Career change tip: Don’t make assumptions

Job Satisfaction

According to many surveys, about half the working population is preparing to make a career change.  We read stories about exhausted nurses and teachers leaving their fields. Or service workers going back to school for IT diplomas. Or senior executives cashing out to sell real estate.

Many individuals change careers for good reasons. But just as many make decisions based on assumptions that could lead them down the wrong path. For example, a good many people have come to me with the intention of going into HR because they want to have direct contact with people and help them. That’s a noble motivation, right? Yes, but most HR duties are about managing processes not people.

Processes or people

HR is about using software and systems to effectively and efficiently deploy a specific resource in an organization—that resource is called talent, or human resources. When employees actually need help for a work-related problem, such as managing their stress or mental health, they are most often referred to a third party. If you want to work directly with people, then consider working in an employee assistance program run by a third party provider.

We need to substitute our assumptions with a reality check. Before committing to a career change, verify that your natural strengths and motivations align with its core duties and responsibilities.

Let’s use the HR scenario again. If by “helping others” you mean meeting with employees one-on-one to listen to their problem, then advising them on their options and helping them choose and appropriate course of action–then you may not enjoy sitting in front of a computer all day using PeopleSoft or some other software to review payroll complaints from workers spread across the country.

If what you really want to do is influence the thoughts, feelings, and behaviours of individuals towards some positive change, then identify which “jobs” in HR actually perform that function. Also, check to see what other careers are organized around that core activity.

You can make a better decision about a career change and what you need to do to make it happen with the assistance of my JOBJOY FOR LIFE™ Course.  

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