Changed your mind about making a career change?

5 tips towards telling people you are staying right where you are

What do you do when everyone around you thinks you are going to change jobs or careers, but you have changed your mind?

Maybe you have only yourself to blame: you told everyone within ear shot that you hate your current job, proclaimed that you are without question smarter than your boss, told the world you are fed up and moving on.

But, whoops! Now you think life as you currently know it is not so bad. You have decided that you really don’t want to go for the CEO role or that it is not the time to step out as a consultant. You are not moving on – but will people think you are a loser if you don’t?

Peer pressure can be a powerful thing. But peer pressure is not a good reason to change your career. You should make your decisions based on a broad range of things – most importantly, whether you can convince yourself that your story for making the change is believable.

I had a client who let the world know that a big career change was coming – for so long that people stopped believing him. Not only did he not make a change, he lost credibility with his colleagues.

Personally, I have always had a habit of getting to a change through telling the story, following the belief that change is often more obvious in the telling than in the living. My way of making a decision is to present options to close and trusted friends and colleagues and observe – not their reaction – but mine. Is this a believable story – to me?

The key is managing your story. This does not mean putting a spin on it or creating propaganda. It means telling your authentic story, which can – and should – evolve and change over time.

Here are my top tips for managing your story when you have decided to stay put:

Just tell it – You may have had a different story last week or last month, but now it has evolved. Tell it like it is – don’t apologize for the change.

Tell people why – while you don’t need to apologize, it is a good idea to give people a solid reason for the change. For example: “I was contemplating a move, but upon reflection, I decided I still have more that I can learn and contribute in my current role.”

Frame things for the future – you may want to set things up for future changes so that people are not surprised when you announce a further change. For example: “While I am fully committed to what I am doing now, I will continue to explore options over the next few months.

Ask for the help you need – if you know you will need help (networking, introductions, advice on advancing your skills) to make a change in the future, incorporate that into your story. Such as: “I am not sure yet exactly the move I may make – or even if and when I will make a move – but I do know that I would benefit from meeting more people in the medical technology field. I wonder if you can help me with that?”

Speak with confidence and authenticity – people will believe you if you believe yourself. You don’t want to come across as hesitant or unsure of your decision – you have made it, now own it!

Once again, the power of telling a strong, believable story cannot be over-estimated.