Dear Shannon: Should I switch companies or just my CSR job?

Dear Shannon is a career advice column for sustainability professionals and wanna-be professionals. If you have a question for Shannon, send it to shannon@walkoflifeconsulting.com.

Dear Shannon,

This is quite a broad question, so please bear with me. Lately, I've been reading about happiness projects, happiness skills and the happiness economy, which has made me think about my career. At the moment, I'm running community investment programs for a solar energy company in Oslo. As much as I think I love my job, I wonder if I could be happier in another company or even in another role within CSR. How can I decide if I need to jump ship now, later or stay put?

-- Jaz, Oslo

Hello Jaz,

One of my favorite quotes is from Dale Carnegie: "It isn't what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about."

When I work with clients on their career change decisions, I try to help them unpack the difference between the perceived reality of what a job change might look like and the reality of actually making that change: what it would feel like sitting at a new desk, in a new job, with new colleagues.

Sometimes our craving for something new and unknown is what keeps us from feeling happy with what we have. But while it is important to resist the urge for change simply for change's sake, it is equally important to continue challenging ourselves in order to grow professionally, and thereby feel happy.

Weighing the balance on this decision requires careful handling. I'd advise you to do a reality check on your dream of doing something else, somewhere else. First, identify your options if you were to move: Would it be to an equivalent position at another company, to a different position within your current company, or a different position at a new company? Do a job search for each scenario and see if anything appeals to you. If it does, make contact with the employer and monitor your own reaction. What feelings come up? Perhaps do some research on the companies through their website and social media to visualize what it would be like to work there, warts and all.

Greener pastures image by Anneka via Shutterstock.

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