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Thinking of a career switch? Figure out what you want to do with these questions.

May • 19th, 2021
by Geneviève Retzlaff, Certified Career Coach

Career coaching for expats in Germany

Questions to ask when you are considering a career switch 


In my last blog post (Career switch as an expat? 5 questions to jumpstart self-reflection), we explored some questions to help you reflect on whether or not you are pursuing the right career. 


If that process has made you realize that a career switch would be more fulfilling, this blog post will give you some guidance as to what to do next.  


In this self-assessment process, taking your time to let your new thoughts simmer and sit for a while will be key in making a change that can stand the test of time. The last thing you want to do is to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire, ending up in a new job that still isn't right for you, so make sure to ponder the following questions carefully and give them the time they need. This part has proven to be especially challenging for expats since we’re often in a rush to get back to our independent self and we’re naturally attracted to quick fixes instead of giving this transition process a real chance. 


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Figure out what you want to do


Here are the steps I take my own career coaching clients through, to help them work out the work they are designed to do.


What are your natural talents?

It could be anything. It does not have to be something that you use in your current or pre-expat jobs. For example, you could be an amazing cook and be an interior designer.


Of those talents, are there any that you’re passionate about?

A great indicator that your talent and passion are aligned, is the amount energy performing it gives you. If it is something that makes you feel particularly alive, then that’s definitely something you want to write down


What skills have you learned?

What we want to emphasize here is what you are trained for. What skills did you learn throughout your time in academia and in your professional life? By writing them all down, you will later be able to use those to assess which ones are transferable to the new career of your choice.


What is your experience?

Here, we want to focus on the experiences that are not that obvious. For example, if you’re in a leadership position and in your job you have to perform interviews with candidates, then you can add to the list that you have experience in recruiting or interviewing.


What are the work skills you enjoy vs those you don’t like to perform?

This will give you an indication of the career choices you can eliminate straight away. For example, I am running my coaching business. The core skills I have and love to use, are coaching, active listening, empathising, intuiting, and many more. One I don’t like to use as a business owner is accounting. Everyone has a list of those daunting tasks that they will always procrastinate on. What are yours?


What kind of work environment do you enjoy?

When you envision yourself doing your best work, are you in a bustling office or are you someone who enjoys being in a home-office in peace and quiet? Or a mix? How did the pandemic work for you in this perspective?


What keeps calling out to you?

This might sound a little woo woo BUT, it bears consideration. Some of us are just so good at convincing ourselves that a lie is true. And sometimes, what is calling out to us is just not convenient right now in our lives and would require too big a change and we’re just not ready for that. Well, you might want to write it down and come back to it every couple days until it starts seeming more manageable.


You've answered the questions - what is next? 


When you sit down to reflect on these questions, you’ll notice patterns beginning to appear. Pay attention to those patterns because they’re indicators of what your dream job could be.


Once you’ve identified the work you are designed to be doing, we can explore how to liberate yourself from your own limiting stories. Stay tuned for my next blog post on that topic!


If you need some help, I'm here!


It can be hard to draw out all the relevant skills and experiences and to spot the patterns in your career path to date, so a second pair of eyes can be very helpful here. If you’re part of the Expat in the City community, you get a free and non-binding 2-hour assessment call with me. If you think you could use some support to work through identifying the work you are designed to do, you can book this call with me by clicking right here.


The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” – Mark Twain



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Genevieve Retzlaff Expat Career Coach

Geneviève Retzlaff is a certified career coach, an expat herself and a valued member of the Expat in the City Expert Network. Find out more about Geneviève and how she can help you.

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