Get To Work: With Suzy Welch

Suzy Welch: Ask these 3 questions before changing careers

Do you feel bored, stuck or uninspired by your current career?

You're not alone. In fact, bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch tells CNBC Make It that feeling uncertain about your current career is incredibly common. But before you make a change, there are a few things you should consider to ensure that you're taking the right next step for your career.

Below, Welch shares three questions that she says anyone considering changing their professional trajectory should be able to answer with a hearty "yes."

CNBC Contributor Suzy Welch
CNBC Contributor Suzy Welch

1. Are you sure you don't just need a break?

It's easy to get overwhelmed by the non-stop competition, never-ending changes and the intense pace of today's professional world. The emotional toll can be significant, says Welch, and as a result, "it's not uncommon to hear an 'I just can't do this anymore' voice drumming in our heads."

But before you put in your two weeks' notice, you want to be absolutely certain that that voice isn't just a sign of burnout.

"Don't get me wrong," Welch says, "burnout is real and can feel awful. But it's curable with an extended vacation or change in assignment, both of which your boss may be glad to accommodate, if it means not losing you forever."

"Maybe you really do want to change careers," she says, "but a break of some kind may be a good first step — just to make sure."

2. Do you have the self-confidence and passion to let your ego get crushed for a while?

If you want to make a drastic professional change, you'll need to be prepared to start over at a lower title.

"Very few career changes are lateral, especially if you're over 30," says Welch. In most cases, she says, you have to go backwards in order to gain the necessary experience to move forward. You may have to take a lower position with a pay cut or return to school to learn a new skill. You may even have to be an intern again.

With all of this in mind, she says, you have to honestly ask yourself if you're "ready, willing and able to live though a humbling year — or two, or five?"

3. Does your comfort zone bore you to death?

"The truth is," says Welch, "a professional reinvention only happens if you're willing to do stuff that makes you squirm."

This, she says, could mean attending multiple conferences, striking up conversations with complete strangers, cold calling people and putting in the work to land informational interviews. It could also mean relocating to a different city or state.

"It's scary. I know," she says. "I remember what it felt like when I took the leap from a newspaper reporter to a management consultant. Practically everything I did that first year, I was doing for the first time in my life."

But Welch says it was worth it to put in the work to get acclimated to her new role, "because when you're ready for a career change, the answer to these questions is 'yes.' There are no maybes about it."

Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Instituteand a noted business journalist, TV commentator and public speaker. Think you need Suzy to fix your career? Email her at gettowork@cnbc.com.

Video by Beatriz Bajuelos Castillo

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