3 Reasons Why You Need To Be Ready for A Career Change (Especially If You’re Happy Now)

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For all four years of college, Jane looked forward to graduation. She was ready to leave exams and lectures behind. She wanted to embark on a new path in the world of business.

Jane had held some internships and some college summer jobs, such as being a camp counselor. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do, but she knew she didn’t want to work in a school, hospital or retail store.

Jane began with a series of jobs that lasted 6 to 18 months. She kept changing jobs to keep raising her salary and — most important — avoid dying of boredom. There were only so many ways to run social media for her employers and write a blog post now and then.

She thought she got lucky with the perfect job.

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A few years out of school, she’d achieved her dream job. Perfect location: she could walk to work. Perfect boss: she felt respected and supported. Perfect job description: each day brought new challenges.

Best of all, Jane now had a career path. If she fulfilled her assignments, showed some initiative, and added a few skills, she’d be on track to become Communications Manager for her product line.

But instead…

What actually ended up happening was a company leadership change.

The company president resigned abruptly, citing personal reasons. Rumors blamed everything from his recent divorce (bitter) to his son’s very public transgressions (criminal) to hints of impropriety from his gorgeous blond assistant (totally false).

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Now Jane’s career was no longer on track.

She still adored her supportive boss — but he was now out of favor with the C-level executives. With the department budget reduced by 30%, Jane’s boss had to pull back on his high-flying projects — the ones that made the job fun — and consider laying off staff.

As one of the newest hires, Jane was on the hit list. Even worse, she hadn’t seen this coming. She’d spent the last six months pouring her heart, soul and creative energy into this job.

The truth is, you’re most vulnerable to the whims of the job market when you’re happy.

Most change comes from pain.

When you hate your job, you’re in pain. So the effort to create an escape plan feels LESS painful than the experience of staying where you are.

When you’re happy, now you’ve got to take yourself from pleasure to pain. And you don’t have anyone telling you to be scared.

— > You embark on a diet-and-exercise plan when you can’t wear your favorite jeans … or your doctor warns, “You won’t live to see your kids grow up unless you change your lifestyle.”

— >You agree to a root canal because you know what it feels like to wake up at 3 AM, in excruciating pain, with no dentist available for 6 hours.

— > You rush to update your resume when your boss warns, “You’ll be out of here in 2 weeks.”

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Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash

When you’re not feeling pain, it’s hard to take action.

While the sun’s shining and the birds are singing, why do anything? After all, some people get to enjoy their job for their entire lives, right?

I don’t want to scare you… actually, I do.

And then you’re not ready for the worst thing that can happen.

I’ve seen many clients who call me in shock. They loved their job. They never thought it would end.

It feels like coming home and finding your significant other on your living room rug, busily…um, engaged, with a stranger…and you thought you were the happiest couple on the block. Now you’re suddenly in a whirl of lawyers, paperwork and bank account blocking.

So here are the 3 reasons to gear up your Plan B even when you’re totally happy and satisfied.

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A tech company, many miles away, created a software app that can do your job better. The line item in the budget that represents your meager salary … someone just hit the backspace key and it’s gone.

Your company merged with another company: a handshake 2,000 miles away and now your job is gone.

A new boss shows up; she’s hailed as a miracle worker and negotiated to bring aboard her own team. That’s likely what happened to Jane in our opening story.

It’s not your fault. It’s business. But you‘re the one standing at the door in a daze, carrying a box of stuff from your desk and wondering how you’ll pay for that beautiful new living room set.

What you can do:

(1) Be aware of what’s happening in your company. Don’t get sucked into nonstop gossip, but keep your eyes and ears open.

(2) Every quarter — maybe even every month — review your resume. Are you becoming more marketable as time goes on? If your job went away tomorrow, would you be ready?

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Photo by Kyle Hinkson on Unsplash

I’ve seen this happen over and over. As soon as my clients take their first step towards a Plan B (and don’t sabotage themselves in the process), opportunities seem to cross their paths.

It’s like being engaged.

Have you ever noticed how a newly engaged gal (or guy) seems to attract romantic attention, effortlessly? It’s like they’re giving off a vibe: “I’m terrific. You’re gonna love me.”

It’s like owning a fabulous credit score and a stash of cash.

Have you ever noticed how people who don’t need money keep getting offered more? “Need a business loan?” “Want to refinance your home for the new interest rates?” “How about this credit card that comes with 100K free miles?”

It’s like being ready when an unexpected opportunity happens.

You’ve heard the saying, “Chance favors a prepared mind.” Scientists make world-changing discoveries when they’re prepared to see what’s in front of them.

And you’ll recognize those tiny windows of opportunity when they appear on the horizon, so you snap them up before somebody else does.

What you can do:

Begin working on your Plan B right away. Knowing you’re on track will help you achieve the sense of confidence that opens new doors. A good place to begin is Chris Guillebeau’s book, Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days.

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Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

When you‘re ready to take on the unexpected, you feel in control. You’ve got the power and you know it.

You walk differently. You talk differently. You don’t lose sleep over rumors about takeovers, new managers or world events. “Bring it on!” is your new motto.

Loving your job will make you happy while you keep your job. Knowing you can walk away from your job, because you’ve got other irons in the fire, will attract opportunities whether you love your job or lose it.

Ironically, you’re actually less likely to be fired. You’ll attract strong people who will go out of their way to help you. You won’t make dumb mistakes that can sabotage your chances at the worst possible time.

Best of all, you’ll make time to enjoy things outside your job because you are not pressured to be “on” all the time.

What you can do:

Put on your game face each day when you go to work. You’ve heard the saying, “Never let ’em see you sweat.” It’s the folks who huddle together, fearing the worst, who end up in the most trouble.

“You can’t predict a career crisis. But you can predict how you will react if something happens.”

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The best sports coaches keep a few extra plays on hand for those tight moments in the game. Thirty seconds left and you’re down by five … or ahead by three and the other team’s got the ball.

They don’t wait. They know they don’t have time to think. They have to react within seconds.

So they go right to the back of their playbook and pull out those plays.

A good coach always expects the unexpected. And they prepare.

You won’t be drawing up plays with balls, passes, and guards. Your game plan will include a list of everyone who can help, a side hustle (hopefully you’ve already taken the first steps) and above all, a determination to keep your game face and keep going.

And as we said before, when you’re most ready with a crisis plan, you’re least likely to need one. a

Helping entrepreneurs and independent professionals grow their businesses one story at a time. http://cathygoodwin.com

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