When you set off on your career path you may have had a very clear idea of the career you wanted to do and how to get there.
Or you may not have been as clear about what you wanted to do and your career just seemed to evolve.
Sometimes we feel unhappy in our job. This could be due to something that happens which can make us re-assess our state of affairs e.g. having children, health problems, redundancy, and bereavement.
Or the crossroads may be brought about because of something that happens within the workplace, such as re-structure, poor management, bullying.
For whatever reason, we find ourselves at a career crossroads.
I started my journey working in an office when I left school. When I had my children this made me re-assess the type of work I would be best suited to.
I couldn’t see myself working in an office for the rest of my life as I hadn’t particularly enjoyed it. It lacked a challenge for me.
So, I looked for an opportunity that fitted in around my children as well as something I would enjoy.
Once I found this, I decided to go to university to study further into the field I had chosen, which opened up a whole host of different opportunities.
Then I came to another crossroads in my career when I was made redundant and this made me think about my longer term career plan.
Throughout my journey I gained a lot of valuable knowledge, skills and experience all of which could be transferable to a new career.
Once you have found that career you will feel energised and it will feel less like working. It will also lead to a more enjoyable life.
A career crossroads can be an exciting and scary experience, so let’s get you started on your exciting journey to a new career…
How to Navigate Career Crossroads
1. What You Must Do First
Firstly, you need to decide what your ideal lifestyle would be and then look at a career that would fit into this.
So take a few minutes to visualise how you want your life to look both in your career and your personal life.
How does your day look, what are you doing, how are you feeling?
Think about what would be most important to you. For example, money may not be important but job flexibility may.
Secondly, you need to recognise the things you like to do in your current job or previous jobs as these are probably your strengths.
Look at your list and think about what careers suit these strengths. Research different jobs and have a look at what skills are required.
2. Making the Decision
By now you are probably thinking about everything that will stop you achieving this change. Making a big decision can be scary for some people, as it takes you out of your comfort zone.
Sometimes this makes us stay where we are even though we may not be happy.
The thing about making decisions is you can always make another decision if that one didn’t work out.
Many questions may come into your head, such as:
- Will I need to re-train?
- What if I am no good at job interviews?
- Am I capable of doing that job?
- What if I change careers and still don’t like it?
3. Overcoming Self-Doubt
So now you need to put your self-doubt as to whether you can achieve what you want to one side.
Any questions that come into your mind write these down and then explore what the options are.
Work out who can help and support you with this. If you want something enough there is always a way around it.
When I was made redundant I broke my plan down into short, medium and long term goals as follows:
- Short term: Get back into employment, any job
- Medium term: Get another job in the field of work I know
- Long term: Set up my business
As a single parent, the long term plan was scary, as I was completely dependent on my salary. I knew it had to be a step-by-step process.
Part of this was scaling down my finances, initially condensing full-time working hours into 4 days and eventually going part-time, releasing more days to work on my business.
I achieved my long term goal in 4 years and it was the best thing I have ever done.
So your journey may take you some time to achieve but it is about getting started and believing you can achieve it. You have to keep going no matter what obstacles you are faced with.
In a few years’ time do you want to be looking back wishing you had made a decision about your career?
There is no time like the present. To help you prepare for making that change, download a FREE copy of my ‘Ready for Change Guide‘.
Over to You
Have you reached a career crossroads and don’t know what to do? Or maybe you have come out the other side and made a success of your big decision? Share with us in the comments box below!
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Sandra’s particular expertise is in facilitating professional women to have job satisfaction, feel happier and motivated in their work. She took control of her career and became a trainer, coach and mentor, setting up her own business: Butterfly Transformation Ltd.
Sandra has recently published a book Your Choice, Your Future to help young people on their journey to identifying their career path.
Latest posts by Sandra Greatorex (see all)
- How to Help Your Child Choose a Career - May 25, 2017
- How to Handle a Career Crossroads (Even if You Have No Idea Where to Start) - January 17, 2017
- How to Plan for Redundancy: 6 Lessons Learnt from Redundancy - August 23, 2016