Soul searching: Are you ready for a meaningful career change?

Sixty percent of employees are now considering it

Soul searching: Are you ready for a meaningful career change?

Sixty percent of employees are now considering a real career change. COVID-19 has inadvertently sparked an era of soul searching – pushing employees to really think about their lives, their goals, and their future plans.

HRD spoke to Dr Vidya Shah, assistant professor in the Faculty of Education at York University and staunch follower of issues of equity and justice. Dr Shah revealed how to know if it’s time to put your career soul searching into action.

“It all starts with the five C's,” Dr Shah told HRD. “The first theme is contribution - asking yourself real questions around how you are contributing to the wellbeing of others. Are you doing the most you can to build a humane world?

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“That’s such a soul-searching question – and it leads on to the theme of context. What are the structural barriers to access and opportunity that we might help remove, given the work that we’re in, to create a more just and humane world? Then comes this notion of connection. Are you working to foster opportunities for greater connection, both to yourself and to others? Fourthly, we have challenge. Are you being challenged to grow and change in ways that are generative and exciting for you?

“Finally comes capacities. Are there other possibilities for greater alignments between your skills, interests, and your daily work? And if not, are you looking to develop particular skills or engage with different kinds of knowledge in order to create greater alignment? Those are some important questions for folks that are considering a career change. Remember, it all begins with this idea of self-reflection in the context of what's happening in the larger society.”

The pandemic has spurred on this global self-reflection, with remote work giving employees the time and space to dig deep.

“Right now, so many people are really questioning everything - from the purpose of life to how we engage with one another, the kinds of communities we’re part of to how we go about co-existing in society,” continued Dr Shah. “And once the pandemic is over, we’ll see the exacerbated impact of long-standing inequities in politics, economics, social services, and the public sector. These are really important questions for us to be grappling with – and ones we should have been grappling with all along. A pandemic, something of this magnitude, forces that kind of questioning, both individually and collectively.”

In that vein, Dr Shah revealed a new program on offer at York University - Master of Leadership and Community Engagement degree program (MLCE) – which focuses on leading and fostering social change.

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“It's a professional master's degree program that prepares graduates to advance in leadership roles, both in the public sector and in community settings,” she told HRD. “It attracts candidates from all sectors – the main thing they have in common is a drive to facilitate meaningful social change. We really focus on deepening their understanding of leadership and community-based research for the purpose of social justice. The ideal candidate, I would say, is somebody who has experience in community settings, and is simply looking to delve deeper and make stronger connections between theory, research and their own practice. Somebody that enjoys or can come to appreciate online learning environments.”

Are you looking to upskill and make a meaningful career change? Tell us in the comments.

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