Career change is an excellent way to explore how using the stages of change helps you make better decisions. We’ll see the importance of Contemplating not only what change you are thinking of making, but WHY you are making the change.
We’ll begin with that common thought: you really dislike your job and think you need to change jobs (again). You recently changed, but this job doesn’t fit. Instead of immediately starting the search for a new job; you use the steps. You contemplate by asking yourself questions. You look at why you want a new job. You explore what you like and dislike about your current job, and do the same for your other recent positions. You try to determine what would fit.
As you explore, you realize that the job is not the issue: it seems more like your career is what needs to change. That’s a big realization! Awareness repression could happen at this point, but since you are using the steps, you know that contemplation is not action. You simply continue to explore, but with the focus on ‘career’ instead of ‘job’.
How do you identify what career is a better fit? You look at what you enjoy and don’t enjoy in your current career. You explore your interests. You could: read one or more of the many books on career change; work with a career coach, and research online. This is a phase of open exploration looking for possibilities.
Do you see the benefit of this model? Contemplation is the interruption in habitual thinking. Instead of think –> act; you step back. Without that, you might have taken an action (new job) that doesn’t address the underlying issue (career).
Remember that contemplation doesn’t stay theoretical and don’t stall here because you are overwhelmed with too many possibilities. This is not a stage of daydreaming, nor is it a stage of getting caught in circular thinking. As you start to find careers that look like a fit, you take small actions. You talk to people in the fields that interest you. You contact a professional association to get more information. You job shadow. You take a short course that previews the education you’d need. These are exploratory actions; not permanent changes.
To give an example, I took my first coaching course via teleconference in 2007. It cost under $50.
Contemplation is an ideal time to Just Start. Go in the direction you think fits, and then evaluate. By taking small actions we move naturally from Contemplation to Preparation. We see the next steps.