Have you ever felt like you are trapped in a speeding car heading at breakneck speed in the wrong direction?
While this is a clearly a metaphor (I hope you haven’t been trapped in a speeding car!), it sums up the emotions I felt when I was in the grips of a career crisis.
Perhaps I was lucky that my career crisis hit when I was only 25, but feeling trapped, stuck and completely helpless sucks no matter what stage of your career you are at.
My career crisis was completely unlike me. I was always super positive, and doing million things. I liked school, enjoyed university and was always volunteering or socialising. All of a sudden I was unmotivated, uninspired and completely lost.
The scary thing is, it wasn’t just me going through this kind of crisis. In fact, one of my friends even shared his career crisis story here (trust me, everyone can relate to elements of this story!).
Thankfully, I made it to the other side of my career crisis.
Looking back now, in a really weird way I’m kind of thankful for my career crisis, for a number of reasons.
It taught me:
- Exactly what I did not want to do;
- The values that are important to me;
- The kind of people I want to spend my time with, and the people I want to work for;
- That I have the guts to go after what I want; and
- If you try hard enough, there’s always a way to make things work.
Importantly, some of the lessons that I learned aren’t just applicable to getting out of the grips of a career crisis. In fact, they are pretty good tips whether you love or hate your job.
Here’s how to get over your career crisis
- Nail your personal brand. I learned that strong personal brands aren’t just for CEOs, and I actually wasn’t doing myself any favours simply going through the motions at work. It’s easy to let your personal brand go when you are consumed by your work or a career crisis. Get back in the game by studying people’s brands that you admire – perhaps they are a mentor, or someone you follow online. What is it that you admire about them? Think about what you want to be known for. Watch Simon Sinek’s famous TED talk and discover your why. Take action!
- Build your tribe by finding opportunities to connect with likeminded individuals. Work out which friends have your best interests at heart: when you are going through a career crisis there is nothing worse than dealing with people who act like they are still in high school. Look beyond your inner circles as well for support. Join Meetup Groups and get out to some events. Every little confidence boost counts!
- Don’t be afraid to bring in the experts. I was lucky enough to work with a coach and the advice and clarity it gave me was invaluable. In fact, I wish I had asked for help earlier… sometimes you can’t do everything on your own (trust me).
- Think of ways you can be an intrepreneur. Don’t have your own business? Don’t let that stop you! Focus on ways that you can add additional value to your role. If you have a great idea, share it and collaborate with your team. You don’t have to have a life changing start up to kick career goals.
- Reconnect with your passion. Starting to write and blog again gave me purpose, which flowed on into my actual job. Don’t underestimate the power of feeling like you are driving your own career.
- Don’t sell yourself short. Most of us are guilty of this, particularly at the start of our careers. Consider “reverse mentoring” as a way to share your expertise with senior staff at your work. Maybe explain the benefits of social media, and give them a few handy hints on their LinkedIn profile.
- Finally, get started! Stop thinking “what if” and worrying if what you are doing is one hundred percent right. Embrace the journey, and commit to forging your own path – no matter what that is. Don’t know where to begin? Check out my 50 coffees project, which got me out of my comfort zone, and forced me to think about what I have to offer and (more scarily) what I wanted.
Finally, don’t forget that “doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will”.
PS. Are you facing a career crisis? Or just struggling to know where to start? Comment below, get in touch on social media or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I want to write content that helps you find a career you love!