• jennyburrow

Why Focusing on Job Titles is Limiting Your Career Change

One of the mistakes I see people making when they want to change careers or generally feel happier at work, is they focus too much on the WHAT of their career, i.e. their job title.

When you ask the question “what job or career would suit me?”, you’re kind of expecting the answer to be a job title or specific role (like doctor, accountant, data analyst…) right?

I don’t blame you! That’s how we’re taught to think about careers at school, and it’s how job adverts and search websites are designed and organised.

And of course it's true that there are definitely roles out there that will be more suited to your personality and experience, and some that definitely aren’t (!), but finding work that really lights you up is about so much more than your job title.

The “what” is only one component of your work.

Yes it’s an important one, but it’s supported by a cast of Ws that also have a big effect on how fulfilled and motivated you feel at work.

I find that, for most of my clients, it's just as important, and often even more important, to focus on the WHO, WHERE, HOW and WHY of their career, not just the WHAT.

You might be thinking, what on earth are you talking about Jenny? But bear with me!

You could have the same job title at two different companies and have a completely different experience.

Or even at the same company in two different years or under different managers or leadership teams.

And looking for your next step based solely on a job title is so limiting.

Once you understand your who, where, how and why, it opens up so many new possibilities!

Both for adapting your current role to make it more fulfilling, and for exploring new opportunities.

So how do you start thinking in terms of who, where, how and why?

I wish these four words created a really cool acronym but WWHW isn't very catchy is it... 🤔

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to get clearer on “everything but the what”.


  • Do you like to work as part of a team, or on your own?

  • Do you get more satisfaction from creating impact at an individual, team, company or society level?


  • What’s important to you about the environment you work in? Open plan? Your own space? Working from home or working in an office? Indoors or outdoors?

  • Do you thrive working in the same space every day, or do you love change and variety?


  • What types of tasks really play to your strengths? Writing? Researching? Presenting? Organising? Working with your hands?

  • What tasks engage and energise you?


  • What gives you a sense of purpose and meaning? This doesn’t have to be something big, you can find real meaning and purpose in “everyday” activities.

  • Imagine you’re a happy, healthy 90 year old looking back over your life. What do you want to feel most proud of? What stories and achievements do you want to be telling to other people?

These questions are really just scratching the surface, but should give you the idea and hopefully even spark a few little light bulbs.

You can use your answers to these questions (and you know I’m going to encourage you to write your answers down!) to:

  • Identify what’s not working for you in your current role, and therefore what changes you can make right now to feel happier at work;

  • Generate new ideas by asking questions based on your who, what, how and why, not just your what (e.g. “what roles involve working in a team and conducting research?”);

  • Create new connections based on your how and why, to generate more possibilities and opportunities;

  • Get clear on what’s really important to you in your next role, so you can narrow down and focus your search with confidence.


Getting unstuck when you’re feeling frustrated and unfulfilled in your career can feel hard and daunting.

Hopefully these questions will help you to gain clarity, generate new ideas and feel motivated and inspired to keep moving forwards on your journey to creating a career you love!

If you’d love some support with that, click here to book a free 30-minute call with me.

It’s an opportunity for you to talk about what’s going on for you right now, what you’d love to be happening, and what’s getting in your way.


Been feeling frustrated and unfulfilled at work for a while now?

Whether you're sort of considering career change, or definitely planning one, take my free quiz now to discover what stage of the career change journey your at, what you career change personality style is, and what your personalised next steps are to help you get unstuck and start creating a career you love!

Take the quiz and get clarity on your next steps in just a few minutes.

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