Well, we should have said we feel your career pain!
From our early teens we are usually forced into making decisions that can start to shape the direction our lives take, certainly career-wise. In many schools you’re asked to narrow down your subject choices from 13/14 years old. In the years to follow you then filter down those subjects even further and in your final years at school are probably thinking of a course or career that is linked to those subjects. Therefore, those choices when you’re 13 or 14 years old can be quite significant for some. Arguably they could be the start of your career roadmap. But how well do we really know our natural talents, strengths and passions such a young age? How do we really know what subjects will light us up? What could that mean for our futures? Can it lead to experiencing career pains further down the line?
In my own case, I was good at languages but come the end of my schooling I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. In the end I opted for languages and business studies. I graduated and still without knowing what I really wanted to do, went into a career in financial services. Being honest, it didn’t really feel like that was what I was best suited to. There were some major benefits – it paid well, many of the people were great, many learning opportunities and more. However, there were also challenges, they felt like real pains, that I found difficult to deal with.
- Not using my strengths in certain roles
- Office politics and egos
- Personal development being seen as a luxury rather than essential
- Lack of opportunities to progress
- Disconnect between my values and company values
- Long commute
- Poor life balance
Some of those were massive pains for me but are very common. Even now, years on, I can reconnect with some of the emotions I felt during my lowest times. However, we always have a choice and mine was own or moan! Did I want to just stick it out, feeling completely unfulfilled and burnt out, or did I want to take steps towards building a career I would love. To cut a long story short, I started playing to my strengths more. I looked for opportunities to get more involved in personal development and coaching and, finally, left my corporate career in 2013 to become a life coach. I’ve never looked back. However, I have to say that I’m grateful for all the learning and opportunities my corporate career gave me.
We all have the choice to make new choices.
Be an owner
We all have it within us to bitch and moan about our careers. Now and again is fine, we all have bad days. However, if it is happening consistently then listen to those negative emotions – what are they telling you? They may be telling you it’s time to explore how you can build a more fulfilling career. If so, that’s your prompt to take action. Here are some questions that may help you to get started:
What energises you?
What are you doing when you’re so engrossed in it that you lose track of time?
What are your core strengths, talents, skills, knowledge and experience?
How can you use them in innovative ways at work?
What opportunities are there to bring more of what energises you into your day job?
What other opportunities are there outwith your day job – either still within the company or outwith?
What strengths and skills can you develop in your own time if there aren’t any opportunities in work time?
Hopefully, there’s some helpful food for thought there?
There’s no doubt, it can sometimes be difficult to get started, especially if you like to stay within your comfort zone. However, we have designed a free Career Foundation PDF to help you with the first steps towards building a more meaningful career. You can get it here
Look out for our next blog article which will introduce ‘happenstance’, the flexible way to navigate your career.