Changing Career Paths? Don’t Skip This Important Step!

Kyoko Fukushima

Whether you have decided it’s time to leave a career or were forced to think about other options due to the loss of your position, you may feel the pressure to find the next job quickly. Before moving on, it’s important to take the time to think about your personal values. This step not only grounds and helps you gain confidence, but also helps prevent you from leaving your current career path for incorrect reasons.

Personal values are the qualities and characteristics of life that are important to us. Seeing as career transition can be one of life’s biggest events and your greatest chance to invest in yourself, try to let your personal values lead your journey!

If you’re not sure what you value, this step-by-step activity may help. Grab a pen and paper and let’s get started!

Step 1: List the things that are important to you in a job as they come to mind. It might help to browse through job descriptions to get the ideas flowing. You can do this all in one sitting, or spread it out over a few days. To make it more enjoyable, you can steep tea or press coffee and write in your favourite notebook. Examples: helping others, learning opportunities, work-life balance, time freedom, etc. 

Step 2: Once you have your list, narrow it down to your top five. Study your shortened list carefully and number these values from 1 to 5, with 1 being the least valued. 

Step 3: Repeat step 1 and 2, but this time with the things you want to avoid or the things that are not important to you in a job. Examples: public speaking, interacting with customers, lack of routine, etc.

Step 4: If you feel stuck, it’s helpful to talk to someone – a friend, family member, your Employment Consultant – to generate insight. Sometimes, all you need is a “soundboard” and speaking it out loud really helps for that reason.

After going through the steps, you should have two lists, one of your values and one of things you wish to avoid. You can now use this information by comparing it to postings you see. You’ll immediately notice this helps narrow down your job search and prevents indecision about whether a position or company is right for you.

Of course, you may not find a job that reflects all your values, but there should be some consistency between the work you do and your most important values. Just like with step 4, you may benefit from talking to someone you trust during this process. 

If you’re still struggling to find the right job for you, go through these steps again, but this time focusing on your attributes and transferable skills. This allows you to see what’s realistic for you and whether you need to take other steps before pursuing your next career path.

I hope this activity helps you start your new journey with clarity and confidence backed by your personal values. Intention is the key for finding long-term, meaningful employment.