Need a Change? Here's Where to Look First

Does it feel like time for a change in your career? There's one simple strategy for career shifts that many of us overlook. It’s one I didn’t consider early on in my career but that I used three times during my 14 years at Deloitte.  

It is really this simple: Explore the possibilities at your existing company. Too often people jump to options outside their organizations first.

Just Ask

When I left Deloitte in 1995, I had convinced myself that the career options I wanted just wouldn’t be available at the firm. And as I have coached leaders over the years, I’ve heard them share stories of employees who don’t give their managers or other leaders a chance before they decide to leave. They often convince themselves that the company could never give them what they want — whether that's a better salary, a more flexible schedule or a different role.

But trust me, in a competitive job market, companies can get creative and make things happen. If you have consistently performed and demonstrated value, most companies will work hard to retain you because it makes a lot of business sense. I learned this lesson after I got recruited back to Deloitte in 1997, and went on to work there for 10 more years (switching groups three times during that period). Remember that it starts with you — your willingness to simply ask for what you want.

Focus on Your Intent

So, if it really is this simple, what gets in the way? Usually it’s what you value. For example, you may worry about how others will view you or how a move might affect your work relationships or your reputation.

Recently, one of my clients thought about switching jobs within his company but was concerned that his boss and other leaders would question his loyalty and commitment. I could certainly relate. When I changed groups at Deloitte, I felt strongly about not burning any bridges. To help my client overcome his fear, I asked him to focus on his intent, which was to find a way to pursue his passion and to leverage his skills in a way that felt impactful. By incorporating this language into his approach, he became more confident about having the conversation in a positive way.

We also discussed how to frame the conversation to clarify that his decision was about moving toward a role that was a better fit for him, rather than trying to leave a bad situation or group behind. Finally, we thought through how he wanted to show up in the conversation. This helped him better reinforce his key messages with his tone and body language.

So if you're looking for a change in your career, consider giving your current company a chance first before you jump ship. Your company may surprise you. And you can make the move in a way that's true to who you are and what you value.