It’s funny how when we are kids we instantly have the answer to ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’ but when we come to the point when we need to choose a career path for real we are facing doubts and insecurity. This happens because, as adults, we view many of our decisions as final, particularly when it comes to choosing a career.
For example, there is a particular job you see as your only option, and you can’t seem to land a first-round interview or pass the finalist in a group of other people of similar qualifications.
You might be in a job that makes you feel miserable. Maybe you are eager for a change, but you are too afraid to escape the routine and get out there.
Or you’ve got the job you have always wanted to have, but the passion and enthusiasm got lost along the way.
So, what can you do when your career path seem hopeless? We’ll try to give you, not answers, but guidelines you can follow.
1. Imagine Yourself in Five Years
“Where do you see yourself in five years” is probably the most annoying question you can get at a job interview, but it is also very useful.
It is difficult to answer, but even by trying to imagine one or several possible outcomes for the future can show you which path you want to pursue. And while you may end up miles from there, you will still know the steps you need to take to get close.
According to Harward Busines Review, while you can’t even imagine the twists and turns your career is going to take, trying to answer the looming question will show you what you need to learn and how to develop. You will also practice articulating this vision in various situations, such as a job interview or a networking event.
2. Try Appreciating What You Have
Do you already have a job? How long have you been working there? Did you like it at the beginning? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do? Maybe the job isn’t as bad as it currently seems to you.
Even if you’re 100 per cent enthusiastic about your chosen employment or at least you were, at some point, you can get stuck in the daily grind. In these occasions, your career path and your future might seem hopeless.
There are some things you can do to overcome this daily grind and become passionate about what you do once again.
Firstly, take a break. After a vacation, you will be more motivated to work harder and do better. Secondly, do not try to achieve perfection and take control of your time. Thirdly, celebrate every win, regardless of how small or insignificant it seems. Finally, remember why you’ve started doing the job in the first place, maybe the passion is still there, but dormant.
Sometimes, people are not sure how to show their full potential in their job, and they end up thinking that they made the wrong decision, but when given the chance, they can shine. So, try to see whether this is your problem, before quitting your job.
3. Admit You Took the Wrong Turn
Not every solution is as simple as the previous one. However, being at the wrong workplace isn’t the end of the world, and it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to find what you were meant to be doing all along. Did you know that Harrison Ford was a carpenter before he became Han Solo and Indiana Jones? He was 35 when he landed his first significant role. Many other examples are even more extreme. So, it is never too late.
Many hints should show you that you should quit your job or change the course of your career. Are you are not adding any value to your company? Do you not feeling valued by the management or your colleagues? Are you satisfied with your salary? Complaining and feeling negative all the time? Do you feel unwell physically? And most important of all, are you still challenged?
4. Give Yourself Some Time to Figure Things Out
No one expects you to start going to interviews and landing your dream job (with a dream salary) in a matter of days or weeks. Here are some things that will help you get started.
- Remember what you’ve wanted to be when you grow up. Maybe your resume doesn’t quite qualify for a ‘superhero’ position, but at least you will remember what was your initial passion, g., helping people or maybe even being in the spotlight.
- Write your manifesto which will define the area you want to work in, the hours you want to work, how you want to commute, your beliefs and morals, what you care about, etc. It is a good starting point to discover your future path.
- Do not overcommit to an idea before you are sure you want to do it. For example, you can wake up one morning wanting to be a lawyer, and boom, before you know it you’ve applied for law school. A couple of days after, you could see that this career isn’t for you. Before making such a huge decision, try volunteering or shadowing someone in a job that interests you. You can also take several side projects in your free time.
5. Go Job Hunting
Job hunting can often be discouraging, and it can affect your confidence, which, in return, can affect how successful you are in your job search. Here are some things you can do on your behalf when everything seems hopeless:
- Appreciate the fact that you have an interview. It means you are a strong candidate.
- Write a fantastic CV and take your time to fill out the application forms correctly.
- Get great references, and try to keep in touch with them to let them know about your most recent accomplishments.
- Don’t take ‘no’ as a bad thing. View it as an opportunity to improve your resume and practise your interview skills.
- Talk to people who’ve done well in their job search to get useful advice.
As you see, there are different reasons why one’s career path may seem hopeless.
Regardless if you haven’t found a job yet or you feel stuck on a job that makes you unhappy, be aware that the only thing standing between you and the change you need is your mindset.
It can help you fall back in love with your job, decide to change the course of your career, or be fearless and confident in your job search. Good luck!