No career direction? Get on track with these four tips!
Are you bored or frustrated with the tasks you do every day in your job? Are you continuously looking for information about other professions to see if they might be a better match for your skills and interests? Are you willing to take a chance and start over in a different field — even if it might mean losing seniority or taking a pay cut?
If you’ve answered, “Yes!” to any of these questions, you might be suffering from a lack of career direction. And in all honesty, that can be discouraging — especially because this type of situation is often more complicated than simply finding a new job. Fortunately, with a bit of self-reflection and some research, you can find out what kind of work would truly be satisfying to you. Keep the following four tips in mind:
- Determine what you like and don’t like about your current job. The first thing you need to figure out is what’s disappointing about your current job — and what aspects of it you like. For example, if you’re a customer support agent, perhaps you don’t like working at the computer all day long, but you do enjoy helping people. In that case, you might prefer a job as a nurse, home health aide or some other profession where you can put your people skills to work.
- Examine your passions to see how you can better incorporate them into your profession. Spend some time thinking about aspects of your hobbies or leisure activities and how they could translate to a career. For instance, if you enjoy managing volunteers for a local charity on the weekends, perhaps it’s an option to pursue a management position in your current field.
- Reach out to your contacts to learn more. Once you’ve pinpointed possible professions, reach out to people you know who already work in those fields. They’ll be able to give you inside information about what the jobs are really like so you can better evaluate if they’re a match for you.
- Find out what kind of career opportunities are available to you within and outside of your organization. Finding your career direction doesn’t necessarily mean saying goodbye to your company, as you might be able to make a vertical or lateral move that gets you on track. If there are no opportunities inside your organization, it’s advisable to broaden your search — possibly with the support of a professional recruiter.
Finally, as Melanie Pinola points out in her Lifehacker article titled “Top 10 Ways to Find Your Career Path,” it’s important to view your career not as a linear path, but instead as a series of stepping stones. Every position you accept should help you move further towards your ultimate career objective — and that should be the job that brings you fulfillment and makes you truly happy in your work.
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