Being a Career Counsellor, I am a magnet for people who hate their jobs. Some are stressed and overwhelmed. Some bored or under-utilised. Most lack the interest and sense of meaning which, among other things, lead to job satisfaction.
But the curious thing is that many people don't do anything to change their situation. As the Jim Rohn quote goes, "If you don't like where you are, change it. You are not a tree!". We have choices and control over our own destiny though, granted, it often doesn't feel that way and change is not easy.
So what is it that stops people from chasing the career that would ultimately make them happy?
In my experience, it comes down to the following five factors:
Several recent clients have commented to me that, prior to working with me, they simply hadn't thought about what they enjoy. Their careers were on auto-pilot. They had chosen, or fallen into, a particular occupation and simply continued on that track without questioning whether it was what they wanted to do.
"But being a <insert current occupation> is who I am". Our careers are a big part of our lives. Think about the first question you ask, or you get asked, when you meet someone new. It’s usually “what do you do?”.
Changing career can cause us to feel that we are losing our identity and, especially if we have been successful and attained a certain status, it can be hard to give up. As social creatures we also often care too much about what others think of us, and dealing with potential judgement from friends and family is something we will avoid.
Money is a reality of life that can give us security, and hopefully, freedom. There's a perception that changing career will always require some form of training/qualification, or at least, taking a pay-cut. The thought of going backwards financially is a difficult barrier to overcome. In reality though, a career change doesn't have to mean ending up worse-off.
4. Fear of failure
When we make a decision to follow a new career path, there is a risk that we either wont be able to get the job we want or, if we do, it will be no more enjoyable than the one we left! If we choose to invest significant time and/or money into the change, the stakes increase. For some this feels like a risk too big to take and they end up sticking with the ‘devil they know’.
5. Not knowing what you DO want to do
There are unlimited options for the work you could choose to do, and we know that having too many options (yes, even if they are all positive) can be as stressful as having none. Do you remember that milk advert? "Low fat, no fat, full cream, high calcium, high protein, soy, light, skim, omega 3, high calcium with vitamin D and folate or extra dollop...?". That demonstrates how overwhelming just buying a pint of milk can be!
How on earth is anyone supposed to make a career change decision? We can’t try all the options out, or research every possibility. So we stay stuck in the overwhelm... searching the internet for answers, taking the myriad of online tests hoping that one will deliver on it's promise to spit out our Dream Job!
But all is not lost.
We Career Counsellors are trained to help you figure all this out - to talk through your hopes and fears, and dig deep into what makes you tick. It's what we do! There is a process to follow, and it's effective.
About Anna Black
With 14yrs corporate experience and a personal career change under her belt, Anna’s helped dozens of professionals make life-changing career decisions.
Essentially she’s a Career Counsellor, but what she’s really passionate about is getting professionals out of jobs they don’t care about and into careers which make them happy.
So many professionals are disengaged and not reaching their potential. They don’t know what to do and in their hearts, they are afraid of wasting their most precious resource… time.
Check out other articles by Anna here.