18:49:31, Walewale – Ghana
It is the second day of a new year. Not just the usual new year, it is a brand new decade! I wish you compliments of the season and cheers to this brand new decade which comes with so much promises of hope and success for those who plan to dare and remain resilient. Maybe you are considering to make a career switch, good luck.
About same time ten years ago, I was freshly out of college, doing my clinical internship at a regional hospital in Ghana and geared up for the world of work. I had hopes and dreams. Huge ones of course. I also had a plan, a naive one. But, it was worth having it.
My past decade has been marked with a combination of further education and work: locally and abroad, affording me such extraordinary opportunities of learning and growth; fun and adventure; charity and love; and bittersweet experiences.
In my deep and sober reflections of the past decade, I have jotted aside a few experiences to share with my readers, followers and loved ones. This one focuses on why and when to make a career switch.
Different reasons account for why people change careers. However, there are a few commonalities why many people take that decision.
Let’s start with the why.
Toxic work culture/environment
Put aside the salary, people generally love to work in an environment where they feel they belong – that is where there is a sense of community – and where their contributions are acknowledged. I have a few friends who worked in big international organizations, earned good money but still quit. One friend of mine preferred to sit at home until he found another job. Consider this clue: If you wake up in the morning and do not feel excited or challenged to go to work, rethink. Secondly, if your work environment is why you are always eager to leave your workspace, chances are that you do not belong there, and you should actually begin thinking of where next to go.
A toxic work culture and a very demotivating environment was one reason why I ditched one job for another. It paid well.
Compromised values and misaligned vision
Values are deeply-held beliefs and principles that people adhere to when making decisions. For example, if your boss requires you to tweak a report to suit a certain scenario, you have two options: tweak it or not. If you are an employee who upholds the value of integrity so strongly, you are inclined to refuse. If you do, you have taken a conscious decision to compromise your values. If you are not this kind of person, and you are working in such a private corporate or public environment where you are required to tweak reports, then there is a clear values mismatch. That is not an organization you should work for in 2020 and beyond.
Personally, I prefer to work in a values-driven organization to a revenue-driven one. And so is what many people prefer nowawdays. Organizations change their vision and mission statements periodically. If any vision change in your organization does not afford you a clear path of growth and development, my friend, register your CV on a job search platform. You have no future in such an organization.
Working in a values-based organization is not only beneficial to you. Values-based organizations perform better.
Those are just two of many reasons why people change careers, and why I did, too. I find those two to be highly compelling reasons why you should quit your job and go for another.
So when should you take that decision to quite your job or cross-carpet?
Quitting your job is not an easy decision to take. I am actually not asking you to quit your job for another. But quit at some point even if you have not found another job. So when?
Quit immediately if your current job is the reason why you are severely depressed. Yes, quit immediately. Period. Take that bold step, write that letter, submit it, and have your peace of mind. You will not be the first. Not yet the last. Our fear of the unknown often holds us too backward that we fail to venture into the endless possibilities and opportunities staring right in front of us. Until you take that decision, you will have no testimony to give in the end of this decade.
My friend, if you have done ten years in an organization and you cannot see meaningful growth in your own life, switch. If the option to switch is not readily available, quit.
Wait a minute. Must you switch or quit completely?
If you can, don’t switch, and don’t quit. Take another job. Do both. Examine both. And where you find great motivation and alignment, quit the other.
Above all my friend, follow your passion. Find work that you care deeply about and which you love to do. You will be happy and fulfilled for the rest of the decade.
I wish you good luck. May 2020 bring out the best in us.
PS: Comment below if you have another reason why you would quit your job for another, and at what stage in your career you’d decide to quit it for another.
Your comments are welcome
Simon is a Mandela Rhodes Scholar. In 2016, he was named among Africa’s 100 Brightest Young Minds. He is a recipient of the St Gallen Wings of Excellence Award. Simon is passionate about health, education, youth empowerment and the role young people can play to make Africa a better place. He is the founder of PeFHED and also runs a mentorship programme for African youngsters aged 18-25. In his spare time, he loves to travel and sightsee.