Be Brave: Ditch the Wrong Career for the Right One
It is difficult to admit you’re on the wrong career path.
In a sense we’ve been carving out our career paths since the age of 14 when we were picking our GCSEs, which in turn influenced our A-Level choices, then our degree title, and finally our job role. There’s little opportunity along the way to stop and say, ‘Actually, I don’t like this’.
But now, at the age of 23, I am saying: I do not like my career.
I’ve been gearing myself up for a job in the science industry for the last six to eight years of my life, completing my degree in Biochemistry (which included a Year in Industry) last year. Yet, last week I found myself handing in my resignation from my job as an Associate Scientist with no other job offer in place.
To be honest, after my Year in Industry experience I knew I didn’t want to return to science on graduating, but I wasn’t able to find any other work. I have no love for science anymore (apart from at a distance). I find laboratory work dull, laborious and unsatisfying. This may sound dramatic, but quite frankly my job was sucking the life from me. There were other elements at play in my decision to leave, but I just knew that my happiness and well-being was at stake and I had to leave as soon as I could.
The main signs that I was in the wrong career were as follows:
- I had no passion for my industry and I felt unmotivated.
- I dreaded getting up to go to work.
- I felt depressed and it was affecting my home life.
- The thought of ever being promoted made me feel trapped in a career I didn’t want.
- The stress of going to work had an effect on my health. I was ill more often.
So after learning I had a three month notice period, I took a chance and handed in my resignation without another job offer in place. This is risky, and I only did it due to these reasons:
- A long notice period affects my ability to find new employment.
- I have enough money to support myself for at least three months of unemployment.
- I have no commitments or dependants.
- I have a great support network in place.
My hope is to go into the marketing industry as a social media and/or web content editor – and I’ve been preparing myself for this new career path for a little while! I have a lifestyle and beauty blog (This Millennial Girl), and I’ve been managing my current employer’s Twitter feed and involving myself with the development of their new website. I’m also working towards a Level 4 Certificate in Professional Marketing. With this in mind, I want to offer a few pointers on how to move towards the right career path if you, too, feel you’re in the wrong job:
- Seek out opportunities with your current employer to help you develop transferable skills and find what you enjoy. Can you go on a training course? Can you shadow someone in another department? Be proactive and you may be surprised at how supportive your current employer is with your personal development.
- Do your research. Sometimes a Google search won’t reveal everything you want to know. Set up an informal interview with someone working in the specific job or industry you’re interested in, or email them some burning questions. Find someone through Facebook or (better) LinkedIn; usually people are polite enough to reply.
- Find courses or workshops that you can do in your spare time. It’s not just the knowledge you gain from these, but useful contacts who may offer valuable opportunities in the future. These contacts may even become supportive and understanding friends!
- Work your hobbies into your CV. What transferable skills have you gained? For example, with blogging you develop writing skills, learn how to use various social media platforms, and learn useful SEO tricks.
- Talk to friends and family about how you’re feeling, and what you want to do. Change can be scary and unsettling, so it’s important that your support network knows what is happening.
- Preparation is key – not just practically, but emotionally too. To get on your new career path you may face more rejection than you’re used to, especially if competition is tough. Try to stay strong and positive.
At the end of the day, our jobs take up a huge amount of time in our lives, and it would be a shame to waste that time being unhappy. So be brave and ditch the wrong career path for the right one!