5 ways to overcome a career crossroad

5 ways to overcome a career crossroad

It can happen at almost any point in your career. Suddenly, you wake up and wonder if this is really the right job for you. Reaching a crossroads is a difficult time in your professional life. Self-doubt and anxiety are common experiences that feed into the feeling of ‘being stuck.’

Without a clear and tangible direction, the future can feel uncertain. This is the scariest part of a career overhaul. The corporate sector operates around long-standing principles that provide you with a safety net. Leaving the comfort of the system is a leap of faith.

So, bored of your 9 to 5 office cubicle? Follow these tips to ensure that when you reach a career crossroads, you can make a confident and informed decision on where to head next.

Check For the Signs

Pursue the work you love and you’ll never work a day in your life, right? Healthy and happy professions can feel hard to come by. In part, due to the misconception that you can only have one dream career – in fact, you can have many over your lifetime.

It is more important that you focus on the signs before you think about the end goal. Sometimes leaving your industry entirely is not the right answer for your situation. Feeling restless in your job is considered perfectly normal. Day to day anxiety is not. So what happens when a bad week turns into a bad month? Or worst still a terrible year.

Take a step back and evaluate the source of your anxiety each day. Is it your micromanaging boss? A lack of communication between your team? The company culture or your morning commute? It is hard to make the right decision if you haven’t pinpointed the problem. Compiling a list each day will help you to see the pattern and clarify if the issue is personal or professional.

What Does Change Mean to You?

There’s little point in moving from one unsatisfactory office job to another. Best practice is to speak with your family, friends, and coworkers – anyone that you trust. Engaging in a positive discussion will help to take the weight off and give you some much-needed fresh insight.

Would you like to move on from the corporate sector or try your hand at a management role? Change won’t always be black or white, only as dramatic as you can handle. If you aren’t likely to benefit from dropping your current position altogether, then don’t back yourself into that corner. There are plenty of other ways to increase job satisfaction.

A study conducted at MIT concluded that the more an individual is appreciated for their work, the more proud and positive they feel. Most professionals are motivated by praise and recognition. When you work in a large office environment it can often feel as though you are ‘going through the motions’ where your work is ignored or lost amongst the crowd.

What is the Next Step?

Now that you understand the problem, it’s time to find the right solution. In-depth reflection should help you to choose a pathway that best reflects your desired outcome. This means holding off on that request for a promotion until you know you want to step up to manage. Don’t pack your things up just yet either!

  • Complete Further Study: to reduce the chance of a salary drop if you’re looking to move industries, enrol in a short course, TAFE course or degree, depending on your time commitment. This will help your career by expanding your knowledge and offer networking opportunities with like-minded people.
  • Take A Short Break: sometimes the only way to overcome a crossroads is to take a break. A weekend down the coast or a week away will provide you with the time to adjust your focus and get away from the computer screen.
  • Take Up A Hobby: after a long day, it can be tempting to get home and stay there. What you really need is to switch up your environment and try applying your skills to something fun and new.
  • Talk About A Promotion: if you don’t speak up now, then forever hold your peace. Don’t wait to just be offered a promotion, sit down and talk through your current position. Put your name forward to shoulder more responsibility.
  • Look At External Pathways: if none of these will work for you, then maybe it’s time to consider changing your place of work. While this is a big upheaval on your personal life and career, it could also be the best decision you make. Isn’t that worth the chance?

Author Bio

Caroline Schmidt writes the blogs for Kangan Institute. She is passionate about education, careers, and giving advice to students of all ages.

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