Hypotheses to Explore Before Changing Jobs

-- guest post by Jessica Journey, MPA, CFRE

thinker.jpegI recently made a series of difficult decisions and changed jobs.  I know many young nonprofit professionals who have experienced similar circumstances - weighing the pros and cons of staying versus leaving - and ultimately decided to transition to a different organization.

Hopefully this post will help you make the most of that decision to change job!  I will share with you how I formed and tested "hypotheses" during my job change, and I encourage you to do so too.

Before I changed jobs, I identified 3 big topics that I wanted to explore.  These became my hypotheses to test.  Then, I set up calendar reminders to reflect on my hypotheses 30, 60 and 90 days into the job transition.

Is this sub-sector really for me?
I had a feeling that my true niche was faith-based fundraising.  But I wanted to know for certain, and my current job serves as perfect testing ground.  So, as I transitioned back to a Christian school, I kept this question at the forefront.  Whenever I was integrating faith and fundraising, I paid extra attention and reflected.  Is this my best self?  Does it come naturally to me?  Could I imagine doing this even more?

Is this commute do-able?
My current job challenges me with my longest commute ever.  An hour in the car each day seemed like a daunting task because I wondered where the extra hour would come from?  Is that my workout time?  Is that time with my child or husband?  Is that unscheduled "free" time?  I monitor this time impact weekly to make sure I'm prioritizing what is most important to me.

Am I ready for the career "next step"?
Many fundraisers aspire to be consultants, but is that what is next for me?  I've completed a Master's degree, earned by CFRE international credential, and served as a fundraiser for a decade.  In fundraising, I had experience in:  doubling a department and starting one from scratch.  But I had never restructured a department.  This job allows me to test myself with this challenge and determine if I am ready to consult.

Whether you are exploring sub-sectors, geography, or long-term career goals, be intentional with each career decision and job change.  Identify questions, test yourself, and gain helpful feedback on your career journey.

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