One Big Thing You Must Do Before You Go Looking For A New Job

Whether the new job comes to you or you go looking for it, there's some inner "work" that needs to be done before making a change.

young woman sitting thoughtfully by a lake, thinking deeply Xavier Lorenzo / shutterstock

The World Economic Forum's latest employment report predicts that 23 percent of jobs and 44 percent of workers' skills will be disrupted within the next five years. This constant flux suggests a need to focus on personal alignment and empowerment to remain resilient and thrive.

This approach doesn't neglect financial needs and available opportunities but helps prevent impulsive decisions driven by fear or impatience. Being grounded in self-knowledge aids in avoiding unnecessary compromises, detours, and distractions.


In other words, before you seek out a new work opportunity, pause and look inward. 

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Here are five key reasons that support beginning with introspection for your career plan

1. Considering constant technological advances

Rapid technological changes and the value of interdisciplinary approaches make predicting job relevance challenging.


2. Adjusting to shifting interests and values

Focusing on personal inclinations over external uncertainties avoids vacillating between options, allowing for more effective decision-making.

3. Adjusting to evolving goals and personal priorities

Ensuring investments in education, training, mentoring, and informal learning align with personal desires and goals.

4. The inability to predict the future

Recognizing that external variables, apparent or hidden, are often beyond control.

5. Preparing for the inevitable effects of luck and risk

Embracing the role of good or bad fortune and risk-taking in decision-making, then working these elements to your advantage.


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Embracing the inside-out strategy

This inside-out strategy is valuable whether you're starting out, in mid-career, or in later life. As traditional linear career paths become outdated, it's essential to stay flexible and open-minded, continually clarifying your purpose and meaning in work. Remember, time is a non-renewable resource.

Creating alignment starts with identifying your work-related values, transferable skills, meaningful topics, preferred people, and interesting situations.

For instance, start by identifying five-seven top values, such as creativity or community. Then, identify transferable skills. List subjects and issues you care about. Think about who you'd like to work with and what kind of organizations or situations you'd prefer.


With these lists, construct inspiring descriptions for action by combining elements from all categories.

Here are a few examples:

  • Manage a carpentry firm promoting health and addressing climate change.
  • Develop a nonprofit facilitating cross-cultural learning and cooperation.
  • Influence business through ethical writing and consulting, fostering partnerships.
  • Collaborate with economists to ensure responsible resource use.
  • Invest in AI applications to design medical processes benefiting rural populations.
  • Present historical stories to inspire lower-income communities for economic development.
  • Design and market unique housing projects for the affluent.
  • Join a farming project focused on nutrition and culinary arts for immigrants.

Even if some of these examples seem over-ambitious or inaccessible, at least they offer a roadmap to align your career with your interests and passions.

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The words you use to describe your life matter

I recommend replacing limiting terms like "work" and "career" with broader concepts such as "vocation," "calling," and "purpose." These terms offer an inside-out perspective, better relating to one's true nature.

This internal starting point can influence choices, tradeoffs, insights, and confidence. Rather than focusing on repetitive tasks, an inspiring vision for your future encourages exploration and innovation, benefiting both you and others.

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Ruth Schimel, Ph.D. is a career and life management consultant and author of the Choose Courage series on Amazon. She guides clients in accessing their strengths and making viable visions for current and future work. Request the first chapter of her seventh book Happiness and Joy in Work: Preparing for Your Future.