Due to the Great Resignation, demand for top workers is at an all-time high. That's a major challenge for employers -- and a huge opportunity for anyone thinking about making a career change in 2022. As 30 million Baby Boomers have been said to retire during the height of the pandemic, the need for workers gradually increased, creating this imbalance in labor supply and demand. If you are another Baby Boomer or a Gen X, it may be a ripe time to make a career move.
However, changing your job without a clear purpose and plan could lead to some unnecessary personal and professional headaches. There are many factors to consider in helping you decide if it's time for a career pivot and to determine what kinds of professional goals could improve your Return on Life – or fulfillment -- this year and well into retirement.
1. Evaluate yourself and your job.
Whether you like your current job, tolerate it, or really don't like it, there are lessons you can learn by thinking about what you do, how you do it, and why you might be better off doing something different.
Perform a brief self-evaluation by answering these questions:
- What are my strengths?
- What are my weaknesses?
- What am I interested in?
- Do I feel fairly compensated for the work that I do?
- What are my top skills and talents?
- How can I put my top skills to their highest uses?
- What is a problem in the world or my community that I could help to address?
- Am I dissatisfied with my job, or with my employer?
- What would my ideal workday look like?
- What does a really stressful workday look like?
- What working environment or corporate culture puts me in the best position to succeed?
2. Determine what you want to pivot towards.
If you're unhappy in your current position, taking a similar job at a different company probably isn't going to make you any happier from 9 to 5 unless there are major culture or leadership issues (which is not too uncommon). On the other hand, jumping into a totally different line of work just to make a change might make it harder for you to do the things that you do best.
Go back to your self-assessment and look for any themes that connect your answers. Use these connections to zero in on the kind of job that's going to make you feel more fulfilled.
For example, if you enjoy the workplace culture at your current employer and feel well-compensated, perhaps you're just working in the wrong department. Rather than starting a full-on job search, you might talk to your supervisor about other positions where you can use your talents to further your own career and the company's core mission.
On the other hand, if you're happy flying through spreadsheets and keeping the books balanced but something still feels off, maybe your employer's mission isn't important enough to you. Pivoting to education, health care, or green energy might make you feel more connected to those numbers you're crunching.
3. Assess your $Lifeline.
After Steps 1 and 2, ask yourself if you are excited about the possibility of a career change? Don't let that positive energy distract you from all the other changes in your life that switching jobs could trigger.
If you're following your values to a high-impact job at a lower-paying nonprofit, your monthly budget might need an overhaul.
Could a gap in your health care coverage affect your family planning?
A higher-paying job might make it easier to pay for college. But with the added responsibilities, will you still have time to travel with your teenager before he/she moves to campus next fall?
Does your new job provide comparable retirement benefits, or will you have to start self-funding your own IRA to stay on track for your long-term retirement goals?
Will switching jobs just delay your ultimate career goal of founding your own company? If so, what's keeping you from making 2022 the year that you become your own boss?
It can be very challenging to keep track of all the ripple effects that one decision can have on the rest of your life and your financial planning. Our $Lifeline tool helps you to visualize those effects, prepare for more changes you might not be anticipating, and keep your life and your money in sync.
4. Revisit retirement funding status
A major event that is likely to impact a decision to make a career move is retirement. If your retirement projections are stale or if it is hard to understand how a career move would impact your ability to retire, now is a good time to do detailed financial modeling. This will help you evaluate how making a career move would have an impact on your retirement funding.
We have seen too many people not take action with a variety of life events because of the uncertainty – they are uncertain of the financial impact so they resort to the status quo. As referenced earlier, you don’t want to make a change for change’s sake, but making a career move can either improve your retirement situation by receiving higher compensation or your life fulfillment may be increased because you enjoy the work and your teammates more. Perhaps you get the benefit of both!
Moreover, as more people contemplate a longer career to provide purpose in retirement, switching careers may give you renewed energy to work more productively and to work longer. Even if the compensation with the new position appears to be less than your current position, ironically, you may find yourself better off financially over the long-term by making such a move. A spring in your step can lead to blooming flowers going into retirement. (How’s that for poetry?)
5. Impact on geography
One final note to consider when contemplating a career move and the impact on retirement is whether making a move at this point in your career will provide the opportunity for you to seek a desirable location for retirement. If you are five to 15 years away from retirement, then this might be a great time to consider this related issue.
If demand is strong with the career move you are considering, then let this demand for your services lead to a head start on finding that ideal retirement location.
Call us up and let's discuss how Life-Centered Planning can help support your 2022 career goals and long-term retirement goals.