A client of mine named Hayden (Hayden is actually not his real name) once told me this: “I have done everything that was expected of me since graduating college. I got a well-paying job in a well-known company, excelled in my work, and had been promoted many times. I’ve bought a home, and have traveled quite a bit around the world because of my job. I think I have attained what you will consider a successful career. Yet, I keep feeling unfulfilled… that I am not making any reasonable contribution to society through my work. I feel uninspired driving to work in the morning. I know I want a career change, but I don’t know what to do.”
Hayden went on to share that he feels sick on Sunday nights whenever he thinks about the Monday commute.
Perhaps, you are reading this piece because you feel uninspired about your job like Hayden, or you have other reasons why you want a career change: work-life balance, burn-out, more money, or you need a different type of challenge.
But why continue to suffer in silence and remain depressed?
Reasons Why People Feel Stuck at Their Jobs even Though They Know They Want to Leave
One of the main reasons why people stay stuck at their miserable jobs is fear of income or status loss. You may not want to give up what you currently consider a “good-paying” job. You are probably hiding behind that old saying: “a bird at hand is worth two in the forest.”
If you have worked for any number of years, you may have accumulated a number of financial liabilities like mortgage or automobile loan, and you are now starting to feel trapped.
You may also be concerned about losing your status and seniority in your current job and starting a new career as a beginner. Or you may be concerned about what people might say, especially your friends, professional colleagues, and family members.
2. Trying to Figure It Out:
A second reason why people are stuck in their job is because they keep analyzing it.
It’s called analysis paralysis. Psychology Today describes analysis paralysis (AP) as the inability to move forward with a decision or action as a result of overanalyzing or overthinking a problem. I mean, the reason why you’re here reading this is because you are still “trying to figure it out.”
The problem is: if trying to figure it out is the way to get the answer you would have gotten it a long time ago.
This is the one that is the most insidious. Many people know they want a career change, but they keep standing in the way of their own progress by giving themselves all kinds of excuses.
You may be thinking you are not good enough, or that you don’t have the degree or certification or experience.
Or you might think that you are too old to start a new career and keep telling yourself that you will not be able to catch up to those who are already on that career path.
The fact of the matter, however, is that if you truly want a new career, you can easily overcome all of these challenges by doing the following things:
What To Do To Make A Career Change
1. Know Why You Want A Career Change:
You must be clear about why you want a career change. Do not rush to a career change just for the sake of making a change; you may end up jumping from the frying pan to the fire.
Ask yourself these questions: Is your current job out of alignment with your purpose and values? Do you want more money, more flexibility, or more time with your family?
Do you want a career change because of a change in your health, family status, or residence? Do you want a change because you hate your boss or you cannot stand your co-workers?
Be clear-eyed why you want a career change.
2. Start Moving:
Do not get stuck with analysis-paralysis. Once you’re clear about why you want a change, stop analyzing and start taking action.
Sometimes, when clients say to me that they have no idea what to do, what they are actually saying is that they have plenty of options, but they don’t know which one to take. They are afraid of getting it “wrong again,” so they freeze.
Yet, you cannot achieve the career dream you seek until you start moving.
You should start trying different things in the areas of your new interest, or as they say, start testing the waters.
Enroll in classes (online or in your local community college) in one of those areas you are thinking about. You may even decide to get a relevant certification or two.
Join online forums and ask questions about what those career fields are like. You may also try your hands at a side hustle, freelancing, or blogging in the new industry of your interest, if possible.
These actions will help you filter out the options that are not for you.
3. Leverage Your Network:
If there is any time you seriously need your professional network, it’s now. Use it, but of course, respectfully. And remember to pay it forward after your successful career change.
When you’re making a change to a career or industry in which you have limited work experience, networking is the most important tool in your job search kit.
Remember that old saying: “It’s not what you know, but who you know…”? That is so true. Networking is one of the most important strategies for tapping into the unpublished job market.
Networking can help you get around the stumbling block of the resume filtering system, which many businesses use these days to automate part of their hiring process.
So, be sure to update and optimize your LinkedIn profile; and get active with your alumni offices and networks. Hit up your former colleagues; and use your church or sports groups or reading club.
4. Market Your Strength and Talent:
In the popular book, Guerilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0, Jay Conrad Levinson and David Perry wrote emphatically: “Embrace this fact: it’s rarely the best qualified candidates who win the most coveted positions. Instead, it is most often the person who ‘packages’ his experiences best to meet the needs of employers.” In other words, the people who best market their talents win.
Indeed, one of the best ways of getting around the feeling of inadequacy when you are job hunting is to market your strengths and talent.
Your personal brand and marketing strategy are what determine if you even get the interview. In other words, you must identify your unique strengths and talents, and communicate them in a way that makes you stand out from other job searchers, and hence, irresistible to the employer.
If you have been working for any number of years, you have likely accumulated some transferable skills that a new employer might find valuable.
Employers are especially happy when a candidate’s strengths match the particular needs they are looking for. But you have to show it; don’t leave it to the hiring officer to guess.
Do not apologize for what you think might be your deficiencies, or what you don’t have – rather highlight what you do have.
For example, instead of apologizing for your youthful age and relatively little experience, emphasize your youthful vigor and energy to work even longer hours if need be, or flexibility to quickly relocate to another branch of the firm if you get a hint that such might be in the works.
Conversely, if you’re an older applicant, emphasize your experience, knowledge and wisdom and even useful connections that you can bring to the new job.
Apologizing for what you don’t have might be seen as a sign of a lack of confidence. You have to believe that you’re uniquely qualified for the new position precisely because of your unique background, strength or talent, not in spite of, so you can move forward with confidence.
Stop suffering in silence at a job (or even career) you hate. You should step out to pursue a job that is meaningful to you, the kind of work that energizes and fulfills you, that brings you excitement and a sense of purpose. And it’s within your reach, no matter the political and economic conditions.
Are you thinking about career change, but don’t know where to start?
I can help you clarify your life purpose and uncover the hidden challenges that are sabotaging your career success. Click on the button below to sign up for a FREE career strategy session