Are you unhappy about your current work situation or career path? Do you dream about a different career life on your train ride or car trip to work? Springtime can bring a renewed sense of optimism & hope, and for many disengaged employees, the opportunity to find a better position. The latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey indicated that there is now nearly one unemployed person for each available job, and that the “quits” rate, which measures whether people feel confident in their ability to quit and get a new job, rose to 2.3% in March. This means that there are more job opportunities available now! Therefore, it may be time to make the leap to a more satisfying career or job. So how can you facilitate a transition to a more enriching and stimulating work environment, when you feel so beaten down by your current one? I have found that the key elements to career/job transition success are summarized by the 4C’s: Clarity, Confidence, Community, and Courage. By utilizing the 4C’s, you can launch into a new chapter of your career journey, one where you are in control of your success and satisfaction, and can fully realize your potential.

1)   Clarity

it is important to know what you want in your next role or career. Oftentimes, when you are in a difficult work situation, it is easier for you to recognize the things you don’t want (e.g. bad boss, disorganized senior management team, unclear work responsibilities or deliverables), rather than being able to pinpoint the things that are most attractive to you. It can feel very daunting to identify what you want, due to the fear that you might be asking for too much, or the fear that if you do get it, you might still be unsatisfied. I encourage you to let those fears go, and to shoot for the starts when thinking about your ideal job characteristics! Better pay, more work flexibility, shorter commute, more senior level title? Yes, please! By being clear about what you want, it enables you to properly evaluate the jobs you find or ones that come your way through networking contacts. Once you establish your ideal job criteria, you will no longer read a job description and think about how well you can fit yourself into the role, even if you are not that interested. Rather you will review it, to consider how well it fits your criteria for a best-fit role. Your ideal job elements do not have to be so focused that they feel limiting, but they should have enough specificity that your community of support can send the right opportunities your way. You might know the industry but not the exact role you want, or you might know the role, but are open to considering various industries. That is fine, as long as you can be a bit specific about what you are seeking. Once you gain this clarity, speak to as many people as possible about your goals, enabling you to have many eyes and ears looking out for your benefit.

2)   Confidence

a major part of job search success is overcoming the fears and the doubts about your ability to transition and to find a far superior position than your current one. Some days you may feel very excited and hopeful. Other days, you may feel skeptical about the whole job search process. It can feel like an emotional rollercoaster. Therefore, bolstering your confidence will help you believe that you can find a more satisfying and compelling role, and will keep you motivated throughout the search process. That confidence boost comes from truly identifying your strengths and accomplishments, and recognizing that you are a valuable commodity in the marketplace, based on them. It is reframing the process as a marathon not a sprint, one you are certain to complete. Your confidence will allow you to understand that it is not “if” but “when,” as it pertains to finding your best-fit career options. If you find it difficult to boost your confidence or to maintain it on your own, you should seek support from the community described next to assist in this goal.

3)   Community

you must surround yourself with people who are as ambitious and optimistic about their careers, as you wish to be. When you are around those who are solely focused on job security, at the expense of everything else, including reaching their career potential and dreams, it can be demoralizing, depressing, and even anxiety-producing. You might begin to mistrust your own career goals, and may even feel that you are foolish for wanting more. However, when you connect with like-minded individuals who are striving for greater heights, it can feel so affirming and motivating. Although it can also be somewhat intimidating at times to be engaged with such determined people, it can greatly benefit you, since it will push you to stretch your comfort zone, in service of more fruitful & positive life-altering outcomes. Therefore, seek to build community with colleagues, friends, and family members who share similar goals & perspectives. If you don’t feel that you currently have that community, especially in your areas of interest, try finding it through professional associations, alumni events, LinkedIn groups, Meet-ups, or other networking channels. Once you find your community, make sure to cheer each other on, provide job leads to each other, and get the support you need to attain the career life you deserve.

4)   Courage

finally, once you have the other three C’s in place, it is now about having the courage to make the daring leap to a new job or career. Fear can keep you bound to a soul-sucking, emotionally draining job. It can prevent you from fully actualizing your life purpose and your career mission. It can cause you to rationalize your career stagnation and your lack of progress in your career advancement. But one thing fear cannot do, is help you realize your career dreams.  It is alright to be afraid, there is no shame in having such feelings. But at a certain point, you will need to be courageous, and to choose success & satisfaction over security. Tap into your community for strategies to overcome your fears, and to learn how others made the successful transition, in order to achieve your goals.

As the jobs landscape continues to improve, it may be time to take the leap into your career bliss. By embracing the 4C’s, you can create the career life you have always dreamed about. Dare to leave for a brighter and a better tomorrow!