Feeling lost in your career

Jul 13, 2021

Elizabeth Houghton

Sutton Full Potential Founder

Today’s youth is no longer satisfied simply doing a job that’s bringing them bread and butter. Of course, money is an important factor in a job but so is growth, satisfaction, and appraisal. Quite often you may feel clueless about where you are heading in your career. You may have started in your job with eyes full of big dreams and a determination to succeed. But if your job did not help you achieve your career goals, you feel frustrated after a while.

It is quite common for people to lost or stuck in their career paths. The feeling that your career has stalled and there are no growth prospects in sight can be bad for your self-confidence too. If you don’t act upon it and regain your drive to succeed, you will end up being stuck at this point forever without hope.

Motivation does not always come from outside but has to be nurtured inside you. You have to take control of your life and your career if you want to come out of this hollow and find your career path again. Yes, there are a lot of external factors that drain you of your energy and your will to do better. You could be feeling lost in your current job because of a toxic work environment or an uncooperative boss or lack of appreciation for your work. The reasons could be many. But how you deal with the situation is entirely up to you.

A good millennial career coach would tell you that, honestly, there are basically just two ways of handling this. You either change the external factors bothering you in your current career path, or you change your career path itself. Here we discuss how to find your way back if you are feeling lost in your career.


Find out the reasons behind your problem

The first step in solving any problem is diagnosis. Unless you know why this is happening to you, you can’t find an effective solution. You need to ask yourself a few questions first. Firstly, have you been feeling this way from the beginning of your career or is this something new? If you have been feeling the same since the very beginning, it could mean that your choice of career itself was wrong and you may need to reconsider things.

But if this feeling of stagnation or being lost is more recent, it could be because of some recent changes in your life or your job. That reason could be having a child, a merger in your company or a new boss who is hard to get along with. Once you have figured out the reason you can proceed to look for a solution.

You need to remember though, that not all problems can be solved instantly. Some of these issues will get sorted with time and there’s nothing you can do about it but be positive and wait. For instance, if you have just had a child and feel like your career is suffering because you need to tend to your baby, you have to just be patient and do your best. This is a temporary phase which shall pass and you child will grow up. Again, there are some problems that have no solution. For instance, say your company has had a merger and company policies have changed, which is why you see no personal growth in the future. In such a case you cannot change the cause but have to start looking for an alternative.

So, the key here is to identify the challenges you are facing first.

Think hard about what you want for your future

Your future is more than just the next promotion or the next raise that you’re expecting at your job. You must have bigger plans for yourself. So you need to think and ask yourself whether this current career or job will take you to your bigger goals any time soon. Do you see yourself achieving what you dreamt of in the beginning of your career, being in this job? If you keep focusing on the smaller targets now, it will be too late by the time you realize that your career did not end up where you wanted it to.

If you think this job will get you there, then there’s nothing to fret about. A little patience is all you need. But if you don’t see that happening then you need to think of career switch right away. The sooner you act on it, the faster you get past this hurdle.


Know your skills and capabilities

So, if you feel that there’s no hope here in your current job, you need to start looking for a new career or find a new job in the same profession. But where do you start looking?

To know where your knowledge or skills will be used well, you must know what skills you possess first. If you already love what you had been doing, the switch becomes easier because you can look for jobs in the same industry, you have the experience and you have already been using your skills. But if you aren’t happy in your current profession and what to switch to something else, you need to do a little homework.

In case you still can’t tell what you’re good at and whether that makes you happy, here’s an easy way to find out. List all the things that you spend time on, other than the usual activities. This could include anything from cooking special meals, baking really good cakes, yoga, painting, writing or even accounting or coding, for that matter. Now see which of these areas are you really skilled at, that is to say which of these can you take up professionally with a little guidance. So, you have your list of skills.

Now see which of these skills actually make you happy. Your dream career would be in something that you’re really skilled at and also makes you quite happy. Next comes the big decision.

How to make the switch

You have been in your current profession or job for so long. How do you change to a new career now? It won’t be easy and although you may be skilled, you may not yet have what it requires to get a job or start a venture in this new field. For instance, say you have been working in the legal industry till now but realized that your passion lies in interior designing. You may be very skilled at it but don’t have a relevant degree or any professional experience. That means you’re certainly not ready for a full-fledged job in interior designing right now. No company would hire you without a formal degree or industry experience.

So how will you take up your passion as a full-time career? The best advice any career coach can give you is, take your time to acquire a formal degree. You can pursue a formal course or a training in your field of interest at any age. All you need is the will and some money. But to be able to pay for the course, you need to have a steady income as well. So, it would be best to stick to your current job for a while (even though you can’t wait to quit) pursuing your interest on the side.


Consult a creative career coach if you need help

There are so many options and career choices today that it is often overwhelming. It may be difficult to decide where to go or what you’re actually good at and whether that is a monetizable skill. In the face of such uncertainties, a creative career coach can show you the light.

Millennial career coaches can help you discover your passion and guide you in choosing the right career path. Particularly when you are willing to pursue a non-traditional career, other may not be in a position to give you the right advice or may even be sceptical about your choice. But a non-traditional career coach can give you a clear picture of all the pros and cons of the profession you want to pursue.

Most millennials and GenZers have a passion and ambition to do something different from what their past generations have been doing. This will to change the norm is very essential if you want to achieve new heights. But you may often face criticism in trying to follow your interests or do not find suitable guidance and have to ultimately give up on your efforts. A career coach can help you break these barriers and find careers that align with your passion.


Networking can help you find new opportunities too

Another good way to learn about new opportunities and career options is by talking to people. A chat over a cup of coffee with a former colleague who has found a new career can also be helpful in gaining some clarity of thought. When you talk to people from your professional circle you will bring up topics that interest you and someone may be having experience in that field. You can learn from them how they made the switch and how the new career path is treating them.

Meet more people from different fields, either in-person or through social media platforms and try to learn all you can from them. See which areas really trigger your interest. This could serve as a good indicator of your true passion and help you decide which career to choose. Go to networking events and conferences where you can interact with other budding professionals. The more you talk to like-minded people, the more opportunities and possibilities open up for you.


Take refuge in career-boosting books, podcasts and TED Talks

Like in most crisis situations, a good book can be your best friend in this as well. A good career guidance book that addresses the issues faced by millennials in their professions can widen your view. Yes, the self-help range in the bookstore can be expansive and making the right choice is important here. Do your research and get something that addresses issues closest to yours.

If you’re not much into reading, there are so many other options too. Get hold of a good podcast or an audiobook. TED Talks are also found to be inspiring by many young professionals looking for some motivation to start afresh.

Explore all the available options. There’s something to learn in everything.


In conclusion

It is alright to feel lost once in a while. What is not right is to feel this way and not do anything to change it. You have a world full of possibilities ahead of you. All you need is a little push and some really useful advice. Seek guidance from a creative career coach who can help you write your own success story and not follow those already written by others. A little effort now can bring you a lifetime of professional bliss.

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