Career choices are driven by a lot of factors. The perception of a particular designation, the earnings from a particular profession, the life style a particular profession offers and so on. It is not an uncommon phenomenon that you find yourself deep into your career only to realize that this isn’t the right choice for you. The good news – you are not alone. The bad news – you may not know what to do next.
Not knowing what to do is not completely bad. What is a super bad irreversible situation is, not wanting to do anything about such a state. Naturally the very first step to find out is ask yourself
“Am I on the right career path?”
There are three possibilities for an answer:-
Teeny Tiny No - If the answer to this question is a teeny tiny no, then you need to think whether you are generally irritated with your career choice. May be you are asking this question to yourself on a bad day at work. The teeny tiny no might be originating from an argument with a colleague or a misunderstanding with your boss. You need to revisit your answer to this question on another day.
Confused No – If your answer to this question is a confused no, then you need to think through your career choice vis a vis your life goals. Does this career choice fit your life goals? The answer to this question is not a simple yes or no. The best way to go about this would be to sit down and actually put your life goals on a piece of paper. Writing it down always makes them clear to you. There are multiple strategies that can be put to use to come up with your life goals. The SMART goal setting process is a popular one to start with.
Affirmative No – If the answer to this question is an affirmative no, then you need to really find the reasons for this. Is it the pay or is it the work culture. Is it the lack of growth options or is it to do with your work life balance. In any which case, an affirmative no indicates that you have clearly realized that you are in the wrong career. The only thing to do then is to move to a career choice that is for you.
Moving to an altogether different career choice can be quite a tricky decision to make. There are various factors that come into play – your age, your enthusiasm, your drive to go after a change, your family circumstances and not to forget your savings. These factors either alone or together can put you right back into your present career. What results then is an attitude change in you for the present career choice. For some this attitude change is one of acceptance, for some it is of dejection and for some others it is purely of loathing. Naturally a happy acceptance will help you make the most of what is available and grow further.
If you are one of those sprightly souls who will not get easily bogged by factors that compel you to go ahead with your present career choice, then you have an adventure ahead. Before you jump to a new choice of career/work, it is important to do a little bit of soul searching and self-inquiry. This will help you make the most of the second chance that you so daringly took from life. Often money plays an important role even in the second chances. What starts out as a willing mind starts pulling you in all possible directions when the going gets tough. There is only one way to know if you want to proceed or do a U-turn. Ask yourself this question -
Will you do what you want to do with all the money in the world at your disposal?
Asking yourself this question will help you know if you are going after an illusion or a passionate dream. A passionate dream is not bound by the money involved. You will do it irrespective of everything. You will do it happily with no sense of work. It is really not ‘work’. Success or failure does not matter. Infact, there is no failure. Thomas Edision said ‘I have simply found 999 ways how not to create a light bulb’ in response to a question on how it felt to fail 999 times before inventing the light bulb. There is probably no better example than this for going after a passionate dream.
Legends like Steve Jobbs or Elon Musk are not what they are without the drive to go after a dream. Career choices that are driven by a dream work the best. If you are not in one, then do not hesitate to change tracks. After all, you live only once.