Remember when you started out on your career. You were probably excited about the future with all its possibilities and keen to gain as many skills and as much experience as you could. You had lots of ideas and energy, and most likely you set yourself ambitious goals.
But now, a good few years on, have you got stuck in a rut? Have you started wondering whether you want to continue in your present role, or do something entirely new?
Many people who come to me for help feel like this. They often feel confused, unfocused or frustrated and their confidence is low – completely the wrong frame of mind with which to embark on a career change.
What do I suggest someone in that position does?
The first thing I would say is to try to work out what type work you enjoy most. Which tasks fill you with excitement and purpose and which ones contribute to a cause that matters to you? What gives you a sense of achievement? Once you’ve identified your most pleasurable tasks and responsibilities, can you develop a plan to incorporate more of them into your current role?
Make a list of everything you enjoy doing at work right now. Are there any common themes? What strengths or abilities do you demonstrate? How can you use these attributes more in other tasks or projects?
What are your goals in the short, medium and long term both in and out of work?
Can you change or expand your current role, or get involved in projects or secondments elsewhere in the organisation to give yourself new challenges and expand your skills?
Would a change of organisation to somewhere where the culture and work colleagues fit in with your style and values better make all the difference?
Or should you look at changing completely, in which case you need to embark on what is really a research project to explore sectors, organisations and roles which would fit more closely with your aspirations?
Find a coach or mentor who can help you keep your career moving forward. Think about what makes you happy in your personal life, and try to do more of it.
Make an effort to connect with a colleague this week. Ask them out to lunch, for a quick cup of coffee, or for a drink after work. And consider getting to know someone you don’t often talk to.
Research shows that having an interesting role, along with a good relationship with your boss, are the two most important factors for job satisfaction. Strong links with your peers and colleagues are also important; the more connected you feel to others, the happier you’ll likely be.
Build good work relationships by getting to know the members of your team. Make an effort to connect with others by inviting someone out for lunch or an after-work drink. Show your appreciation when someone helps you out, and do your best to return the favour.
Last, try to stay positive. People enjoy being around upbeat people, and you’ll likely find that encouraging yourself to think in this way will lead to positive outcomes in your career.