Updated: Nov 4
You've reached your 30's, or your 40's.
You've got a feeling that you need a career change, but you aren't really sure. You’re feeling a little lost and have little or no career direction.
This is what I see in most of my clients who feel the same -
They have STOPPED LEARNING anything new
There are NO NEW CHALLENGES at work
Work has become MUSCLE MEMORY, doing tasks repeatedly
The ENERGY at work has completely disappeared
Many of us ACCEPT these feelings as just normal ups and downs. But could they be warning signs you need to pay attention to?
If you are experiencing these signs, you can either -
-ACCEPT status quo and get on with it
-RESIST status quo and design change for yourself
When I went through a career transition in my 40’s, there were times when I felt stuck, confused about what to do, and exhausted from what I was doing. And if you're going through this now, you are probably wondering what to do.
Well, let me tell you what I did RIGHT. The one thing I realized I needed to was to ACT. Thinking can only take you so far, at one point you need to take a leap of faith and START DOING.
What To Do If You Are In Your 30'S And Have No Career Direction
First, Figure Out What’s Important To You At Work
Here are some ideas for you to think about...
Freedom- What makes you feel free like you're living the life you're meant to have? For me right now, it's being able to work on what I want, when I want, with whom I want.
Social Connection- Who do you like spending time with? Are you doing it right now? I'm loving building a business with people I adore.
Money- Think about how much money you want to make. And what kind of job can get you that.
Challenge- Those brain cells need some exercise, don't they? How do you plan to do it? Right now, I like to do stay involved in many different projects.
Security- Do you want to feel safe and secure at work? Or you up for a risky move? I'm taking risks right now, but after setting up a strong, secure foundation in all respects - physical, mental, family, and financial. I’d feel unsettled otherwise!
Balance- Feel like taking a career break from being overworked? Or maybe you're underutilized at work, and need something to tap your full potential? Focus on the current moment, what's important right now?
Second, Invest In Yourself
This could be the best thing to do when you lack career direction and want to break out of a career rut.
Focus on learning and development. Think about the role you’d like to transition to and what skills can help you get there. You could also consider getting additional certifications if you are from the IT or HR field. If you are stuck and don’t know what to do, this might be a good time to think about hiring a career coach.
Wondering what a career coach can do for you? Read this to know how you can change your career direction with the help of a professional.
Third, Find A Role Model
Have you had a role model at work? I have had a few. And they’ve had such a positive influence on my life and helped propel me towards my goals.
Think about what you admire about them the most. Reach out to them. Ask for help if you want to. You’ll be surprised to see how some people come forward to help you. Many leaders are community champions. They know that a sense of community could get anything done. There's little we can do alone.
Sonia Sotomayor said “...But a role model in the flesh provides more than inspiration; his or her very existence is confirmation of possibilities one may have every reason to doubt, saying, 'Yes, someone like me can do this.”
Yes, you can do this!
Middle age is that time of life when we hear two voices calling us. One saying, "Why not?" And the other, "Why bother?"
These words from Sydney J. Harris are a reminder that mid-career transition can be tough!
Some days you'll be pulled towards this fantastic opportunity you've always wanted to try. You'll say "Why not? I'll give it a try!" But then, after a long day at work, you'll say "It's all a bit much. I'll just stay here, it's comfortable. It's safe. It's stupid to move."
It can feel like these two opposing questions are tearing you apart.
But perseverance is where the answer lies. Simple ways to persevere are -
Stay rationally optimistic - Sure, there'll be days when things don't always go as planned. That's OK. Take it easy and stay rationally optimistic.
Embrace your failures - Hugely successful people often say that some of their biggest failures were in fact indispensable components of their success. Your failures give you an opportunity to learn more.
Stop stressing - Don't work yourself to death as you try to reach your career goals! Take long walks. Read. Meditate. Sip some coffee. Live a little.
If you are struggling with a lack of career direction, check out my post on "How to pick a career path that's best for you" on LinkedIn. Connect with me for more career change and growth tips!