Changing Careers: When Your Job Isn’t All You Thought It’d Be

man thinking about changing careers

You put in the hard work and earned the degree, but your new job is turning out to be a big disappointment. Though you loved the idea of being a chef or a teacher or fill in the blank at 18, it’s no longer true at 25. Things have changed, your circumstances have changed —you’ve changed. But here you are, you’ve got the job you thought you wanted, you’re making a living, but you’re miserable every day you’re there. You think, “There must be something else I can do, but what? How do I even go about changing careers?” Turns out, your situation is far more common than you might think. Millions of people struggle with the dilemma of feeling stuck in a job they no longer enjoy but feel powerless to leave. So what can you when your job wasn’t all you thought it would be?

Identify the Problem

Identifying the reason you’re unhappy with your job is vital when considering changing your career path.  

This might sound like a no brainer, but it’s essential to a successful career change. You need to identify why your career isn’t all you thought it would be. Was it different from what you expected? Could it be that the problem isn’t your career but the company culture you’re a part of? Identifying the reason you’re unhappy with your job is vital when considering changing your career path.

Take a Career Assessment

Start by taking small steps — take a career test to assess your interests and identify jobs you might actually enjoy. What excites you? What makes you happy? Can you see yourself turning any of those things into a career? You might think you already know all this about yourself, but it might be helpful to get a fresh perspective. It couldn’t hurt right?

If your company isn’t part of the problem, you may be able to find another job within the company that better fits your interests and skillset. Sometimes it’s just one aspect of a job that really weighs us down, and it can be difficult to see around that. For instance, you might really love the customer interaction that you get working for a mortgage company, but you might really hate sifting through all the paperwork.

Pick Something You’re Good At

This is important. Maybe you’re unhappy in your current career because you picked something you’re good at, but you don’t really like. When searching for a new career, you need to find something that you can enjoy doing, but you still have to be good at it. For one, it’s going to be pretty difficult to excel in a field that doesn’t fit your skillset, and that’s no fun at all.

Changing Careers isn’t Easy

Changing careers isn’t easy or fast, but career choices today are rarely linear. Obviously you want to consider a career that fits your personality and interests, but also do some research on the labor market for that field. Start taking classes for skills you don’t have. Even if it takes you a few years to acquire some new skills, at least you’re moving forward and can see some light at the end of what seemed like a dead-end tunnel.

Research your options, evaluate your skills and follow your gut. The right career is out there, it just takes some persistence to find it. And remember, how you leave your current job matters. Don’t burn your bridges.

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Honestly Mag's staff is made up of all sorts of people; from Millennials to Gen Xers to Baby Boomers, we have all different kinds of perspective of life at work.