Do you find yourself looking forward to one aspect of your job while dreading everything else? Say you’re a publicist. You love writing press releases and curating content for electronic press kits. But you hate calling clients or promoting projects to the media. You worked hard to earn your position, now you feel a bit guilty that you’re so dissatisfied. Don’t be. Few successful careers are straight paths. I started in counterterrorism and diplomacy before becoming a career coach and business owner. Yet the things I learned early are still informing my work today. Everything you’ve achieved already will prepare you for the next leap. All you need to do is to step back, reevaluate, and consider these tips to achieve career clarity.
If you’re dealing with what Deepak Chopra believes is your mind’s managerial role of confusion, distraction, and disorganization, then take the time to quiet it. Begin your day with meditation. There are apps and online tutorials but the key is reaching a point where your regularly roaming mind grows still. In those quiet moments, you’ll be open and intuitive. Clarity often arrives when we aren’t looking for it.
Take a Look at Yourself
As you approached graduation, you likely took a self assessment. Whether that was five years ago or twenty, you’ve evolved. Your priorities have shifted. So take the time to find out a little more about who you are and the work you enjoy. There are plenty of options online. Another tactic is to make a list of everything you love about your career and the things you could do without. Somewhere in those two lists is a bit of career clarity that can guide you to the next step.
Explore Your Options
Some companies offer job rotation where employees get to spend time in different departments. You may even be able to shadow someone doing the type of work that interests you. When you imagine yourself doing something different, you likely have an unrealistic version of the work. That’s normal. Spending time watching someone actually do the work you aspire to may not only provide career clarity but even change your mind in favor of the work you’re currently doing.
If your company doesn’t provide an opportunity to observe other departments, network. Reach out to the best contacts in the field you’re interested in. Ask for advice, not a job. Remember, you’re hoping to explore your interests, not make a drastic leap. See if there’s an opportunity to shadow one of the contacts you talk to.
Work for Free
This may not seem ideal but hear me out. You’ve already developed a valuable skill set. The problem is you may not be qualified for the career your want. Pursuing an adult internship or volunteer position can boost your resume while letting you see if it is a good fit. Of course you’ll need some flexibility from your employer but many internships don’t require a full-time commitment while volunteers can often set their own schedule.
Get Your Hustle On
Side gigs can be a great way to transition from one job to another. They can even turn into profitable businesses. Using the earlier example of the publicist, perhaps what you really want to do is write. Awesome, but you have to make a living and landing a staff position is pretty difficult. Instead, offer to create content for a small business’s website or craft bios for up-and-coming performers. You could even write a blog and figure out how to monetize it. The possibilities are endless. When you’ve gained experience you have the choice of either pursuing a traditional job in the new field or jettisoning your old job in favor of self employment.
Clarity takes time. It’s not a destination but a journey. There are going to be unexpected bumps in the road. Still, when you start working at something you truly love you’ll look back with the certainty that it was all worthwhile.
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