Once you start working, it can be fairly easy to get swept up in the routine of things before recognising you’re in the middle of a career path you don’t really want to be in. Stepping back from a job you’re not enjoying and trying to recalibrate can be pretty intimidating, and as it turns out, there’s a highly studied reason for this.
Called the ‘escalation of commitment’, the primary reason we’re unsure or unwilling to shift gears when it comes to work is because we’re worried about the consequences of change. When you’ve already invested time and energy into a project, making the choice to start a new can feel taxing or even impossible. The truth, however, couldn’t be further from these fears.
Figuring out why you’re feeling stuck
The first step in deciding you want a change in careers is getting to the root cause of your current problem. Why was your old role unfulfilling, and what do you need to look out for specifically in your new position that will ensure this doesn’t happen again?
Sometimes, you’ll find the issues you’re facing with your job are things you can bring up with your manager, and you may soon find yourself beginning to be engaged with work again after. However, if your issue is you want to work in another industry altogether, or you find no move to reform things even after you’ve pointed them out, then you’re more likely to need to switch careers.
Don’t panic about starting from scratch
The number one fear surrounding a switch in career is having to restart the strenuous process of job-hunting all over again. Luckily, unlike your first time seeking jobs, this time, you’re equipped with a lot more tools than you had before. Work experience is a very valuable asset to have in the job market, and even if you’re entering a totally different industry, it is well worth reflecting on the specific transferable skills you’ve gained from your old job.
You also have a network of contacts who can help further your search, as well as a far better understanding of what recruiters are looking for when it comes to interviews. If you’re worried about taking the plunge immediately, explore your options on career search websites that allow you to make a profile as a passive candidate (LEAP is one of them!), so you can ease your way back into it.
Resist thinking about failure
There’s a lot of pressure for graduates to find their perfect fit and dream job as soon as they get out of university, but for a lot of people, this is simply not the case. Feeling frustrated and seeking change within your job tends to get equated to ‘admitting defeat’, and the shame associated with this results in a lot of people sticking through work they don’t feel engaged in or enthused about.
Identifying you need a change in order to be more productive is anything but a failure – in fact, in the long run, it is far more industrious to invest in a career you know you can work hard and improve at.
Overcome the need to view your career as something that can only be linear. Reflect on what it is you need to re-engage with work and start planning backwards from there. You’ll be far more happy and productive for it in the long run.