Hey there, intrepid soul! If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re grappling with the overwhelm of one of the most significant and often the most daunting questions life throws our way: “What should I do next in my career?” We get it.
It’s like standing at the crossroads of changing careers with a dozen career paths veering off in different directions, and no clear signs pointing the way. You have felt clearly that you want a career change. But you don’t know what to do next.
“Why on earth would anyone want to change careers if they have no clue about the next step?” you may ponder. Sometimes, it’s a whisper deep within you telling you that there’s more out there, that there’s another path or another story waiting to be explored.
It’s about personal growth, fulfillment, or simply the itch to shake things up and experience life in its full spectrum.
If that resonates, stick around, because we’re going on a journey together.
The “Why” Behind Changing Career When You Don’t Know What To Do Next
At first glance, the idea might seem counterintuitive. Why would someone even contemplate changing their career if they’re uncertain about the next move? Several myths about career change may be hounding you.
However, beneath the surface of this ambiguity lie deep-rooted feelings, aspirations, and existential nudges that many of us experience. Let’s dive into the heart of this paradox.
1. Pursuit of Fulfillment:
For many, a career isn’t just about earning a paycheck; it’s about purpose. The underlying hunger to lead a meaningful life can spur someone to step away from a known profession.
The current role may no longer resonate with their evolving understanding of purpose or personal growth, leading to the quest for something more fulfilling.
2. Escaping Burnout:
Sometimes, it’s not the allure of the new but the exhaustion from the old. Chronic stress, long hours, or the mundane repetitiveness of a job can lead to burnout.
In such cases, even if one doesn’t have a clear next step in mind, the urge to escape an unhealthy environment can be a significant motivating factor.
3. Seeking Authenticity:
There comes a moment in many people’s lives when they realize they’ve been living out someone else’s script—be it societal pressures, parental expectations, or cultural norms.
Even without a clear plan, the desire to realign one’s career with personal truths can be compelling.
4. The Lure of Learning:
For lifelong learners, the thrill of acquiring new skills or delving into unfamiliar domains can be irresistible.
They might feel that their current roles have plateaued in terms of learning opportunities, prompting them to explore unknown terrains without a fixed roadmap.
5. Personal Life Changes:
Life is dynamic—relationships, health, family situations, or personal aspirations can shift over time. Such changes might necessitate or inspire a career shift, even if the destination isn’t crystal clear.
6. A Deep-Rooted Intuition:
Sometimes, it’s a whisper from within, an inexplicable yet powerful feeling that it’s time to move on.
This intuitive nudge might not come with a detailed manual on the ‘what’ and ‘how,’ but it conveys a profound ‘why.’
7. The Thrill of the Unknown:
For some adventurous souls, the very ambiguity that holds many back is the allure. They thrive on unpredictability, love crafting their path, and find joy in the journey of discovery, regardless of the destination.
In essence, while our society often champions clarity and derides uncertainty, there’s a profound strength in embracing the unknown. For many, the need to change careers, even without a clear vision of the next step, stems from a deep yearning for growth, authenticity, and the pursuit of genuine happiness.
After all, sometimes the most exciting roads are the ones less traveled, the ones where the journey shapes the destination.
20 Tips For Changing Career When You Are Unsure Of Your Next Career Move
Let us go step by step to take you out of your confusion and overwhelm.
1. Permission To Feel
First and foremost, it’s entirely okay to feel lost or uncertain. It’s a sign of growth, an indication that you’re asking the larger questions in life.
Be gentle with yourself. Many before you have been in this position and many after you will feel the same. You’re not alone. There are several ways to handle your uncertainty smartly.
2. Seek Reflection, Not Perfection
Set aside some dedicated time to dive deep. Ask yourself:
- What are your core values?
- What gets you out of bed every morning (besides that alarm)?
- What are your strengths? What are your top transferable skills?
- What are your core interests? Remember, the goal isn’t to find the perfect answer but to seek clarity.
- What are your biggest career aspirations?
3. Dream Without Limits
Let’s go wild for a moment. If there were no constraints—money, time, or otherwise—what would you love to do?
This exercise can help tap into passions or interests that you might not have considered viable career options.
4. The Informational Interview
Get out there and talk to people who are in roles or industries that pique your interest.
Not only will you gather information, but you also might discover niches or careers you hadn’t even known existed!
5. Skill Up
The world’s changing at an unprecedented pace. There’s always something new to learn. Investigate courses, online platforms, or workshops that align with where your curiosity is leading you.
Gaining a new skill can give you both confidence and a fresh perspective.
6. Test The Waters
Before diving headlong into a new career, can you dip your toes first? Consider part-time roles, freelancing, or even volunteer work in the desired field.
It’ll give you a flavor of what’s to come and might even open doors.
7. Network, Network, Network
Engage with professional groups, attend conferences or workshops, or simply reach out to people on platforms like LinkedIn.
The more you connect, the clearer your path may become. Remember, sometimes it’s not just what you know, but who you know.
8. Engage A Career Coach
If you’re feeling truly stuck, a professional can offer tailored advice, tools, and perspectives to guide you through your transition.
9. Patience Is Your Ally
Like all good things, a meaningful career transition or career change takes time. There’ll be moments of doubt, moments of exhilaration, and a lot in between. Embrace the journey.
10. Celebrate Small Wins
Got a callback from a job application? Finished a course? Celebrate it! Each step, no matter how small, is progress.
11. Seek Inspiration From Success Stories
Remember, countless individuals have walked this path before and have emerged with invigorating, rewarding careers.
Dive into podcasts, books, or TED talks centered around career transitions. These stories can act as both a beacon and a compass, showing you that change is possible and providing direction on how it can be achieved.
12. Assess and Reassess
Even as you take steps forward, consistently check in with yourself. Are you feeling more energized or drained? The path to finding a fulfilling new career is iterative, not linear.
Don’t hesitate to pivot if something doesn’t feel right.
13. Embrace Uncertainty
This journey is as much about personal growth as it is about professional change. Learn to find comfort in the discomfort of not knowing.
It’s within these spaces of uncertainty that we often find our most profound insights and growth.
14. Cultivate a Growth Mindset
Adopt the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed. This perspective will encourage you to embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, and see effort as a pathway to mastery.
15. Build a Support System
Changing careers is no small feat. Surround yourself with friends, family, or even online communities that understand your aspirations and support your vision.
They’ll be your anchor on the tough days and your cheerleaders on the triumphant ones.
16. Visualize Your Success
Spend some moments each day visualizing yourself in your new career. Feel the satisfaction, imagine the challenges on the way of your career change and the joy it brings you.
Visualization can be a potent tool in making your aspirations tangible.
17. Re-define Failure
Instead of seeing setbacks or mistakes as failures, view them as essential components of your journey. Every “failure” teaches you something valuable and brings you one step closer to your goal.
18. Keep an Open Mind
While it’s good to have a direction, stay flexible. Opportunities you hadn’t imagined could come up, and what initially seems like a detour could end up being the most fulfilling part of your journey.
19. Self-care Is Essential
During this transition, ensure you’re taking time out for yourself. Whether it’s a walk in the park, meditation, or simply enjoying a good book, self-care can rejuvenate you and provide clarity.
20. Begin Now, and Begin Small
While it’s tempting to wait for the “perfect moment” to start, remember that every big change begins with a small step. Whether it’s updating your resume, enrolling in a class, or reaching out to a potential mentor, the action you take today brings you closer to your goal.
We understand that feeling of standing at the edge, where the horizon is enticing yet filled with uncertainties. But every new chapter in your life begins with a decision to turn the page.
While the journey might have its share of twists and turns, remember that the destination becomes clearer with every step you take. And amidst the unpredictability, there’s a thrilling adventure awaiting you.
So breathe deeply, muster your courage, and take that step forward. Your next chapter might just be your best one yet!