Hi there! I was wondering about “making the escape.” I am currently a teacher and while I love my students, I am just not passionate about what I do. I’ve always had some sort of passion in my life, but lately I feel like nothing really moves me. I am actually going to try aerial silks and getting back into ballroom dancing, but I was wondering if you had any advice on how to go about finding that “thing” that gets us excited. Thanks!
Great question Theresa! I really struggled with this a few years ago. After only three years at my job and started to worry that I didn’t love designing anymore. I distinctly remember sitting in my cube, talking to a friend via AIM, telling them I was starting to panic that I would have to find an entirely different career. Design and coding had been my path for a long time and if I wasn’t going to keep going in that direction, what the heck was I gonna do??
It can be really scary to realize you want a career change and even more scary to have no idea what in direction you want to head. Most of us are brought up believe we should go to college, figure out a career path, and then stay on that same road the rest of our lives. But what happens when that road starts to wear on you and you look around to find there are no obvious exits?
Try everything and anything that interests you
Sit down and make a list of every job that sounds kind of interesting. Then do your research – take a class, attend a seminar, look up websites and videos on Youtube. Picture your life doing that thing every day for 10 years. A few jobs might drop off the list and a few might look even more promising.
What did you love as a kid?
So cliche, but so true! When I was a kid I spent hours forcing my sister, cousins and friends to rehearse dance routines with me in the backyard. I would drill them over and over until the kicks and spins were perfect and performance ready. And what is little miss bossypants doing now – yelling at people to straighten their legs and point their toes :)
Not sure if a certain career will fit your lifestyle? Talk to someone already doing the work. People love to talk about themselves and will probably be happy to give you the low-down on their day.
Let go of the things and people that are not working to make space for something new
This is not a prompt to up and quit your job, but it’s a good idea to de-clutter and de-stress your life when you’re looking to make a change. It’s cheesy, but maybe that new career is just waiting for a little space to open up so it can sneak in.
What does your job look like?
Do you want to work with adults, kids, animals, alone? In an office or outside? Travel or stay close to home? Long-term projects or daily goals? Big corporation, small company, self-employed? Making mega money or just enough to be comfortable? Figuring out these details can narrow down your choices quite a bit.
Do something that brings you joy
I truly believe that positive breeds positive, so if you’re stuck in the muck of a job you dislike, find something that makes you happy at the end of the day. A hobby, a pet, a dude/lady, a daily/weekly ritual, a good friend. Anything that sends you to sleep with a light heart and a smile on your face.
Does your current job need a makeover?
Before you completely dive into a new career consider switching where you work or who you work with. After leaving the corporate life I ended up with essentially the same job description, but now I work on my own terms and build sites that are creative and interesting. Didn’t have to completely change careers, I just make a few adjustments.
It took me another two years after having a mild panic over hating my job to realize I actually did enjoy designing (just not boring TV station sites), fall head over heels for the circus, and decide to make them into my full-time job.
And remember (not just Theresa, but all of you whose brains currently filling up with excuses), you’re not too old, too broke, too busy or too engrained in your current job. Those are roadblocks that YOU put in your own way because switching careers is a big, scary challenge. If you really want to find a job that lights you up every damn day YOU CAN DO IT.