Increasingly I am hearing clients say ‘I want a career change but I don’t know what I want to do..’ You’ve realised your job no longer appeals. And this could be because you are;

  • tired of obeying incompetent management
  • valuing yourself more and what you want
  • financially able to do what they want rather than what they should

So how do you start working out what you really want?

Too Busy To Know What You Want?

You could be unsure about you want to do as you’ve been busy working and attending to your family. Sometimes you can question the importance of what you want because you are too busy focusing on your family. But here’s the rub. If you are not happy and you are the primary care giver; how do you think that impacts the rest of the family.

So even though you think you’re prioritising your family over you, maybe that isn’t the case. Parents happiness and sense of self-worth is essential to your children as well as your own wellbeing And then there is the issue of what we should be doing. Are you thinking I should be climbing the corporate ladder rather than thinking about a career change?

Passion led us her with two peoples feet Career Change

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

I Think I Should Be….

Or are there other should’s that are getting in the way.

  • I should be earning x amount
  • I should be in this position by now
  • I should be increasing my knowledge on what I know already as that makes sense
  • I should be….

Bottom line, once you start saying should, you need to ask if you are trying to live up to someone else’s expectations. And there is a subtlety here.

  1. Expectations that others put on you
  2. Expectations that no-one has said anything but it is what you believe to be expected of you because of your upbringing, education etc
  3. Expectations you put on yourself

The question is more what would ‘I choose to do.’ If it’s should then you need to revisit as you will find yourself back at square one. Examining oneself can be scary, but the rewards are great. Career change is about exploring your likes, dislikes and strengths. Personally, I have moved from working in the army, to teaching adults, to politics, to sales, computing, management consulting, and finally to therapy and coaching. Have all the transitions been easy? No. Have they been worthwhile? Yes.

Start Planning Your Career Change.

Stop the busyness. Everyone is so busy. But busy doing what exactly? Busyness can cover over the fact that we are too afraid to examine our thoughts and feelings. Or simply we don’t want to get out of our own comfort zone. It’s easier to watch a rerun of ‘Poirot’ than it is to take a class.

Once you start finding out a bit about what you like, then the path becomes clear. When we pay attention to our wants and needs, there is something inside of you, that will gradually feed you clues. Crumb like bits of information at first, and as you digest those crumbs, you become more in tune with you. But you can only do this if you spend some time with it, with you.

Through obligation, work, family, education, you have made decisions covering over the true self, the real you. That part of you that knows what real inspires you. Sometimes your up bringing and circumstances throws a tarpaulin over who you really are as you busy yourself comparing or competing rather than finding out what your likes, dislikes and strengths are.

Cult of effort

Think about it, if you keep yourself occupied you will never find you. There is a cult of effort, to be better and more successful and it stops you being where you are. Frankly when your time is up will those things really matter?

All this doing is like a storm on a lake, you can’t see the bottom because of all the churning. But when it stops churning you see the real self. So your first step to recovering you is to start connecting with you, to find out what you like doing, opposed to just doing. For a successful career change you are going to need to find those still moments.

Prioritise Me Time

Why don’t you write a list of the 20 things you love to do. Your list might look like this

  1. Painting
  2. Going fishing
  3. Dancing
  4. Critiquing movies
  5. Writing about architecture
  6. Eating ice-cream
  7. ……..

Now I want you to add two columns next to your list and at the first Column put Y/N and then the second column write Priority. Under the Y/N column I want you to acknowledge to yourself do I actually do these things. So next to ‘Going fishing’ you may have a Y. Now I want you to look down your list and see what things you don’t make time for, and assign a priority. So you may have a priority of 1-3. 1 being the highest priority. Then put alongside each of ‘The things I love to do’ in the 3rd column under priority. Then rank those things you want to prioritise.

If you had ‘Dancing’ listed and in the Y/N you had N because you hadn’t danced for a while, then in your priority you may have 1. This is where you need to make a date and go and dance the night away as the song goes. It doesn’t mean just because you had dreams of being a surgeon when were younger, that you need to enrol in medical school. Maybe it is something health related you find your niche in.

Direction For Your Career Change

When you do the things you love doing you readily notice your strengths. When analysing your career choices you can overlook these strengths and skills as they may not have been part of your paid employment, However they are important to you and your future employer.

  1. Because often you do these things effortlessly
  2. You love to do them as they’re ‘part of who you are’.
  3. And in an era of ‘authenticity that is worth its weight in gold.

Those accomplishments and strengths may easily fit into a different career, you may not have considered. So rather than jump into something new, that may be more of the same, take time exploring you while you are in your present employment and watch the plan unravel.