At this time of year in particular, the feelings of being unsettled or unhappy at work, of not knowing in which direction our careers and lives are heading, of wanting something more fulfilling, of yearning for that perfect job all lead to the thought that we may be stuck in a rut. I’m sure we have all been in that situation at some time in our lives.
The problem is not only one of being dissatisfied with our current lot, but one of confusion at what to do and where to go next when faced with the myriad of possibilities open to us. And with the job market still in recession the fear of making the wrong move often keeps us in jobs that are unsatisfactory.
In her vibrant book “The Career Itch”, career coach Grace Owen sets out to address these issues by offering a new solution to this old problem in 4 simple steps.
As with many self-help books the advice comes in the form of an acronym, I.T.C.H.
I is for Identity.
The first step in tackling a career change is to know who you are. The book has a whole range of questionairres and exercises to help you assess what kind of person you are; to firm up on the things that make you happy, the things you want out of life.
T is for Thinking
Always a good idea, in my opinion, but often overlooked when changing jobs. The book aims to bring clarity to what to do next in order to avoid leaping from the frying pan and into the fire.
C is for Change
OK, so you’ve decided that the itch is not going to go away if you stay in your where you are and that you do need to change direction in your career. Grace details how this may be by getting more training in your current role, moving jobs, going it alone with a new business or a combination of these. Managing the transition from where you are now to where you want to be is key here and the book is very helpful with strategies to manage change.
H is for Habit
Or rather it is about achieving a balanced lifestyle. The acronym might be getting a bit stretched here but old habits do need to be broken and new habits established if a healthy work life balance is to be developed and, more importantly, maintained. At this time of year we all make resolutions to make more time for the things we love doing and the book gives some really helpful ways of embedding these changes into our lives so that we stick to the plan for more than just the first few weeks of the year.
For me, this is where the book is particularly strong. Unless we address the work-life balance issue the dream job will start to take over our lives and at that stage the dream becomes a nightmare and we get that itch again! I agree with Grace here, that often it is not the job itself that is unsatisfactory it’s the life itself. Finding a balance between job and the rest is the key in the long-term.
The book is very easy to read and it is a practical guide to career change, packed with anecdotes from Grace’s own experience and real-life client case studies. If there is a negative it is in the presentation. The book looks quite ‘lightweight’ with brightly coloured cover and a mix of fonts, cartoons, illustrations and different styles throughout. This style is at variance with the detailed content. Yes, the content is written in a very approachable friendly way, which I guess is what is suggested by the cover, but the book does have a lot more depth than the first impression suggests. Had the book not been suggested to me I would not have picked it up from the shelf and I would have missed out on some great insights.
Essentially my advice is; Don’t judge this book by it’s cover! It’s accessible and has tips and suggestions that you can return to, not only in managing current career change but in helping you to decide the kind of person you are, the job you want and the life you want to lead.
The Career Itch – Grace Owen
‘The Career Itch’ offers a new solution to an old problem, advice, encouragement and hope to the many people that are unhappy at work and explains how by paying attention to this inner restlessness you can start to take control of what you do next. The book takes you through four key steps: I for Identity; T for Thinking, C for Change and H for Habit. It includes inspiring case studies and plenty of ‘Things for You to Do’ designed to help you discover more about yourself and what you want and support you in taking action.