This is one of the big questions that has the potential to hold us back in our decision-making process when considering a career opportunity. We want to know that the move is going to make our lives better and that we will flourish in our next career.  While we can’t ever have 100% certainty there are several things we can do to help us gain more insight into whether this career move will prove to be the right one.

When you buy a house you will go and look at it, perhaps several times, at different times of the day to check the traffic, the sunlight. When we buy a car we will go for a test drive to see how comfortable it is to sit in, how it handles and our visibility of the road.

In the same way, we test can drive new career moves, we go to the offices to get a feel for the working environment and the culture. We meet with people in the organisation to understand how we may fit in and maybe we experience being a client ourselves to have an understanding of the products and services. With each of these experiences, we can gain a greater appreciation of how this career opportunity would work for us, we can assess its’ suitability. The more ways we can find to test our next move the more informed we can be in making our decision as this enables us to challenge assumptions and beliefs and work with facts.

When we are testing a potential move we are looking to understand three main factors:

  1. How does it make me feel, will I be happier?
  2. Can I do the job, will I be successful?
  3. How will it fit my life?

How does it make me feel? This the gut test when our body is acting as our compass. We want to take notice of how it is responding before our head kicks in and all the questions, fears and ‘ah buts’ emerge. We are searching for evidence of a positive connection, signs of excitement and possibility. We are looking to see if we feel energised by this potential move, is there a level of excitement building in your tummy, do you start to feel hopeful and intrigued? One client described this as an 'inner glow'; she could feel her body warming the dimmer light switch was being turned up. Something about this opportunity is striking a cord a connection with you.

However, if you find those feelings are more of dread, perhaps you start to notice a pit in your stomach, rounding of the shoulders and a feeling of the lights being dimmed this would suggest the move is not something that is going to feel you with joy and increase your levels of happiness.

Our second test is to understand are abilities to do the job. We want to know that we have the skills or are willing to train to get the skills to perform in the role. We want to know that we will enjoy performing these skills and will be good at it. A key point to emphasise is to find greater happiness in a move we want to spend more time engaged in skills we enjoy. For example, you may be great at analysis but you don’t enjoy it, therefore a role that requires you to use your analytical skills for the majority of the time is not going to make you happier although you may get great performance reviews! If you love problem-solving a role that requires you to do this 10% of the time will not satisfy you as much as a job that requires you to use problem-solving skills 60% of your working time. Finding ways to test the potential career move, will deepen our understanding of the skills needed and our enjoyment and ability to perform them.

Lastly is our test to understand how this career option will fit into your life. Will it make you happier?  You have identified what you want and/or need to earn, the hours you want to work, the blend between your work and personal life you want to achieve. The vision you have for yourself. As you collect more information through your testing you will start to get clarity on whether this opportunity will take you closer to achieving your needs and aspirations…and if not…. Ask yourself why you would say yes to this opportunity if there is no easy answer then this in itself is a sign.

To understand if a career move is going to be right for you, consider how your body responds.  Understand how you will be spending your time and how you feel about this and consider if it will take you closer to what you want for yourself and your loved ones.  By using these tests you will have greater confidence and clarity in your decision.