Like all career-minded individuals, accounting and finance professionals experience a variety of highs and lows throughout their journey. One of the things that makes careers in accounting and finance unique, however, is the predictability of workload and challenges during recurring busy periods, such as quarterly or annual close periods, or tax filing time. During these busy periods, it’s common to feel increased stress and exhaustion with the pressure to meet constant deadlines.
But what if those overwhelming feelings don’t subside? How do you know when it’s truly time to consider a career change?
Consider Your Motivations, Limitations and Opportunities
A multitude of factors can impact decisions around your career: company culture, long-term goals, personal preferences and priorities, salary, and advancement possibilities. Therefore, it’s important to step back and take a holistic assessment of your situation. When the grass starts to look greener, the first question to ask yourself is “Why now?”
Long hours during the busy times can lead to burn out. Sometimes enthusiasm begins to dwindle and low energy makes everything feel mundane. Other times there’s curiosity about working in other industries. Whatever the reason, be mindful of your motivations and decision-making process when considering new avenues.
Stress vs. Burnout
When feelings of angst begin to rise, the most obvious instigator for jumping ship is stress. Many of our candidates experience increased levels of stress during peak times, sparking the itch to look elsewhere. But stress and burnout are two different things.
Stress is associated with having too many responsibilities during a short timeframe, while burnout is a progressive, longer-term condition that includes emotional exhaustion and cynicism toward the industry, leading to greater feelings of dissatisfaction. If you’re feeling a strong urge to make a quick decision, first consider if it’s crunch time. If you’re feeling burnout beyond the seasonal busy times, you might be struggling with work-life balance.
Before making a career move talk to your supervisor about workload, resources, and delegation. Give yourself enough time to make a strategic move rather than a knee-jerk reaction.
Look Back and Ahead
Considering a career move is a good opportunity for self-reflection. Check in with yourself and examine the motivations, inspirations, and aspirations influencing your decision. Consider these questions:
- Have you accomplished the goals you set when you started in your current company?
- Have your priorities changed?
- Why did you take this job in the first place?
- Are you bored?
- What is frustrating you?
- What do you like about your current position?
- Do you feel challenged and valued?
- Do you want more money?
- Where do you see yourself in one, three and five years?
- Will the next position I go to be just as stressful?
Know Your Core Values, Interests, and Goals
If you struggle to answer these questions it might be time to reassess your immediate and long-term goals. If you’re experiencing a lack of engagement and dissatisfaction, first determine if it’s because of daily tasks or specific projects and clients. Then, ask about opportunities to work with different clients or industries that better align with your interests.
Maybe you feel underchallenged or undervalued. Perhaps you’ve exhausted professional development opportunities with your current supervisor. There might be new avenues for growth in another team or department, or you could benefit from a coach or mentor elsewhere within the company. Take some time to really understand your pain points and then flesh out your goals, professional development needs and aspirations. Once you have a clear career plan, explore all internal opportunities before looking elsewhere.
But if you determine it’s truly time for a change, Alliance Resource Group can help you find the right fit.