Are you desperate to leave your job, but are waiting until you have it all figured out what to do before you take any action?  Do you lie in bed searching through the nooks and crannies of your brain trying to think of something else that could work?  All the time feeling dread and miserable in your current job and feel as though you are on an emotional roller coaster?

There are a number of reasons why we put up with feeling unhappy in our jobs and a key one is because we have absolutely no idea of what else we could do.  We hold onto guilt, we got it wrong last time and we are fearful of making the same mistakes before we make any changes we need to be absolutely clear that this time it will work.  Let me give you a bit of tough love – Let go of this guilt, it’s not helping you and the choices you made in the past are not necessarily wrong, instead, your priorities may have changed.  Secondly, we can never achieve absolute certainty as there are events and influences outside of our control.  However, we can reduce the risk of making a wrong move by implementing these 5 steps to achieve clarity and confidence that just maybe there is something else out there that will fit us. 

Step 1 - Before we start looking at job openings before we start considering the jobs of all our contacts, we need to take a step back and think about this question.  ‘What do I want my life to look like’  Ok it’s a big question, but by starting with the bigger picture we can get clear on finding a career that supports this or helps us move towards our picture.

Perhaps break it down and think about these three areas. 

  1. What do I want to be able to do? – retire before you are 50, take time out to travel, be mortgage-free, send the kids to private school.
  2. What do I want to have? – financial stability, flexibility about where you work, and variety in the work you do, Friday afternoons off.
  3. Who would I like to be? - I don’t mean a teacher, lawyer, astronaut, but instead when people think of you, what do you want their response to be?  In my case, I want to be able to help people improve the quality of their lives and to make them happier, I want to inspire and motivate others to take action.

Now if your inner voice starts telling you, this is unrealistic let go of this inner voice at the moment we are just exploring, this is about making decisions that will get you closer to your ideal, which ultimately will make you happier. 

Step 2 - To find a job that is going to fulfil us we need to feel enthusiastic about it.  Start to acknowledge what you are interested in, what articles grab your attention, what programs do you enjoy, what hobbies you have or thought you would like to try, what are the aspects for your job and past jobs that you have enjoyed doing.  Start to collate a list of all these, no matter how silly they may feel.  Select your top 3, those that start to give you a little tingling feeling or make you feel lighter in your body.

Step 3 - We need to explore our transferrable skills but most importantly identify the ones we enjoy using.  After all, we can be great at listening to people or analysing data, but we may find those are the very parts of our current job that turn us off.    Start by considering proud moments in your career and personal life when you overcame a challenge or found yourself doing something that you hadn’t done before or someone told you, you couldn’t do or you took a risk.  Write down what you can remember about this time and start to identify the skills you were using.  Are there any consistent skills showing up for you?  Select your top 5.

Part of the reason you have not figured out the answer to ‘what else could I do for a career’ is that you have got stuck in your own head, in your own little bubble.  You only have the jobs that you know about that you are aware of to pull from.  You need to step out of your bubble and to do this we engage other people.

Step 4 - Share with as many people as you can your list of interests and skills and ask them what careers come up for them, not what they think you could do as only you have this insight, but all the jobs this conjures up for them in their mind.  Get them to think of as many as possible, no matter how bizarre or unlikely they may feel.  Because each one will then spark other ideas and will have a family of other jobs that will start to appear.

Step 5 – Now it’s time for the fun to begin.  A career change journey is about exploring and enjoying it as you do.  From the list that your friends and family have conjured up, look for those that intrigue you.  Again watch out for the negative inner voice, you are not making any commitment you are just being curious and understanding more about these career areas.  With your selection, start to look for opportunities to meet people in these areas, for chances to experience that world (i.e. volunteering, work shadowing, coffee chats, being a client yourself.)  As you get this exposure start to understand more about how this is making you feel and returning to the first step to get clear on could a role within this area give you the life you have pictured for yourself. 

These steps I use with my clients and for some of you, this may be enough to kick start your own career change journey.  However, if you need someone to back you on your journey as you experience the highs and lows, to motivate you, to challenge your thinking and to help you with the negative moments when your head is telling you, you can’t do this, you haven’t got what it takes, then we should talk and I can share with you if career coaching with me will give you that extra support you need.