What to do when you realise you’re in the wrong career

It was never meant to be this way.
When you started in your chosen career, everything seemed great and new and fresh. You worked hard (and in many cases spent years studying) to get a foot in the door in this chosen career. At first, you enjoyed getting to know colleagues and revelled in the challenges of new tasks, duties and processes.
But over time, things changed. You might have fallen out with a colleague or got on the wrong side of your manager. Perhaps you ran out of challenges to tackle, and got bored. Or maybe you’re unhappy with your salary package, and see little chance of promotion or an increase in pay in your chosen career.
So what do you do when you realise you’re in the wrong career? The first thing not to do is panic. While it can be overwhelming and dispiriting to discover your chosen career isn’t right, you must ensure you take a few deep breaths and step back a little in order to properly consider your predicament in a rational, calm manner. Make sure you don’t make any sudden decisions or hand in your resignation letter that very same day. When you take some time to carefully consider your future, you may discover that it’s not the career path you’ve chosen, but merely your specific employer or workplace. By taking those few breaths and the time to properly consider your situation, you’re able to take the next important step: be specific. Think carefully about the exact elements of your current career you’re unhappy about. If you can pinpoint specific problems, you can much more easily address them and maybe even avoid an entire, life-altering career change. Would you better working for the public service in government rather than the private sector? Maybe you can use your skill set in the not-for-profit or charity sector to give your job more meaning or passion?
If you’ve taken the above steps – you’ve slowed down and taken your time to consider the issues at hand, you’ve examined the specific reasons and considered other avenues within your chosen careers – but still need a change, there are ways to make it happen.
Rather than being despondent or seeing your work so far as being wasted, flip the future on its head by getting excited about the challenge and new path ahead. Identify potential transferable skills from your existing career and consider whether there are any existing contacts or clients who might help you along in your next career.
Most of all, remember that in this day and age, more people than ever before are switching from job to job and career to career. In other words, you’re not alone! Get excited about your career change – whatever path you choose it means you’re one step closer to your dream career!
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