5 Things You Must Understand When Making A Major Career Change

October 25, 2017

by Ravi Raman

Making a career change can be tough. The longer you’ve served a team or company, the harder it feels.

My career change came after almost 14 years with one company.

While I held a half-dozen different roles at Microsoft, it felt like home. It was hard to leave. I literally grew up as an adult at the company. My best friends were made during my time there.

I don’t know if you are like I was. Perhaps you are earlier in your career and need to go in a different direction with your work. You might be later in your career, and ready for an encore. Different still, you might be out of work and looking to jump back into the thick of it.

Either way, what I know is there are a few key things you must understand when making a major career change. When you see these truths, the choices made will move you in a positive direction.

At least, this is how things have worked for me. It might work for you too.

Prioritize people over profit

People quit bosses not companies.

The people you work with have a massive impact on your learning and who you become at work. Chose wisely.

In cases where you can’t get to know your team before deciding, just do your best with the information you have.

While money matters, it only impacts life satisfaction and happiness to a certain point.

Beyond the money, carefully consider the people you will spend your time with.

Fall in love with your work

It’s imperative you find a way to fall in love with your work. Really, it’s possible.

Don’t listen to me, listen to this guy:

“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” 
- Buddha

When looking to make a career change, ask yourself: “What about this new job can I fall in love with?”

The more you can fully embrace your new career, the better.

Set the bar HIGH. Aim to love your work, not tolerate it.

Not feeling the love? You might need to “fake it” at first. Sometimes love needs a little spark to get rolling.

Embrace learning curves

Anything we do has a built-in learning curve. Some curves are shallow and others steep.

What’s neat about our human experience is that we are great at learning and climbing our way up learning curves. The only thing that can get in our way is excess thinking and stories we tell ourselves. When we find clarity of mind, we see that we can learn virtually anything. New habits. New skills. New dance moves!

When making a career change, the advice I’ve shared in the past is true:

1) Embrace your interests
2) Leverage your skills
3) Serve market needs

In addition to those things, don’t let learning curves scare you.

Instead, see them as a chance to grow and know that you are designed to thrive in such environments.

Focus on quality of life

The first conversation I have with coaching clients is regarding their definition of an outstanding life.

This would be a reasonable thing for a Life Coach to do, but I’m an Executive and Career Coach for people in the Technology Industry!

People hire me to improve work performance or navigate career moves. Why would our first conversation be about “life” instead of workplace leadership or productivity?

Simple. A successful career with a miserable life is a terrible outcome. I want to make sure we aren’t headed in that direction.

On the other hand, it’s impossible to design a wonderful life, without having a career well supported.

In making a career move, make your decision based on what steps will result in a high quality of life, not just what is best for your work.

Think far and wide about what a great life means to you. This tool can help.

Choices are not final

Decision making is a vastly misunderstood art form.

We think that making decisions, particularly huge ones, are final. We also make decisions “big” by amplifying them in our minds. This isn’t true.

Decisions are neither big (or small). Decisions are also rarely “final.”

We can change careers and then change our minds later in life. We can make a decision that opens doors to new options previously unseen. There are only steps in a string of actions that comprise a career. Your next move won’t be your last.

So get moving.


I hope these insights help you become more clear on the next move for your career. Maybe, they encourage you to be bolder than you otherwise would have been. At a minimum, I hope they give you a bit of comfort and ease as you make your choice.

I really appreciate your reading, and it would make my day for you to leave a comment in the space below.

Further reading 📚

5 signs quitting that project (or anything) was a good idea

I’ve done my fair share of quitting. Sometimes quietly, sometimes loudly! How do we know if a project (or job, company, team, etc.) is ripe for quitting? If you are like me, you know all about what it means to work hard and tough it out. Unfortunately, all the...

How to make a bigger IMPACT at work

My coaching clients are forever asking about ways to improve and demonstrate IMPACT at work. This single word tends to dominate the psyche since organizations, particularly fast-moving technology firms, are fixated on it.  I work with leaders and high-performers...

Tapping into the power of groups

I recently started coaching with a large consumer goods company senior executive. In exploring his desired outcomes for our coaching engagement, he realized something quite profound about what makes his life (and work) really outstanding.  "A great and...

One way to overcome analysis paralysis

Vanilla or chocolate? This was the crucial decision outside of Dairy Queen recently. My son thought long and hard about it (a few seconds is a long time for a three-year-old) until - with my pointing it out - he realized that he could have both! The vanilla-chocolate...

The friendly universe hypothesis

Is the universe friendly? I posed this question on LinkedIn a while ago and it provoked reactions, some shared in DMs or email, that ranged from "yes yes yes!!!" to "WTF? The universe doesn't give a s@#t about anyone". Responses showed that people mostly think that...

%d bloggers like this: