At some point in our lives, each of us will experience something that prompts us to take stock of our current situation. At that niggling in the back of your brain, you might start to ask yourself:
Am I engaged in my work? Or simply going through the motions?
Do I feel fulfilled by my routine? Or discouraged by the drudgery?
Do I have a positive outlook for the future? Or dread for what lies ahead?
If you lean right in your response to any of these questions, it may be a sign that it’s time to make a change. But before we talk about how to go about it, let’s address the common misconception that change has to be radical. That’s not the case when you approach it with the right mindset.
More often than not, when we think of change, we perceive it as big and scary. We might clam up, and in some cases, retreat to the familiar and comfortable. That tendency is likely what prevents most of us from pursuing something different, bigger, or better.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. If something about what you’re currently doing feels a bit “off,” it doesn’t mean you’re doomed or destined for failure. It doesn’t mean you took a wrong turn and there’s no heading back. It doesn’t mean you need to make a complete pivot and pursue an entirely different career.
It may just mean you need to create the space and give yourself the permission to explore what’s at the root of what you’re feeling.
It’s true that the thought of a job or career change can be intimidating. There’s both real and perceived risk that comes along with it. But deciding to explore with curiosity, without any preconceived idea of where you will or should land, mitigates some of that risk. It gives you an opportunity to open your mind and your heart to what might be possible, without committing to a major change.
Are you ready to get curious without any expectation that it has to wind up in radical change?
To help you get started, we’re sharing a couple of small things you can do to begin your exploration.
Discover your strengths and skills.
You may think you know exactly what you’re good at and, therefore, what you should be doing for a living. But sometimes, our strengths don’t perfectly align with our aspirations.
Consider taking an assessment to help you identify the type of work that’s a good fit for your capabilities and resonates with your interests and values. There are many great tools out there, and one we like is the Kiersey Temperament Sorter. You can also use our free Take Control Template, a tool to help you uncover what inspires, motivates, and fulfills you.
Informally connect and explore.
Did your college advisor ever encourage you to schedule an informational interview? Those conversations may have paired you with someone doing the type of work you thought you’d also like to do. Revisit this tactic by connecting with people in your network whose background, experience, and perspective may be different than your own. Ask them what they like or dislike about what they do, what they’re most challenged by, and what motivates them. Even if you don’t identify your next role through these discussions, you’re likely to be inspired by their stories.
Similarly, look for an opportunity to volunteer in the field you think you might like to pursue. In addition to giving back (which will give you a boost of positivity!), you’ll also gain some hands-on experience that will help you understand what life might look like in that industry, organization, or role.
At Transitions Careers, we support people who want to transition towards doing work they love.
Whether you’re just beginning to wonder what the future holds or you’re eager to make a move, we can help guide your exploration.