Sometimes, our everyday jobs stop satisfying our values or needs. Banking and financial services can be exciting, but don’t let them become gilded cages.
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Few days ago one of my friends received an invite to a college alumni reunion. My initial reaction would have been about the prospect of free champagne, but he somehow seemed to focus on the words “25 years later” on the invite.
Anniversaries, such as alumni reunions, force us to look back at the journey. My friend mainly saw years wasted in the same role, with very few options ahead as he waits another 20 years for retirement. Needless to say he was in a grim mood.
But he is not alone, over the past month, many of the people I met had questions similar to “Should I be doing something more exciting with my career?”. I initially put it down to post-bonus hangover, but there seems to be a more pervasive collective aspiration to something beyond banking.
Passed the first few years of hope and glory, most people realise that money is not enough to make them enjoy their jobs. Banking is probably the industry that pays best. But if you stop enjoying your day to day job, it turns into a gilded cage: only banking can safely provide the money you need to maintain the lifestyle you have built for yourself and your family.
So should you do something more exciting with your life? We should all do something exciting with our lives, whatever that means to us. Does it necessarily mean changing job, company or industry? Only you can tell.
Consider the different aspects that are important to you
Career changes are both scary and highly rewarding. Stepping into the unknown forces you to re-invent yourself from scratch. And that is partly the beauty of it. But because it is a deep transformation, many different aspects have to be considered.
This needs to include discussions on money, family, job satisfaction, lifestyle, etc… There is no definite list: those topics need to reflect your own preoccupations and they vary widely from one person to the other. So the first step is to clarify every topics that are important for you in relation to a career change.
Formulate your thoughts and ideas
The second step is to formulate your thoughts to someone else. Discuss it with a friend, or if you can with a coach who will help you avoid delusion in one way or another.
Don’t rush to someone who will try and tell you what to do next (based on their experience, psychometrics or astrology): nobody knows better than you what you truly should be doing.
It takes you in the right thinking environment. As you start clarifying options, remember to confront them with your list of things to consider.
Own the result, whatever it is
So what will come out? Well, maybe you will end up changing career, changing company or simply changing job. Maybe you will find the reasons to stay in your current job. Whatever form it takes, the outcome will be your own choice. If your route is to hold tight and wait for retirement, embrace it and make it a conscious choice. If you know you need to quit, own it and start planning.
I have changed career twice, from retail to banking and then again to coaching. Both career changes transformed me deeply. It was hard but it was worth it. Finance is an incredible industry where many thrive, and where many fake thriving. So if you start wondering on which side you fall, you deserve to set time aside to consider it with a coach or with a friend. Life is short. Don’t waste it being miserable.
Think your next move through with a coach
Discussing your situation and options with a coach can help you regain motivation for your next steps, whatever they are.