When we have made the decision to change our careers but are still working through the transition, it can be hard to maintain motivation. You are starting to let go of what was once part of your identity but still not clear on what the future looks like. This period in between can be challenging as we struggle to be present in our jobs (often keeping our intentions secret) while collecting the final pieces of the jigsaw which will enable us to write the resignation letter and say adios!

If you are feeling like this you are not alone, and this is something every single one of my career change clients has struggled with at some point, in fact, it’s part of the process and something we shouldn’t ignore but instead be aware of and try to manage as best we can.

Here are my top 12 ways to maintain motivate in a career you want to leave.

  1. Start to focus on taking care of yourself. A career change can be challenging and can be time-consuming, it’s important that we equip ourselves with tools and techniques to build our resilience. When our energy reserves are low we have less resilience, our inner critic will become more prevalent, our fears become heightened, our confidence plummets and as a result, we can slow down or sometimes give up on our plans. Pre-empt this by taking a proactive approach to your self- care, make sure you are re-energizing your body and mind. Start to understand your needs, what does your body, your mind need to keep your positive.
  2. Shine a light on what is positive. Ok so your job may be boring, or your boss may have the biggest sloping shoulders ever, but focusing on what is wrong, what is not working is only going to pull you down further and make this transition period harder. Instead focus on what you can do, what you can achieve or have and try to avoid focusing on what you can’t; or what you don’t have, you are doing something about this and it is only a matter of time.
  3. Limit your exposure to negative Nellies and seek Pollyannas. We all have colleagues who have nothing good to say, the instant you see them you internal sigh. When we are struggling to remain positive, spending time with negative nellies will only intensify these feelings. Remember the saying ‘negativity breeds negativity’ and let’s face it you don’t need any more. Be tactical and try to avoid or limit the amount of time you spend in the company of people who drain you.
  4. Plan your holiday. Think about when we were at school every 6 to 7 weeks we would have a holiday so we could step away and rejuvenate. Are you doing this? Why not book regular time off, you can always cancel.
  5. Get clear on where the problem is. This is critical on two fronts, by identifying what exactly is causing the issue you may be able to do something about it and secondly when you are in a position to change jobs you want to manage this problem and not take it with you. By being clear on the cause you can start to understand what you need to change and whether moving companies, changing careers or just bosses is the solution. 
  6. Set clear boundaries. Do you really need to work past 6 pm or are you putting pressure on yourself? Try to look at your schedule and identify how you can start to spend less time at work. Perhaps a goal like stopping work no later than 5.30 twice a week. After all, if you hate your job why spend more time than you need to. To do this look at your list of things to do and prioritise them. What absolutely has to be done today, what would be good and what can wait. A question I would use myself at the end of the day would be – what is the issue if this waits until tomorrow and quite often the answer would be there isn’t one, I could then switch off and leave, I gave myself permission to stop. Another boundary is making sure you don’t offer to do something that either isn’t your work to do or someone else could do. Always wanting to please and hating silence when a volunteer was requested I would always put my hand up. If you are planning on leaving you need to let others step up, you need to allow the team to get used to not relying on you.  Learning how to set boundaries now will also help you as you move onto your next career.
  7. Be smart with when you do what.  When you have a dreaded task to do or a difficult conversation to have and you just don't have the desire or energy to do it, it can be hard.  Tackling these activities at the start of your working day allows you to get them out of the way and stop the worry or the dread taking over.  Also, the morale boost when you have completed the work can spur you on and maybe combine it with a small incentive. “When I do this I can have a coffee break and a piece of chocolate!”
  8. Opportunities to modify your role or the way in which you work? Start by being clear about the parts of your role that you still enjoy and/or interest you, is there more opportunity to do work or projects that align with these skills and interests, get creative and don't wait to be asked, put a proposal forward.
  9. Develop your skills and interests. Feeling and knowing we are taking positive action can help us through the tough times. Maybe you have identified skills that you want to develop, use this transition time to find opportunities to do this.  There are many free materials available on the internet or if this is a skill you already have that you want to practice identify a way to do this. However, if you are not sure which direction you wish to take your career in next look at what you find interesting and explore it. For example, you may be interested in moving into the fitness world or starting your own business, uncover what free resources are available that will enable you to gain more insight into this area for you.
  10. Build new connections. People lead to opportunities and jobs. Look for new connections (they can be internal or external to your organisation) who are currently in areas of interest to you. Ask for 20 minutes of their time virtually or in-person (if this is possible) and ask them how they got into their career and what it is really like. These conversations can be powerful in developing your understanding and testing assumptions of what you think a profession is really like. Social media is a great vehicle for this and doesn’t limit your geography. Many platforms will have groups that you may want to consider joining.
  11. Ensure you are having fun outside of work. When we are so entrenched in our work, if we are unhappy it can take over. Try to look at how you can strike more of a balance and see if this changes your perspective.
  12. Take control of your career change. Start to get a clear plan on what you do want and then you can build and implement your exit plan, to help you take a look at this free workbook or even schedule a time to review this free hour recorded training. Or make a new connection with me and let us see how I can help you.

If you found this useful take a look at these articles to help you make a career change with confidence and clarity.