Managing Director, Ambition Hong Kong
Should I move over to the 'dark side'?
I have been working in various editorial departments for about 10 years now and I have noticed more and more of my colleagues making the jump to the "dark side" - public relations and corporate communications. I can see why - better money, more opportunities, brighter future. All of which are obviously very appealing to me, and I have to admit I've been eyeing a few job opportunities. The extra money would be nice, but I am just not sure I could really feel happy in such a role. What do you think? Frank West
Making decisions about your career is often difficult - especially when you have worked in similar roles and environments for a while and have developed a degree of comfort about what you are doing.
You need to build a picture of your current situation and the potential alternatives and how they can match your current range of strengths, preferences and career goals.
Begin with a thorough self-analysis. Write down what you enjoy and what you do not enjoy about the work you do, and review your strengths and development areas. Use the opinions of others as provided in casual conversations, as well as official performance appraisals.
Review the different departments in which you have worked and identify those where you have been successful and those you have enjoyed the most, and why. Likewise, consider those you have not enjoyed as much or have not prospered in, and why.
Usually being successful at work and enjoying the culture are connected, but not always.
The next stage is to meet with former colleagues and ask them about their experiences of their new jobs and companies. Find out how they articulate the benefits (described in your question as better money, more opportunities, and brighter future) and the negatives.
If something sounds too good to be true, it often is. There are likely to be drawbacks such as longer hours, greater stress and potentially fewer holidays. You need to find out what they are.
You should add into the mix your career and life goals. What do you wish to achieve in the next few years in terms of job satisfaction and security, career development and salary advancement?
Once you have all this information you can start to make a more informed decision about whether you should stay in your current role or kind of work, or consider making a move to "the dark side", as you call it .
This will be a valuable exercise to undertake even if you decide to stay in your current role and line of work, because it means you will have made a positive decision to do so rather than being there by virtue of making no decision at all.
Good luck with your career investigation!