It is Monday morning and you have woken up with that familiar unease, that comes hand in hand with the start of your working week. Why? Because your current job or career as a whole is just not doing it for you anymore. You are in a career rut but how did you get here?
I don't know about you but when I was a teenager I thought I had my career path all mapped out. I knew what I wanted to do and how I intended to achieve this. I didn't even think about a plan B, as plan A was going to work and that was that.
A few years on it suddenly occurred to me that maybe I could do with having a plan B. I had got to a cornerstone of my career; where what I was doing was no longer challenging me. I wasn't learning anything any more and if I'm brutally honest I was bored. As an ambitious career women this was certainly not a place I felt comfortable staying in.
The manner in which I was working plus my general perfectionism had also started to take it's toll on my health (which is a whole other blog!!).
What to do?
What was I to do especially since I had only ever known the industry I had studied and built my career on?
My story is not unusual, in fact it's becoming more and more common. Many women will find themselves questioning their chosen career path at some point during during their working life. Life changes, our commitments and priorities change, so it is only natural that our ideas of our prefect career will change right?
Why is then that it can be really difficult to get our selves out of our career rut?
Well here are a few reasons I've learnt along the way:
- The big "What If " thought pops its ugly head up shouting you can't honestly be thinking of changing career now???
- MR FEAR then joins the conversation and tells you that you will fail at anything new
- Your comfort zone comes and wraps a blanket around you, whispering please stay you are safe in your current career. You are an expert so why change?
- Your bank balance would not talk to you ever again if you up and left your current position
- You put the old worry hat on and think there is no where for you to go career wise
- Finally and a classic one is we pull the "I'm too old card out" to change career now, what will everyone else think??
You can see from these thought patterns, that our mindset plays a huge part in us either staying in a rut or making sure positive change takes place.
I know that my mindset has played a huge part in my career decisions and not always in a good way. However, instead of beating ourselves up for the decisions we haven't made how do we move forward and get ourselves out of the career rut?
Career Rut Be Gone
Below are some steps I've personally learnt along the way, alongside some techniques I use as a coach:
- Stop beating yourself up for your current position. Remember it's your "CURRENT" position not future. Things change and so can your career
- Now that we have got that out of the way we can start looking at potential new career options. A great way of doing this is to imagine you have a time machine. YES I'm being serious I want you to jump in that imaginary time machine and forward yourself a year on from now. Your working in your ideal job. What does this look like? What are you doing? How does it make you feel?
- Write down what that job role looks like. What are you actually doing that makes you love it?
- It would be good at this point to do some research. No I don't mean you have to go lock yourself away in a library. Your phone will do. Isn't Google a great thing :-) Start looking up your ideal job, what ideal skills and competencies are needed?
- Remember when doing your research your current skill sets and experience don't need to match your ideal job perfectly. Have a think about what transferable skills you have that could benefit you in your ideal role.
- Now what is the first step you could take to get you a bit closer to your new job? Some options are shown below:
- Do some work shadowing in that field
- If applicable request if it would be possible to do a secondment, so that you can gain some valuable experience
- Get yourself a mentor with expertise in that area
- Sign up to some useful further education
- You may wish to get yourself a career coach
- Create some SMART goals, specifically designed to support you in achieving your career goals
These are just some examples of usable steps to help you take some positive actions towards a career / job role that will fulfil you. How does that feel? Pretty good hey?
My Key Message
One thing I've learnt along the way and something I'm still learning is that it's never too late to change our career. There are endless possibilities out there and it doesn't have to be in the typical form of climbing up that infamous career ladder.
We are now moving into an era where flexible working is the norm, job sharing is ever more popular, and there are greater opportunities to be as creative and inventive with our careers, especially with the on-line forum.
Follow your true desires. Don't be afraid of change, instead embrace it and move MR FEAR to one side. Here's to celebrating new adventures.
Until next time.