Feeling frustrated with your career path? We all have work-related frustrations from time to time. But if your frustrations are intensely lingering, should probably reflect on your next right move. Career malaise runs deep. It’s much more than just an episodic moment of frustration or a particularly gruesome client project that depletes you. If left unaddressed, it quickly turns into burnout.
If you are in desperate need of a new career path and feel like it’s time to try something else, here are some specific steps you can take.
1. Identify what you dislike about your career
You have to get very clear on what you dislike about your career path. Otherwise, you could just as easily end up in another career that looks different on the surface, but is very similar at the core. Grab a pen and paper and write down what irks you. Is it the people? The work? The responsibility? The lack of communication? The clients?
2. Decide what you want in a career
When you have a sense of malaise, you begin to question everything. It’s not easy to rethink everything, so it’s helpful to ensure you’re asking the right questions.
Flip that piece of paper over and make a list of the roles, responsibilites, and outcomes you want in a career. Focus less on the attributes of a specific employer and more on what you want your career to be as a whole. For example: growth opportunities, work-life balance, ability to work from home, long-term industry demand, opportunities to work directly with people, etc. Once you know what you want, you can go confidently in the direction of your dreams.
3. Identify your transferable skills
Making a change mid-career isn’t easy. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to start over at the bottom. The key is to move into a career or industry where your existing experience and skills can transfer over. (Or at least where some of them can.)
To identify your transferable skills, spend less time on industry-specific and technical skills, like proficiency with specific software. Instead, think about the bigger picture, like being a faster learner, strong writing skills, or public speaking poise – and share key examples.
4. Tap into your network
As you start plotting next steps to switch careers, you’ll want to tap into your professional network. Ideally, these are individuals who work in the industry you want to join, or have experience with a similar prior career pivot.
The objective is to find support to help you move past this pivot point. Whether it’s meeting with mentors and advisors or friends you have met more recently whose careers you admire. Tap into your network and ask for help. At the same time respect people’s time and their willingness to share it with you.
5. Move forward with bridges intact
The absolute last thing you want to do is burn bridges on the way out. Exit gracefullyand create a timeline that gives all stakeholders ample time to adjust and compensate for your absence. Personalize your exit and show gratitude and respect for the experience and opportunities, despite the challenges and hardships.
Find an enjoyable career that gives you enough margin to live a balanced lifestyle where you spend your non-working hours doing the things you love. If you can do that, you’ll be well ahead many of your peers.
Craig Lebrau is the CMO of Media Insider, a Wyoming-based PR company that aims to disrupt the way companies communicate their brand in the digital era.
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