‘’Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’’
A ‘job for life’ is the exception rather than the norm these days – and it’s highly likely in your lifetime that you’ll steer your way through four or five changes in career. Navigating those changes may not always be plain sailing, which is why it can help to have an inner ‘compass’ to guide you and keep you on track.
It may help to think of your compass as that ‘wise’ part of you – a place within that just ‘knows’. That part can communicate with you in different ways, depending on how you perceive the world. Your compass may be in your thoughts, your feelings, your sensations, or in your intuition (that ‘gut feel’). When considering making changes in your life, it can help to tune into all of those aspects of yourself.
Here are some signs you may be ready for a career change…
- You’re bored and just can’t get motivated.
- Every day feels like a drag and you’re constantly checking the clock to see if you can log off yet.
- Your stress levels are through the roof and you fear you’re creeping towards burnout.
- You’re experiencing odd aches in the belly, head or heart.
- You’re calling in sick on days when you just can’t face it.
- Your mental health is suffering, and you feel low and anxious.
- You scroll through images of other people’s jobs and lifestyles and feel envious that yours isn’t like that.
- You have a niggling feeling you could be doing something more meaningful and fulfilling. Lockdown may have intensified that feeling, as you’ve had more time to ponder what life is really all about.
Some questions to consider when navigating a career change…
Where does my passion lie?
What really gives me joy and makes me feel fulfilled? Is it something creative? Practical? Technical? Academic? Think back to when you were little and you dreamed of a life doing… what? What really floats your boat? Why not take that as your starting point and allow your mind to set sail on a sea of possibility?
Will I need to re-train?
A change of career often means re-training. This can be an exciting and daunting phase as you embark on a journey to self-fulfilment. Read around and search for courses that will support and challenge you on the road to qualifying in your new field. You may have to think about how you will accommodate the time and space for training in your life – and will you need to gradually phase out your old job before you can phase in your new career?
How will I cope with starting from the bottom again?
This can be one of the downsides of changing career to do something you love: you may need to start completely from scratch in terms of finance and status. How will you feel about being at the bottom? How will you cope with earning less money? This may not always be the case – depending on the changes you’re making – but it’s worth thinking through the practicalities.
How will I manage other people’s reactions?
If you have supportive friends and family around you who only have your best interests at heart then you’re in a good position. That’s not always the case, however. Sometimes when you start to make changes that are meaningful for you, it may take time and energy away from your loved ones. They may not agree with what you’re doing, or perhaps they’re fearful about your transformation and want to have things back to normal. It can help to think through how you will manage other people’s reactions in a way that doesn’t compromise the changes you want to make.
What gives me meaning and purpose?
Think of the Mark Twain quote about never working a day again by doing a job you love. If you’re happy in your career, then it really doesn’t feel like work. OK, you’ll have some challenging days, but the fulfilment you gain from doing meaningful work will keep your compass steady and sure and on track. It can help to remember your purpose and keep your eyes on the horizon as you navigate these changes.
If you’re feeling stuck and could benefit from talking through your thoughts and feelings with a trained professional, then get in touch with us. We have therapy sessions available seven days a week from our centres in Clapham and Tooting – and we continue to offer sessions remotely via phone or online video. Call 020 8673 4545 or email [email protected]