The last 18 months have been full of change. While filled with plenty of heartbreak and pain, it has also served as a time for introspection, leaving many working parents questioning going back to "normal" in their careers.
Studies have shown that more than 50% of people are looking to make a change in their careers, with many wanting to start their own businesses. In this time of uncertainty, why now? What is driving people to seek this change and what should they consider before doing so?
I sought out the expertise of Christine Anastasia, founder of Christine Anastasia Coaching who helps working moms navigate their careers and home life. We discuss the current environment motivating people to change, the things that hold people back and things to consider before making this change.
What Is Holding People Back?
Societal views & security
In a culture that attaches a status symbol to productivity, Christine notes that there can be shame and discomfort in choosing a path that is not a 9-5. Our identities are often so tied to our titles and current positions that it's overwhelming to separate yourself from that. We feel that if we stay in our jobs that there is some safety in that - both in status and the security of a steady paycheck to support your family. However, as we saw with the pandemic, with tons of furloughs and layoffs we now realize that nothing is guaranteed, not even a tenured corporate job.
All or nothing
Starting your own company or new venture can seem like you have to choose whether you're in or out. Therefore pulling the trigger on this large decision without much evidence to the likelihood of success on the other side makes people shy away from it all together. This black and white view is actually quite the opposite for many. Christine advises to start something on the side, get a feel for it and learn from it.
why so many are seeking change now and what to consider before taking the leap
A video interview recap
Christine Anastastia is a working mom coach on a mission is to share dialogue, provide support so working mothers can showing up in the best way at home and at work. You can find her at christineanastasia.com, on Instagram @villagecoachmama or on LinkedIn.
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Pivoting in your career:
A catalyst for change
Many people were burned out before the pandemic. Running out of the house by 7am, working in an office for 8-9 hours and speedily exiting to pick up the kids, followed by dinner, bath, bed, and more work, just to do it all again the next day. Many of us got a taste of something different while working remotely - a less chaotic life, more time with family - and it left us questioning norms. Not only the change in dynamic but this time also brought about the opportunity to be introspective and evaluate what we really want out of our careers and our time away from our kids. For many, they had a desire for something different.
You're not the only one
If you've felt this over the last 18 months, you're not alone. The AllBright professional women's network surveyed their 800 members in the Fall of 2020 and found that 61% were seeking a career change. Of that population 1 in 4 were looking to start their own business. In the Predictive Index's 2021 People Management Report, released August 2021, cited that almost half of the people surveyed, men and women were seeking a career change.
What Is Everyone Seeking?
Many people are realizing the value of autonomy, flexibility and are motivated to make a change. They realize that doing something they are passionate about, where they can use their creativity may be worth more than the security of a steady salary. As Christine says "Both men and women have a desire for flexibility, taking care of your well being and if it means there's risk involved, but also benefits, people are willing to figure it out to make something work."
What Should You Consider Before Making a Change?
Evaluate your financial reality
In all likelihood, finances will make an impact in your decision. However, explore all levers your can pull. What spending can you let go? What must stay? Are there other ways to make up the gap? Talk with your partner and make sure you're aligned and approaching this as a team.
Evaluate what's on your plate
In order to take something else on, something else must go. You may not be able to afford to let a full time job go, but consider if reducing hours is an option or seeking out additional childcare. Work with your partner to see how you can support each other to get to your goals.
What's the Next Step?
Seek out available resources to learn more about your new career or starting a new company. Christine recommends score.org for a reliable place to gain more information, find mentors and programs to help start a business.
Utilize social networks on LinkedIn and Facebook to find communities of like-minded people who have done something similar. Start to build a network of people you trust.
Most importantly, have empathy for yourself. Raising children, running a household, and working full-time among many other responsibilities is already enough. Chipping away at your goals is a great start. If you do this enough, you'll gain momentum that will be hard to stop!