OK, so you've established that you're in a career crisis. What next? You're probably constantly thinking about what you could do instead of your current job. This can be overwhelming. Even if you know what you want to do, it may be a while before you get there. So here are some baby steps you can start to take IMMEDIATELY:
- Whatever you enjoy doing, do it more often. A career crisis will have an impact on other areas of your life, not least your relationships and your health. If there's something you can do that you look forward to after a stressful day at work, it can make a huge difference to your well being. So if you're not doing it already, why not start off by regularly doing something that you enjoy outside of work? It could even be something you do in a lunch break. Perhaps you could join a gym, a dance class or a reading club. Taking up a new hobby is a small way of getting into the habit of making positive changes in your life, in readiness for bigger challenges ahead.
- Identify and challenge the barriers. If finding career fulfilment was easy, you would have done it already. But what's holding you back? Have you convinced yourself that you couldn't survive without your current salary? Have you told yourself that there are no other jobs out there that match your skills? Do you hear yourself saying, 'don't rock the boat' or 'better the devil you know'? It's important that you challenge your beliefs. And if they are genuine barriers, make it your goal to look for evidence to the contrary and replace them with positive and empowering new beliefs.
- Get inspired. You are the average of the 6 people you spend most time with. If you're hanging out with uninspiring and unmotivated people, guess what happens? Spend more time with positive people. They're the ones who don't say 'why?' but the ones who ask 'why not?' Find people who love their job and feed off their energy. Get inspired.
- Make yourself accountable. Don't suffer in silence. If you find yourself going round in circles when you contemplate the future, you need to get support. It doesn't have to be professional career help – it could be that inspiring role model who cares about you and wants the best for you…. someone who is happy to meet with you on a regular basis to challenge you, help you set positive goals and keep you accountable.
- Decide what you want. You already know what you don't want in a job. Now start to think about what you DO want. OK, you may not have a job title in mind but what skills do you want to be using? How far are you prepared to travel to work? What would your boss be like? What would your colleagues be saying about you? In what way do the company values match those of your own?
- Set a deadline. A goal is a dream with a date. By what date do you want to be in a fulfilling job? Then you can break your big goal down into mini goals with dates. Write it down somewhere prominent so you have a constant reminder of what you want.
- Get motivated. At some stage you're likely to be tempted to give in and accept things the way they are now. When this happens, relax the stiff upper lip, engage with your emotions and go through this process:
Imagine in 12 months time your career is exactly the way it is now.
- How would you feel?
- What would you be saying to yourself?
- What will the impact be on your family?
- What will the impact be on your health and well being?
Now think of a time in the future when your career is exactly the way you want it to be. Now answer the above questions.
If you really are in a career crisis, the answers to these questions should be enough to kick you into action.