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What To Do When You Have No Career Direction

Updated: Mar 27

Are you worried that you've had no career progression in a long time? The feeling of something missing can be the most terrible feeling.


If you are experiencing this, read on to know how to get out of it.


What to do when you have no career direction

What is Career stagnation? Signs You Need to Deal With It


I don't have the slightest idea about what I want to do. At work, I'm simply taking instructions and delivering them as expected out of me” someone told me. I am sure he wasn't the only one to find himself in such a situation.

While on the outside, things appear to be going smooth, if I think of what I would be doing in 5 years from now, I see myself the way I would in the mirror today. I feel I have slipped into the comfort zone, I find that my learning curve is drawing a blunt line, and the monotonous work does not excite me anymore", he added.


Does this sound familiar to you?


If so, it's time you think about making a change in your career. If you feel you're stuck in a career rut and need to get out, there are some things you can do to get career clarity.


If you have found yourself in a ditch, guess what? You can find your way out. Scratch, crawl, strive, climb and press as if there’s no tomorrow. Manifest the greatness inside of you! - Rodney Walker

Are you Happy About Your Work?


Being good at something doesn't necessarily mean you will feel good about it.


You might have experienced this in your career when you felt stagnated, and you had nothing to look forward to except your monthly paycheck. This can be a tricky situation to be in. I have been there too.


Questions to Ask to Get Out of The Career Rut


So, if you have realized and accepted that you are not happy. You are not satisfied with your current role. Something definitely feels off.


Now, how do you find clarity?


By asking yourself some serious career change questions, so you can unearth the root problem and come up with an effective solution.


Going with the flow doesn’t always help. And definitely not when a destination is non-existent.

Here are is a career Q&A that'll help you clear your head and get ahead in your career -


I've Had No Career Progression In The Last Few Years, What Can I Do ?


What is more useful for your career? How you did last year .. OR.. How you will do next year ?


Did you say "Both"? Or maybe "It depends"? Either way, I agree 😊


Past performance can be measured with 'Lagging indicators' , like -

  • Performance reviews

  • 360 degree feedback reports

  • Your own satisfaction levels

Future success may be predicted with 'Leading indicators' , like -

  • Your learning curve

  • New opportunities pursued

  • Network and personal brand growth

If you want to reflect on the past, and learn from it, "Go For Lagging Indicators". If you want to increase chances of success and career growth in the future .. "Go For Leading Indicators"


I have a clear preference for leading indicators !


They can help you adapt, change track and adjust course. They help you move forward, and not stay stuck in the past. They can help you forecast and solve issues before they explode.


This is a great way to start thinking about how you want to grow and get a fresh start in your career.

I Have No Career Path At 30, What Can I Do?


You want to make a career change, but are you wondering where to start? Here some ideas -

  • VISUALISE THE END GOAL - Write down what you REALLY want in your career. Try to be as specific as possible. Ask yourself where do you want to see yourself in the future. This will help you focus on what's coming and what you can accomplish, rather than being stuck in the past.


  • CLEAR UP YOUR HEAD - Choice overload is real and it's paralyzing. Don't feel pressured to make a choice immediately. Make a list of ideas. Once you do that and give enough time to think, gradually, a few good ones will emerge which will make the decision-making process much easier.


  • MAKE A COMMITMENT - Now, pick one thing. And make a commitment to give it everything. Practice that one thing a 1000 times, like Bruce Lee said.


  • AND DON'T STOP! - Do you know what's the most difficult part of any process? Getting started! And since you have passed the most difficult part, you can easily continue doing it. Don't judge your actions as good, bad or wasteful. You are doing something to get out of the terrible situation you found yourself in, that's progress in itself. If it even remotely helps you with your goal, keep doing it!

I Have No Career Goals, What Can I Do?


You've probably heard of SMART goals, and you've probably written a few too. But do you know about SMARTER goals?


A SMART goal is set by asking these 5 questions -


1. Specific - Is it focused?

2. Measurable - How to measure results?

3. Achievable - Is it realistic?

4. Relevant - Is it important now?

5. Time-Bound - By when?


To make it SMARTER, add these 2 -


6. Evaluate - How will you assess progress?

7. Re-adjust - How will you get back on track?


Here's an example of a SMARTER goal..


Goal - To Get A New Job

Accept an offer for a new job (S) so I can move back to my home town (R4) within 6 months (T) by working with a career coach (A) , giving at least 2 interviews a week (M), and doing weekly check-ins with the coach (E) to adjust the job search strategy (R7)


Ready to set some "SMARTER" goals?


I Am Feeling Lost In My Career Path, What Can I Do ?


Here's a little quiz for you to get some clarity about your career path. Ask yourself -

  • Which part of your current work do you enjoy doing? Write them down.

  • Have you envisioned yourself in other careers? Which are those?

  • Has another’s job profile ever interested you? What is it?

  • Is there a new skill that you’d like to develop? What is it?

Answering these questions will give you a little more clarity on where your interest lies.


I Am Dying For A Career Change, What Can I Do To Make It Happen?


You're dying for a career change. It's been niggling at you for years. You want to make it happen. But how?


Here are some ideas -


1. Network


Would you rather buy a perfume based on reading the fragrance description or by using the testers that give you a scent of how it smells in real?

Of course, we’d all prefer to go with the latter!

The same concept applies to career change too. Before you make the shift to what you think you’d like to do, it is best to speak to people in the relevant field and try to understand what exactly you’d be signing up for.

In the process, if you get lucky and get small side gigs or internships in line with your likes, try them while you are still at your current job. No harm in testing waters before you leap!

2. Look Within Before You Look Outside


Now, this may sound philosophical. And you’re right in what you think. As far as career change opportunities are concerned, it is always best to look for opportunities in your area of interest within the organization before you start looking out. Besides, it is easier to get an opportunity to shift gears within the organization when compared to landing yourself an opportunity outside of it.

3. Wear Your Confidence On Your Sleeve


Be confident about your change in career. Have a convincing story about the reason for the change and why you are the best fit for your new role. Work experience is never irrelevant. There’s a learning and a takeaway from every opportunity.

Transferable skills make a career change resume look good. A great way to identify your transferable skills is to check if your experience (this could be academic, personal or professional) aligns with the skills needed for the job.

4. The Leapfrog Moment


Career change is a big step, given that it comes with quite a bit of emotional and mental baggage. You could be having your doubts as to whether things will work out fine. And when you do, remember to -

  • Be prepared to face the emotional and financial makeover

  • Be easy on yourself

  • Trust your capabilities

  • Set career goals and work towards them

  • Track your progress

In Conclusion


One thing we must acknowledge is that as human beings, our interests keep evolving with time. Career interests are no different. The only reason we get so stressed up when we lose track of our career goals or feel like trying new opportunities is that we are never taught about these issues.


We are never told that it's absolutely okay to feel so.


What's not okay is not taking action to change your situation. So, if you are feeling lost, it's time you assess your career goals and direction to ensure a solid career path.


If doing it all by yourself sounds overwhelming, you can even look for professional help. Here's how: What is Career Coaching? How it can help you?



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