A careers coach on the questions to ask yourself if you’re thinking about moving jobs


“Approach it intuitively, listening to what feels right.”

Deciding whether or not to switch jobs and quit your existing role can be one of the most difficult decisions to make (almost on par with the impossible task of picking the perfect SNS colour at your next nail appointment). 

A decision like this can understandably be scary. Whether it be a move to a new company, taking on a different role or completely changing your career path and following your dream, there is much to consider.

For more useful advice, try our Life section. 

A helpful way of navigating this shift can be through reflecting and asking yourself some questions in order to gain a sense of clarity before taking the next step. 

To make it easier, I sought some guidance from careers coach Kate James, asking her for advice on what to consider when making the move. With her knowledge and experience – accrued over the last 20 years helping creatives navigate their careers and business decisions – she offers some valuable insight to take in.  

What are some of the questions you should ask yourself?

When it comes to decision-making, listening to your gut instinct is the way to go. Kate tells me that the first thing to consider is “intuitively, what do you really love doing?”. Asking this question will “help you connect with your innate strengths”.

“Our strengths are the skills, talents and things that we do that are energising to us. So ideally we all want to be able to bring our natural strengths to life in our work if we can, and then we are more likely to feel energised by the job we are doing rather than feeling depleted by it,” she explains to me. 

Another useful approach is looking at the bigger picture. “If you have a sense of what your long term plan is and what that might be… considering whether the career move you are making is leading you in that direction [is important to think about]” Kate says.  

If you are somewhat like me and that daunting phrase ‘long-term plan’ is a bit hazy at the moment, Kate assures me that is completely A-okay. 

“It’s actually really important that people feel that it’s alright to do something even if it doesn’t feel absolutely perfect or exactly right. We can use our career choices as a way of exploring opportunities. We don’t have to nail it in every single job that we get.” 

A decision like this obviously requires a bit of thought and so Kate points out some other helpful questions you might ask yourself.  “What are your top priorities in terms of your career options? Are you more interested in flexibility or security? What kind of organisation do you want to work in? What are the factors in the culture that you are looking for?”. 

What’s the next step after asking those questions? 

After asking yourself a string of questions (that may or may not prompt a brief moment of existential crisis), Kate advises that “it can be really helpful to reach out to people who are doing the kind of job you are thinking about applying for… doing the research broadly is always a really good thing to do”.

Learn about what people loved about the role and what they didn’t love so much and maybe some of the things that were unexpected about the role.”

What are some of the challenges for people as they embark on moving jobs? 

As with everything, a decision like this comes with a set of challenges to overcome.  

A common obstacle that Kate highlights is that “often [people] are not necessarily connecting with what matters to them but rather are starting to be concerned with what others think like friends, prior colleagues and family and whether they will approve of their decision”.

Alternatively, “people worry that it might not look good on their CV. People get worried that they might make a choice that’s not necessarily the right choice and that it will inhibit their growth,” Kate explains. 

So how do we navigate this? Kate tells me that the best way is to “approach it intuitively, listening to what feels right”. 

How do you know if this is the right decision for you?

And now for the big question. Is it the right decision? 

“Ahead of time, you are never going to know. The bottom line is, it’s scary to make a change, so to feel a sense of uncertainty about it is really normal,” Kate says. 

“You are not going to know for sure, but then again once you are in it I think listen to your intuition and if it feels inherently wrong, then you want to listen to that.”

For more advice on moving jobs or making a career change, try this.

Lazy Loading