It’s a feeling we have all felt at some point in our career: feeling like you’re stuck in a rut. It’s a pretty ambiguous feeling: you do like your job, but you feel there might be more and you just don’t get that excited about your career anymore. Especially working in corporate it can be easy to ignore these feelings as you’ve worked hard to get where you are and you are proud of your accomplishments. But if you still feel there might be more for you, it might be worth checking out what’s going on.
When it comes to making a career change there are many things that might be holding you back, from feeling scared to not yet knowing what exactly you do want. A good starting point to making a change in your career is taking some time to find out exactly what it is that might be holding you back.
1. You don’t know what you want
Knowing what you want is an important first step in making a change and sometimes the biggest challenge. If thinking about what you want doesn’t really get you anywhere, you can ask yourself some different questions. Instead of just asking: What do I want? Ask yourself questions like: Do I want a job with more autonomy? Do I want more responsibility? Do I want to be more creative in my job?
Another way of approaching things is to ask yourself what it is you definitely don’t want. What are your deal-breakers? What are things you really don’t like in your current role?
Knowing what you want - and even better - knowing what your purpose is can really act as an anchor in your career. For some people their purpose is obvious, for other people it’s a little harder to figure out.
To get closer to what you want, it is important to really know yourself. What are your strengths and your values? What is important to you? What gives you energy and what makes you happy? Take some time to reflect on what your mission in life is. What is the specific impact you want to have in the world?
When it’s hard to answer these questions, look for the common thread in your life. What are things that just interest you (maybe even without knowing why) and give you tremendous joy just for the sake of doing them?
2. You’re too comfortable
Feeling stuck is often a feeling that can be easy to ignore, especially when your job has a lot of benefits in some way or another. You might feel completely confident in your current role, which makes a career change where you have to start at the bottom seem a bit daunting. Or you are used to the financial benefits of your job and the thought of taking a step back financially is unappealing to you or maybe even impossible.
Be aware of what is making you comfortable in your current job. Is it working from home? The nice coffee? A good paycheck? Extra holidays? Now think of the moment when you felt most happy in your life. What was present there? Did any of the things that make you intensely happy have anything to do with the things that keep you comfortable in your job? If the answer is no, look for change.
Now look ahead at the end of your life. Would you be proud of where you are today? What advice would you give your future you?
3. You’re too scared to make a change.
There’s no doubt about it, making a change can be scary. But if it scares you, it probably means it is something you really want and care about.
If you feel that it’s fear that is holding you back, focus on the things that give you energy. What gets you excited? What makes your heart beat just a little faster? It might be scary to pursue, but if it scares you, it probably also means it is something you really want and care about. Focus on identifying your personal strengths, what gives you energy and think about how you can further improve these things.
Taking steps towards a career you love is worth it. Making a change may take weeks, months or even years. But the most important thing is to start taking small steps which will eventually lead you to a career you love.