There’s one thing in the working world that can make both new grads and seasoned professionals feel lost, uncomfortable, and scared: realizing you don’t like what you do.
But here’s the good news: You are not alone. And even better? It only takes four steps to improve your situation.
Step 1: Realize That You Are Not Your Degree
Many people feel guilty about not wanting to work in their current field because they spent so much time and money to get a degree for it. Because of that cost, they figure they need to stay in a field they no longer like.
This is a bad assumption.
First, you are not your degree. At the end of the day, it is just a piece of paper. Is it important? Yes. But your strengths are what make you a great employee, not your degree.
Second, just because you got a degree in one area doesn’t mean you didn’t learn any skills you could apply to other areas. I’m living proof! I was an English major who ended up working in recruiting. Now, I run my own coaching business.
A big part of all of those fields is the ability to write compelling content for leads. What better degree to teach you how to write well than English?
Step 2: Ask Yourself What Work You’d Do For Free
OK, so you know you don’t like what you’re currently doing, but what job would you prefer? Most people shy away from this question or have no idea. Start figuring it out by noticing what you would do even if you weren’t getting paid for it.
For instance, a few years ago when I couldn’t find a job, I realized I could write all day and be the happiest 20-something on Earth. So, I focused on becoming a writer. Now, I actually get paid to write for publications.
This brings me to the next step …
Step 3: Figure Out What It Takes To Make It Happen
This will be different for everyone. Maybe you just need to find a different, traditional office job. Or maybe you want to do something completely unconventional. Either way, figure out what it will take to make your desired opportunity happen.
One great way to do this is to set up informational interviews with people who do what you want to do. You’ll get great tidbits on how to get started on your next path. You may also be surprised to find that many of them may have degrees that are completely unrelated to their jobs.
When I started freelancing, I Googled everyone I could find who’d already made a career out of freelance writing. I wanted to soak in as much information as possible, so I’d know what to do next.
Step 4: Just Do It!
Here’s the hardest part for most people: You actually have to do what it takes to leave your current field.
Many people know what they’d rather be doing. They also have an inkling that they could get paid for it. And they may even do all the research necessary to get started. Unfortunately, many of them sit on it out of fear—and miss the opportunity to move into a field they’d enjoy.
I doubt you want to be one of those people, so as Nike so brilliantly puts it, “just do it.”
Have you changed career fields? Tell us about it in the comments.