’ve evaluated where you’re at, talk to a trusted friend or mentor who knows your strengths. They can help you refresh or pinpoint your ambitions. Make sure your goals are challenging, actionable, measurable, and realistic.
2. Remain open-minded.
By staying open-minded, you set yourself up for success when nontraditional or surprising opportunities come your way. For instance, let’s say a recruiter or old coworker reaches out to you on LinkedIn for a role you’ve never considered. If there’s a chance it could help you reach your overarching life and career goals, you should explore it!
Tori Gillespie, healthcare market director of operations at Ross & Baruzzini, recommends engaging in any conversations regarding the new opportunity. “Refrain from saying ‘no’ until you really have evaluated the opportunity,” she says. “You should not be afraid if something takes you outside of your comfort zone. With every challenge, there is an opportunity for growth. If there is something you are not sure about, ask questions. There’s nothing wrong with weighing the pros and cons. Anytime I am unsure of an opportunity, I discuss it with my advocate and personal board of directors. I like to get feedback from others to see things from a different perspective and view.”
3. Don’t sell yourself short.
Many people struggle with talking about themselves. But to find new opportunities, you have to know your worth and give appropriate credit to your accomplishments. Research shows that meaningful praise boosts engagement and performance. So, by giving yourself the credit you deserve, you’ll set yourself up to continue performing well in the future.
“Pumping yourself up after a big win can feel a little awkward,” explains writer and researcher Micaela Marini Higgs. “Despite that awkwardness, getting credit for your work gives your brain good feelings and helps you accomplish more. Companies use praise to try to boost productivity and even revenue, and experts say that the psychological impact of keeping a positive view of your accomplishments can decrease stress and encourage better habits.”
4. Go for it — even if you’re unsure.
As the saying goes, “Fake it till you make it!” If you know in your heart that this is the right time for a career move, then embrace that mindset. Envision yourself already in your next role. How does it feel? How do you act?
Yes, the market is tight for individuals without a four-year degree and people in low-paying jobs. But that shouldn’t stop people from pursuing new opportunities. The right opportunity will come along if you’re confident in your worth, value, and skill set. The unknown can be scary. However, it can also be the impetus you need to take action.
“Like driving on an unfamiliar highway, ambiguity forces us to be alert,” writes Ron Carucci, Dorie Clark, and Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic. “The key is to be alert with curiosity, not fear. For too many, career uncertainty and its resulting anxiety lead to suboptimal choices. Fearing our obsolescence, lack of employability, or that we’re ill-equipped to convince others of our value, we sell ourselves short. We ignore the signs that might be pointing us to something adventurous and settle for something familiar, even if it’s unsatisfying.”
The “Great Resignation” has caused so many people in the workforce to rethink their career goals. If you’re one of them, stay curious and confident — and don’t settle for less than you deserve. This is your moment.