I want to change my career!
It’s Sunday evening and you’re dreaming of not having to go to work tomorrow. Wishing you could magically change career and have something really exciting and fulfilling to do. Something with a purpose, where you’re not micro-managed, where you’re appreciated and valued. Where you also have time for a life with those who mean the most to you.
But… you might have to retrain, it’s expensive, you have commitments, you don’t really know what it is you want to do or could do instead. So, you get your head down and go to sleep knowing that you’re going to get up in about 8 hours time, get in the car and go to the same place, to do the same stuff with the same people. Just like you always do. Just like thousands of other people.
Is this it?
I know how it feels because 4 years ago, I felt the same way. There wasn’t anything dreadfully wrong with my place of work. In fact, I had loved working there. The pay was good. There were lots of good reasons for staying put but there was a voice in my head that was getting louder and louder. It kept saying: “Is this it?”
Having taken the plunge and transforming my life from being employed as a retail manager to being self-employed as a career coach, I’ve reflected that we all have 3 ways to make a change in our careers. (Arguably, I didn’t do it the right way either!)
1 Wait for Fate
Many people, when they’ve got over the initial shock, begin to see redundancy as the best thing that ever happened to them. It was an opportunity to change their life, to retrain, to do something they never would have done otherwise. I’m glad for them because the alternative was staying on their old hamster-wheel until they retired.
Staying in a job that no longer floats your boat can also cause a dip in performance that unchecked can lead to disciplinary action or even dismissal. Recovering your career after you’ve been given the sack is really tough. Not impossible but yes – let’s not beat around the bush – it’s tough.
Waiting for fate to decide when you turn your career around is a dangerous game. You’re putting yourself in to a situation where you feel like you’re a victim of circumstances.
Not only do we not enjoy being in victim mode, what if they never do get rid of you?
2 Leave on your knees
Hard-working, conscientious employees who are known as a reliable, safe pair of hands often become disillusioned, stressed and eventually sick. Disillusioned because you don’t feel appreciated, however hard you work. Stressed because no-one else seems to care/help / understand. Sick because it’s hard to thrive under this kind of emotional strain. This situation can make you feel more like a martyr than a victim and you just keep on, keeping on.
Given that denial is a common symptom of this situation, your body starts sending you signals that something needs to give. You’re not listening to the people who love you when they say things like: “You’re working too hard; you need to slow down.”
So your body throws you a curveball. You might come down with every bug and its sister (and still carry on). You might feel like you could sleep for your country; you’re so tired, but then suffer from insomnia. Or (like me) your body might bring you to a complete halt with an injury. I still don’t know how I slipped a disc sitting in my office chair!
In this situation, push comes to shove and you know that you need to get out and do something different. This can lead you to make rash decisions. “That’s it, I quit!” you say and realise that you actually mean it.
Hopefully, it all turns out alright in the end.
3 Plan Your Escape!
This third way is clearly the least stressful, most productive and least dangerous route you can choose. When you feel like you might recognise some of the emotions and situations I described earlier, it’s time (and never too late) to make a plan.
Take some time out to assess your situation, to reflect on how it’s come about and to recognise your part in that. Then start to do some research. Get curious and really use your imagination to discover what it is you would love to do instead.
Finally, start networking, talk to some people. Hire a coach; we can really help! Prepare yourself for a brave new experience. Create your CV, write your business plan. Make it happen!
You’re in charge. Even making the decision to do some research can make your day job a bit more bearable.
I don’t have time!
Ooh, did I just hear you say that you don’t have time? Make the time. This is important. You’d find time for your friend, your partner, your parent or your child. Without you, they’d be bereft so make the time for yourself before you end up in one of the first two scenarios or worse still you get to retirement age and you’re full of regrets.
Be pro-active now so that you don’t need to be reacting to a situation that’s out of your control later. You can do it. You deserve to be happy and fulfilled. And, as they say on the shampoo advert, you are worth it!
Copyright: Louise Jenner 2017