Getting out of a Career you Hate (6 Steps)
The average American works 40+ hours per week, which means we spend almost half of our waking lives on-the-job. If you love what you do and are energized to start each and every day, perhaps this isn’t so bad. If on the other hand, you hate what you do, it bleeds into every other aspect of your life. Even when you’re not at work, you spend evenings and weekends, dreading the idea of going back. Wouldn’t you love to get paid to do something you love? To do something that provides a sense of purpose while adding to the overall quality of your life? If you don’t think that’s possible due to age, experience, or financial concerns, it might be time to reconsider! The alternative is spending the rest of your working life counting down towards a retirement that’s never promised.
If you’re considering a change in career but just feeling stuck, follow the steps below as guide for getting started.
1 – Think about what you would love to do. Decisions made about career path are often done far before we really know what it is that we want to do with our lives. Spend some time thinking about the sort of careers that you might be most passionate about and find most meaningful. What are you good at and what do you like to do? How can you get paid to do those things? Explore career directories to see what kind of current opportunities (among the careers you have been considering) are currently listed in your area. Figure out what kind of qualifications and experience are necessary to apply.
2 – Consider new education or training – Whether you’re wanting to stay in your current field, change career fields altogether, or start your own business, find out what kind of training might be necessary to make the change. In some cases, a new certification or class might be sufficient. In other cases, getting a new degree or going to graduate school might be necessary.
3 – Consider Finances – Making a career change may mean having to take a pay cut to start in a new entry level position or taking on the expenses associated with furthering your education. In either case, the financial loss may be an investment into your long-term financial and mental well-being. Take a look at your budget to determine what it is that you can afford or what kind of debt you’re willing to take on. If your new path is taking you down the road of entrepreneurship, how much of a loss are you willing to take in the early stages?
4 – Develop a plan – Outline a plan for making necessary change. Write out the steps you’ll need to take to implement your plan and develop a timeline for accomplishing those tasks.
5 – Take action – although if you’re craving change, you’ll probably want it to happen quickly, accept that this is a process that might take time. You will probably find, however, that taking steps in the right direction give you a new-found energy and hope for the future.
6 – Talk about it – Ask for help. Talk to people who work in the careers you are considering. Ask questions, talk to friends/family, or seek the help of a professional. Some people seek therapy, consultation, or career-specific counseling to facilitate the process of change when feeling unhappy or stuck in a current career.
Joel Schmidt, MA, LMHC
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