What to do when you don’t know what you want to do
How many times have you heard your grandparents or even your parents talk about when they were a young, how everything was different? “Back in my day we worked at one company throughout all of our adult life.” “Back in my day we didn’t switch careers or we had to be in a job for at least a few years before changing company.” Sure, back in their day perhaps that was the case, but in this day and age it’s the norm for ‘Milllennials’ and young driven people to job hop and not know for sure what path is right for them. So, what do you do when you don’t know what to do? We spoke to Fyiona Yong, a Millennial Leadership Coach and the Founder of Wholistic Coachsulting Ltd. for her advice…
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I’m in a career that I don’t love and I’m really passionate about a completely different field to my current profession, how do I make the switch?
Job switching is an opportunity to gain new skills, experiences and include the ability to take on new responsibilities to help advance your career. There are several reasons why career switching shouldn’t be stigmatised:
- People who remain in one job for an extended tenure without gaining new responsibilities can become complacent. When we stretch outside of our comfort zones, we grow, bring new ideas to the table and question the status quo.
- Prior to handing in the resignation letter, consider gaining more insights about the field you are interested to move into. Sometimes the grass is always greener on the other side. Speak to those who are in the same field or even the company you are thinking about joining to get first-hand information.
- Once you have made the decision to take the leap, think about “why” you want to transition. What is your “why”? Especially if you don’t have much experience in the new field, ensure your message about your motivation is clear, how your transferable skills can help you transition smoothly into the new field and most importantly, share your genuine passion. If you decide to make the switch, ensure you have a good reason and can articulate it effectively.
I don’t know what I’m passionate about. How can I build a career around what I love when I’m not sure where my passions lie?
We all have a passion (some have more than one) but with “life” in our way, we have switched on autopilot to focus on getting our monthly pay checks, paying bills and looking after our family members. Unfortunately we seldom find time to have a quiet moment to reflect and evaluate what is happening in our life. Self-awareness is the first step to success and a fulfilling life.
Take some “me”-time and identify key events in your life. These can be the graduation from high school, the start of a new career or a new job but also look at personal key events that shaped you who you are today. Which events gave you an immense amount of joy, self-assurance and disappointment, sadness or frustration? Do you see a pattern? What motivates you in the positive experiences you have made? Consider asking yourself: “If there is no constraints, what kind of job would I be doing now?”
Another practical tip to identify what motivates you is to try out new activities and gain inspiration from others. Reach out to an inspiring mentor, join internal employee networks, participate in volunteer activities, help to organise the next company event, and consider to explore externally and meet new people at networking events.
I want a promotion or a change of title, but there isn’t one in my future. How should I prove myself? Do I need to change job?
Getting a promotion and a better job title is usually how we measure our success and progress in our careers. But just getting your job done is not going to get you that promotion. In fact, your boss wants to see that you can take on more responsibilities. Actively show (and sometimes tell) your boss that you’re ready to take on a new role. Spend some time to think how you can take on more within your current role and propose this to your boss.
Have regular development conversations with your manager about his/her expectation and get some clarity about what needs to happen for you to move to the next level. Ask for regular informal reviews to let your boss know you’re committed to advancing your career within the company. In these check-ins, you will also get insights about other specific things your boss is looking for before he/she will promote you.
Last but not least: patience. No one can tell you how long, but in times of expecting instant gratification, patience comes a long way.
I know what career I want to pursue, but it doesn’t pay the bills. How do I manage my passion and my finances?
Unfortunately passion alone doesn’t pay the bills. Just because you care about something doesn’t mean you can earn a living from it. In order for any business to be successful, there needs to be demand from the market because they perceive a value you can add to them.
That doesn’t mean, you should give up on doing what brings you excitement. Instead of jumping head first into anything new, take small steps and test the waters. Whilst still having a day-job, you can focus on your passion projects on the side and work on progressing them so you can survive on them alone.
Before I took the leap into entrepreneurship and coaching, I explored the market through side hustling. During my one year of side hustling, I gained insights about the market, understand where I can add most value and how to better market the positive difference I want to make. We are living in the gig economy enabled by technology where we can have a day job that pays our bills to allow us to focus on our passion projects on the side. It does require ability in time and priority management but the outcome will pay off itself. And perhaps your side business will turn into a full-time business – like for me – or at least you won’t have any regrets about not trying.
Read more: How to Get a Pay Rise
Featured image courtesy of getty images, image #1 courtesy of Unsplash, image #2 courtesy of getty images