By Bethany Seton
Stuck in a rut when it comes to your working life? It’s a common predicament. So many of us want to change our career path, but it can seem like a daunting, even insurmountable challenge.
Once you get stuck in a routine, and get used to your salary - especially one which grows gradually with each passing year - it’s easy to stay where you are, watch the days roll past, and keep on treading on the hamster wheel.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way! More and more people are using their current skill sets or retraining entirely to find themselves more exciting and fulfilling jobs which enrich their lives. Say goodbye to drudgery, and get ready to take a step into the unknown.
The Big Question - WHY?
Studies show that an overwhelming number of people dislike or even hate their jobs. Many office jobs require a level of ‘dumbing down’ when it comes to interaction, long hours for little reward is commonplace, and you might feel like you’re going nowhere and wasting your talents. Hating your job is a good reason to think about changing it, but first, shift perspective by thinking positively. Adopting a growth mindset can help you look at other things you could be doing and may be the most effective way to take a step toward a brighter future.
A new job or a new career?
Is it your workplace, your colleagues, the general atmosphere, or bizarre protocol that is driving you mad? Perhaps you actually enjoy the work you have to do. In this case, the task becomes simpler - you may just need a change of scenery. Look for similar jobs in different organizations - your skill set should be more than adequate.
And remember, if you get an interview don’t moan about your old company or boss; share that you are looking for a fresh start, and to develop your career further. A new career may require additional training in your intended area of work, but whichever area you’re interested in moving into, there is bound to be a course for you.
A New Career
OK, this is a bigger step. Depending on what it is you want to do, how qualified and experienced you are in that field could make it a walk in the park to change careers, or it could involve pay cuts, long working days and moments of self-doubt, disillusionment and the occasional “What have I done??” popping up in the back of your head.
Remember to be goal-focused, and divide your goals into small, manageable tasks. Skills you might have taken for granted in your former job come to the forefront when building a new career - communication, negotiation, and problem-solving.
Look Before You Leap
Before you storm into your boss’s office brandishing a resignation note, it might be worth doing some extra-curricular training - dipping your toe in the water so to speak. Many workshops, seminars, and specialized accredited courses are available for all kinds of career changes which give advice on retraining, rethinking, and reimagining. Setting up your own business, for example, requires a very different mindset than working for someone else.
Network. Talk to people who have found themselves in a similar situation, ask them what they did to get out of it and make a success of their new venture. And, of course, ask them about the pitfalls they encountered along the way. You’ll learn from your own mistakes, that’s for sure, but if you can learn from someone else’s, even better!
Build a Non-Work Network
Let your friends and family know what you’re doing. Let them know that you might be scrounging a meal from time to time. Building your own business or changing careers entirely is a stressful undertaking, so it helps to have kindness, understanding, and encouragement from those closest to you.
OK, we mentioned pay-outs before. Now, depending on what it is you want to do (maybe you’re an investment banker who wants to open a jewelry boutique), you’ll most likely be looking at a pay cut until you get going, or your new career may be rewarding in ways not reflected in your new paycheck. Adjust your lifestyle accordingly. Budget for things in advance, turn down or reduce those cocktail party invites, look for budget vacations – or even staycations!
Unhappiness in our careers is a leading cause of depression and anxiety in the modern world. But it’s possible to change. I sit here, warm at home, writing this now, whereas three years ago I sat miserably in an open plan office wondering what I was doing with my life. Admittedly, I make less money for now, but I am much happier. Change is possible and it is there for the taking. Be brave, be bold, be lucky (remember that luck seeks out the bold), and make the change!