Are you challenged at work? Do you regret your career choices? Are you happy? Does your job give you a sense of fulfillment? If the answer to all these questions leads to a negative feeling, then it’s time to determine what your next steps will be.
Many people settle for a career that no longer brings them satisfaction. Most will respond with “I am surviving” or “It’s manageable” when a colleague or friend asks “How’s work”.
Settling for a job to earn a salary that will pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You need to be passionate about it, experience growth and not dread waking up every day to go to work.
Patrick found himself in this similar situation. His career was not giving him a sense of fulfillment. He had worked in the accounting industry for over 10 years. His exemplary qualifications got him a well-paying job with one of the top accounting firms in the country and within a few years he got a promotion but it still wasn’t enough.
“I felt stagnant. My job was great but it could not complete the void that was there. I was not happy. The great salary, allowances and trips around the world were still not enough. I had everything that most people look for in a job but it still did not fulfill me. That it is when it dawned on me that I had to make big steps. Accounting was a better option for me because I was good at it, I had all the academic qualifications and professional experience but it was not my passion. I took some time off to reflect and research on what career path I should take and that is when I found my calling in HR. It was a rocky journey but three years down the line I managed to start my own private HR firm”, his email read.
So if you’re considering a career change, you’re not alone. Taking action on these thoughts, however, can be daunting. For some, it can mean deserting a stable job to head down an uncharted path just like Patrick. For others, switching job functions mid-career may mean a lateral move, which can feel like a step backward—but it doesn’t have to be.
How do I make that big leap? Follow these steps to finally chase your passion and secure that job that excites you;
Step 1: What is the problem?
First, take time to understand what exactly is causing you so much distress in your job. Does your dissatisfaction stem from external factors, such as your co-workers, boss, organizational culture, or even the commute? If so, would switching teams or leaving the company remedy your unhappiness, or do you still have that same sense of dread thinking about the work you’ll be doing, regardless of a change in scenery?
Step 2: Identify what you like about your current job
Think back to when you first started in your current job. What were your motivations? Was it the day-to-day responsibilities? Great pay? The promise of career growth? Then, examine the parts of your job you still find enjoyable and seek to understand why they interest you. Is it the creativity your role involves? Do you love the constant change or maybe you want stability? Keep these factors in mind when looking toward your new career.
Step 3: Find a career coach
Career coaches are trained experts with knowledge of nearly all career choices. They guide job seekers with career change advice to new career paths, help them understand the change, and recommend alternatives. A career coach often sees aspects of the situation you may not. They have insider knowledge on required skills, the credentials particular companies search for in the Kenyan job market, and proper etiquette for quitting your job.
Step 4: Assess your strengths and skills
Is your dream job different from your current job?
Do you have transferable skills, related experience, and network connections that can help you easily transition, particularly if you are diving into a totally new job industry?
If your skills and experience don’t apply to your new career path then consider taking a training, applying for an entry-level position to gain experience or even going back to school to specialize in the industry.
Step 5: Develop and execute your plan
Look at your pros and cons for staying and compare them to the pros and cons for leaving. After a thorough self-assessment, map out your goals, identifying short-term milestones along the way, and give yourself reasonable timelines.
Don’t be scared or disheartened by the search for your new career. From Patrick’s story we can learn that even with a rocky start we can thrive and eventually find our passion. It’s never too late to start again in order to do what you love every day.