Friday 27 September 2013

I have chosen the wrong career. What do I do?

You suddenly wake up one morning, and you say out loud: 'I don't like my job. I want to resign'. The thought might have been blurring in your mind for some time, possibly months and even years, but when you decide to draw the line - and make that step - you begin to see and feel life in a completely new light.

So what do you do when you decide that you not only hate your job, but you're worried whether you are in the right career at all?

For starters, keep in mind that the grass is not always greener on the other side, and although you may think that by doing other jobs, perhaps in a similar or completely related field, you'll be better off - it's not always this case. An example of this would be a friend of mine, who, from a lawyer (yes, you're reading well!) went on to teaching. She loved every aspect of teaching, but soon realised that it is not an 'easy' job at all.

Muovo would like to share with you the following tips, first provided by Brazen life about what you should do when you find yourself in this (we can dare say quite common) situation:

1. Focus on what you love so much about your career of choice.
Maybe you’re one of those people whose job suddenly went “poof!” Or, all the jobs in your field seemed to evaporate while you were in school. Either way, the lack of jobs doesn’t change your passion for that job. There’s a reason you decided to pursue that particular degree and career.

Figure out what drove you in this direction. Then, start to brainstorm what other careers might require those same skills and passions.

2. Identify what you don’t love so much about your career of choice.
You already know what you like about this career. That’s the easy part. But it also helps to identify what’s unattractive about the field. You may find it hard to accept its faults, but being realistic about the not-so-great qualities of your career path will help you understand and accept why it’s time to move on.

Maybe you love the good that non-profits do, but you don’t love the stress and overwork that come along with the lack of funding. Remember, there are for-profit companies that do work you can feel good about and still help people.

Or, you’re a teacher who loves helping children grow and learn. But as you struggle to stay on top of Common Core Standards with the constant threat of layoffs, administrative meetings and paperwork, your motivation is draining. You could consider becoming a child care provider. As a nanny, for instance, you’d still be instrumental to children’s learning and development, but without as many of the stressful, non-children-focused aspects of the job.

3. Creep on what your former classmates are doing.
You’ve already decided that you need to transition to something else, and now you have a list of the skills and passions you want to take with you to a new role. The next step is to figure out in which direction, exactly, you want to head.

Remember you’re not the only one in this situation. Your classmates are likely going through the same path of exploration as they struggle to find a way to land on their feet without giving up doing what they love.

Now is the perfect time to reconnect and see what they’re up to (or simply creep on their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles to see where they’re working nowadays).

Some will be still trying (and hopefully succeeding) at the original career. Some will have gone back to grad school to start a completely new one. Some will have fallen back on working for their family’s business or might seem like they’re doing nothing much at all.

But there will always be a handful of people who are doing something creative. Use them as inspiration as you decide how to move forward. They may even offer you some connections to get your foot in the door to follow their path.

4. Do what you’ve always wanted to do as you figure it out.
Not having a stable job is stressful, and it’s even more stressful if you don’t know what job you should even look for.

This is your opportunity to focus on something you’ve always wanted to explore but never had time to do.

Look for an internship or start volunteering in a field you’ve always been interested in. When a friend was laid off from his job, he wasn’t quite sure what direction he wanted to head in. While he explored his options, he volunteered at a small local brewery because he loved craft beer and wanted to learn more about the industry.

That’s how he discovered his passion. He now works for a growing microbrewery as a brewer and helps with their marketing. He loves his job—much more than the one he was laid off from.

It can be disheartening when you feel like the world is against you and telling you that you picked the wrong career. But just because everything hasn’t gone according to plan doesn’t mean you have to turn your back to the job you love and go in a completely different direction. By following the above tips, you can just reroute your career GPS to arrive at a new, equally fulfilling destination.

Have you had to change the direction of your career due to forces out of your control? How did you do it?

Nikita Pisani at Muovo


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