Careers

Ex-Google career coach: 3 questions to ask yourself before you quit your job

If you aren't inspired at your job and are ready to call it quits, stop and really think about it.

Before you give your two weeks notice, former Google career coach Jenny Blake recommends you try a "career pilot." It's an experiment where you test whether or not you'd like to transition into a new role. Blake has used it to help hundreds of employees figure out their next moves.

"Career pilots are one of the most underutilized but effective ways to add value within the company that you work for or even in your own career," says Blake, a career strategist and the co-founder of Google's career development program.

Instead of packing up and leaving a job (and your main source of income), it's a less risky way of transitioning job roles, Blake explains in her recently published book, "Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One."

"Not all career moves have to be huge ones," Blake says. "You can start really small with a side project that you commit 15 minutes a day or one hour a week to."

Businesswoman working at laptop in lobby
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The first step, she says, is to identify a skill or job title you would want to pivot toward by asking yourself these three questions.

1. Do I enjoy this?

Pitch a project related to this new area to your boss and give it a try. To start the conversation with your boss, Blake recommends saying, "I really would love to work on [X] for 10 percent of my time."

You could also start a book club on the topic or simply start reading more about the new skill, she says.

2. Can I become an expert at it?

Figure out if there are ways you can learn more about this area, Blake recommends. Is there an online class, an after-hours course or someone who can teach you?

3. Is there room to expand in the market?

Try to get a sense of whether your team or company needs these new skills, she recommends. If that search leads to a dead end, see if there is a need for the desired role at other companies.

Blake found success with this method in her own life. Her first role with Google was in Adwords, the search engine's advertising program. But after a few years, she grew tired of the role and was feeling unhappy at work.

Jenny Blake, author of “Pivot” and career strategist
Source: Mark Hanauer
Jenny Blake, author of “Pivot” and career strategist

Once she realized that she enjoyed helping others with their career paths, Blake enrolled in a course to improve her coaching skills. In a chance encounter with a colleague, she found out that Google was looking for someone with these skills for a new role.

Blake got the new job and stayed with the company for several more years. Now, she runs her own business and career strategy firm and writes about career success.

"You would be amazed at how often [a career pilot] can turn into a more robust part of your role later on," Blake says, "oftentimes even creating entirely new roles in the process."