If necessity is the mother of invention, then misery must be the mother of reinvention. When you’re not happy at work, it overshadows not just the hours between 8-6, but many of your evening and weekend hours as well. While financial responsibilities may make it difficult to up and quit your job, it doesn’t mean you have to stay in an unsatisfying career.
Follow the 6 steps below to reinvent yourself:
Accept that you’ll need to take a step backwards
It’s not easy to walk away from a healthy paycheck or a solid reputation you may have spent years acquiring. Taking a step back can be hard on your wallet and even your self-esteem if you let it. Complete a cost-benefit analysis of staying where you are vs. making a change that will ultimately impact how you feel on a daily basis. Consider the long-term gains, rather than being shortsighted.
Look into programs that help you find training and employment
Training programs such as General Assembly offer certificates and intensive training in just about every digital discipline. Coding, online marketing and user experience design are just some of the in-demand skills that employers are looking for in prospective employees. Many GA students are professionals looking to diversify their current skill set or make a complete professional change. GA and other development boot camps have career placement assistance and many participants have job offers by the end of the program.
Lynda.com is an additional online resource for learning new skills, at your own pace.
Commit and then make a plan
The lure of change and escaping present unhappiness can cloud your judgement. If you’re not sure what color your parachute is though, you may not be ready to make a change. Do some self-exploration and soul searching to determine if you’re capable of committing to the steps necessary to make a change. Once the answer is yes, begin your plan of attack to make your desired change a reality.
Surround yourself with support
Change is not easy. For every person who tells you to go after what you really want, there are four others sharing all the reasons why you shouldn’t make a change. Keep in mind that everyone means well. In fact, friends and family who discourage you may even have valid points. “You’ll be making less money, it will be a struggle”…etc. Those things are quite likely to happen. But if you’ve decided that you’re willing to go through a period of struggle to come out happier on the other side, stay strong and you will get through it. Keep a list of how the long-term benefits will outweigh the short-term struggle so you can reference it! Be sure you’re surrounded by people who energize and support you, rather than drain you. You will need all the energy you have to focus on creating a professional life you love.
Find a mentor
Sometimes the best support can only come from someone who has been in your shoes. Use your best networking skills to connect with people who have traveled this same path. Ask them for any and all advice they are willing to share and ask lots of questions. Throughout this process, you might be lucky enough to find someone who really gets you and who is ready to be a mentor. Having an impartial party as your sounding board goes a long way and will impact your mood and your ability to stay focused and committed to your plan during times of doubt.
Start being what you want to be
We label ourselves and those labels start impacting what we think is possible. “I’m an accountant, I’m a gymnast, I’m a writer…” In actuality, we’re much more than any label or job title. If you’re an accountant longing to be a writer, start writing and say you’re a writer working as an accountant. Make the mental shift and start owning who you are and who you want to become. You’ll find it freeing to identify as being what you want rather than seeing yourself stuck as something else.