If you sit at your desk, stare out the window, and wish for a job that actually makes you happy, then it may be time to move your career in a new direction. This is especially true if you've been at it for a few years and find that nothing ever gets better. While we all occasionally get stuck in a bad gig for money's sake, life is simply too short to spend your working hours doing something you find boring, tedious, or unfulfilling.
This is true long-term jobs, but it also applies to new jobs that you find yourself despising. "Sure, some jobs are a necessary step towards your dream job," says Amanda Augustine, career advice expert for TopResume, in an email to Bustle. "This is especially true for those who are new to the workforce or changing careers. However, if you dread going to work every day and can’t stand the thought of having the job of your boss’ boss, then it’s time to start exploring other career paths."
Whatever the case may be, tell yourself it's OK to make a change — even if that change seems difficult or scary. "Sometimes you’ll need to take a step sideways, or even backwards, in order to move forward in a new career," Augustine says. "Switching careers is certainly not impossible, but it often requires compromises during the transition period." Read on for some ways to smooth the transition, and get yourself on the path to a better shiny new career.
1. Look Back Over Your Career History
Even if you've only been working for a year or two, it can help to look back over what jobs and internships you've had. As you do, Augustine suggests asking yourself two questions: "What did I like and dislike about each position," and "In what roles did I feel like I was ‘in my element'?" You may find yourself realizing that you actually liked customer service, or that you were super good at managing. If so, start heading back in that direction.
2. Try New Things To See What You Like
If you don't have a varied work history to draw on, start trying new things to see what you like. This might mean taking a class to see if you're good in the business realm, or buying a cheap camera to see how you feel about photography. Dabbling might reveal a career path you hadn't previously considered.
3. Take Your Boss's Feedback Into Consideration
If you have a good boss, she's likely given you feedback on your strengths and weaknesses. If so, use this to figure out your skill set. "The goal is to identify at what type of work you excel, but also truly enjoy," Augustine says. (Enjoy being the operative word.)
4. Go Out And Pick People's Brains
Does your friend's job sound kind of awesome? Then ask her to sit down to chat about her career, and ask if she can offer any advice. "These informal conversations will help you understand which skills are attractive to prospective employers in this field, what positions within their industry would be a good fit, and any skill gaps you’ll need to fill," Augustine says.
5. Attend As Many Industry Events As Possible
Career fairs, trade shows, networking events, Meetups — Augustine tells me you should go to them all. This will help you build a network of relevant connections to guide you along the way. Plus, it will be a great opportunity to do that aforementioned brain picking.
6. Make A Plan Of Action
Are you sure about your next career move? If so, now's the time to make a plan of action. "Begin with the end in mind with your action plan," said career strategist Jenny Foss on TheMuse.com. "Once you’ve got that nailed, break it down into major milestones — skills you need to acquire, people you need to meet, things you need to wrap up in your current job, personal things you need to attend to prior to making this shift." Then start taking small steps to make it all happen.
7. Get Help Tweaking Your Resume
If you are going to an entirely different field, then you'll likely have to start afresh with a new resume filled with new skills. But often times you can tweak your past experiences to be relevant to your new career path. If you think this will be a struggle, it may be a good idea to work with a professional to help repackage your experience, Augustine tells me. This goes for your resume, as well as your LinkedIn page.
8. Don't Wait Around Forever
Yes, the economy is kind of bad. And yes, making a change is scary. But don't let these things freak you out to the point where you don't ever make the change, according to career expert Curt Rosengren on Money.USNews.com. If you hate your job, start making changes now so you can be happier sooner.
9. Take Classes And Earn Certifications
If you're making a dramatic career change, then get ready to take hella classes to get yourself heading in the right direction. "You may need to take a course or earn a certification while still working your full-time job," Augustine says. "Or, you may need a part-time role to help pay the bills while you’re beginning a new career path. It won’t always be easy, but these sacrifices will be worth it if the end result is a satisfying career."
10. Keep Track Of Your Progress
It's one thing to sit at your desk and daydream about a new job, and it's another thing to actually make it happen. To do the latter, it can help to track your efforts along the way. "Monitor how you’re doing and what you need to be doing next," Foss said. "Set up reminders so you follow up on things when you need to." This will help make the change an actual reality.
11. Be Patient, As This May Take A While
"Career changes can take time, depending on where you are on your current path and what you’re aiming to do next," said careers expert Mary Ellen Slayter on Monster.com. So be patient while you take classes and sign up for internships.You'll get there eventually.
Just be sure to take those first steps, and stick with it until you're happy with your career.
Images: Pexels (12); Bustle