Are these 5 old rules holding you back from changing career?
When it comes to our careers, many people are still trying to apply old rules to a new world. Rules which are now outdated. It’s like trying to fit a round peg in a square hole.
Whether you have recently graduated, or been working for a while, more than likely you have had structure and frameworks given to you. It might be that you just fell into what you are doing due to circumstance. It might be that you were guided there through your education. However, suddenly you find yourself asking “is this really what it is meant to be like?”
If we are trying to play by rules that no longer apply, it’s no wonder more and more people feel frustrated, stuck or even a bit lost when it comes to their career.
I seek to dispel some of those old rules and provide an alternative course of action.
Before I do, let’s just acknowledge that changing career, in fact change of any kind, can be daunting. We are often scared of the unknown – especially when it is so hard to predict what the future holds.
What will it be like? I don't know! Ah!
So, perhaps we hold ourselves back…?
But how much of life is certain? The beauty of life is that it continues to evolve. It can, does and will change. The same is totally true of your career.
It’s ironic that you can be frustrated in the job you are doing, and yet lack the confidence to change. You don’t really know where or how to start looking. You feel that you lack enough knowledge or experience.
You feel like there isn’t much to look forward to and you really thought that by this point, you would have had it all sorted like everyone else. You want to feel proud of the work you do and instead, you mostly feel anxious or, even weirder, this strange sense of being uncomfortably comfortable. The job is fine, but actually you were hoping for something more.
When we spend as much time as we do at work, it is reasonable that we hope to enjoy it and feel a certain sense of fulfilment from it. Not to mention, that it supports the lifestyle we want for ourselves.
The old rules don’t apply in the new world
Let’s dispel the old rules that might be standing in your way when it comes to changing career and see what you could do instead:
That you need to know your purpose
What was your purpose when you were a teenager? Be a good student, not get into trouble, win at your favourite sport? Chances are, it is not any of those now. There is so much pressure put on people to know their purpose. They say, “Know your purpose, find your calling, have a happy career.” Your purpose is transient – it is insane to think you have one fixed purpose that would not continue to develop because of the experiences you acquire.
If you spend your time and energy worrying about getting your true purpose right, you can miss opportunities along the way that will inform your choices. All too often, we get so overwhelmed by an end result that we can’t even take the first step.
What you need to understand is: what is your right now purpose. If you only had to focus on the next 12 months, what would your purpose be? Knowing that, you can more easily work out the first step to take and then more efficiently seek out opportunities along the way.
That you have limited experience/skills
Don’t pigeonhole yourself before someone else does. Hiring has changed. It isn’t always about the degree you did or didn’t get. Many companies are looking for problem solvers and people who can think laterally.
Writing job descriptions is a necessary but sometimes arduous task. When you read one, don’t let it hold you back just because you think you’re not a 100% fit. Many companies these days add a caveat on their jobs page, “Don’t see a role that suits you? Get in touch anyway! We are always keen to hear from interesting people”.
Get a solid understanding of all the things you are really good at and consider how you would add value to an organisation. Try writing a list of your strengths. If you struggle, write a list of your perceived weaknesses and then find the opposite skill. Is that you?
The career ladder
There is no ladder anymore. Life is non-linear and so are careers. You can always start again and very often people do. Old world thinking is that you work hard for promised upward progress. Even if that were true, which it isn’t, it can also deliver you to a steady state of plateau where you plug away and suddenly realise you haven’t moved for years.
People have zig-zag careers these days. They move up, down and sideways. They leave companies and return. I am not encouraging un-calculated pinballing every two minutes, but the only way is not necessarily just up.
Other people know what suits you better
No one cares more about your career than you. Other people do not know you inside and out. They might have more knowledge about what jobs are out there, but they don’t know you as well as you do. This is about you taking complete ownership of yourself, where you are right now and moving to the next step.
This can be done through raising your self-awareness, getting under the bonnet of what really makes you tick and what you want to achieve. Career coaching is a great way to support this process of self-discovery and understanding.
Everyone else is so sorted
You may be having a crisis of identity or struggling with an overwhelming sense of imposter syndrome. Well, let me tell you, so are most other people! Only as we go through life, do we start to realise it. Some of the world’s most successful people are still waiting to be found out. They also feel like they don’t belong in the room they are in.
Imposter syndrome can actually work to your advantage. People who suffer from imposter syndrome can be very good listeners and ask great questions. It encourages empathy and a sense of awareness of others. In a team setting, that brings people together. Arrogance, on the other hand, tends to push people away.
Did you struggle to articulate your strengths before? Do you now recognise you are a good listener perhaps? Imposter syndrome can also result in motivated action. Now that is definitely a good thing.
We live in an uncertain world. Don’t add to that by letting old rules hold you back from making new changes that will benefit you. Understand and take control of who you are today. Concentrate on your right now purpose.
One thing is certain. You can't get back the time you lost waiting or being fearful. Better to embrace the present fully, accept fear as an indicator of a courageous, ever developing path and get going.
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