Feeling stifled? Desperate for a major change? Want to chase your dream to another continent, or to another career altogether? Feel any or all of those desires, but realize with a pang that you simply can’t just up and totally change your career?
There are still ways you can get back in a groove and get excited about your job again without throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
Try these five strategies first before decided on changing careers.
1. Start from within
If things are really stale, you always have two options that aren’t the nuclear one. First, you can change your role within your own industry. Or, you can keep your job but change to another field. Try switching from corporate law to entertainment law. Or from serving and bartending to managing. Or from at-home nursing to ER nursing. These feel like big changes, but they don’t involve scrapping your entire career!
2. Try your hand at consulting
This word covers quite a bit of ground. The nutshell of this strategy is to figure out what you know because of your career so far and figure out who needs that knowledge and skill. Could you teach? Develop textbooks or manuals or training guides? Recruit? This keeps you squarely in your wheelhouse, where you’ve been successful, but doesn’t require you to learn a whole new set of skills.
3. Think about how your role could change
There’s always the option of sticking with your current company, but changing jobs within it. Have a think about your colleagues—is there anything they do that you think would be more fulfilling to you? Ask questions. Chat with your boss about shifting your responsibilities and taking on new challenges. Figure out what you need to brush up on and prove—if only to yourself—that you can learn new things.
4. Find joy in extracurriculars
So maybe you can’t change even your job in a significant way, for whatever reason. You can still do more, and different, things! Try volunteering, or take a guest bartending gig, or start a blog, or join forces with friends or colleagues to work for a foundation. Doing a bit of good in the world, or a bit of freelance work, can give you the breath of fresh air you need to put your work in better perspective.
5. Keep honoring that little voice
Maybe you’ll follow these strategies and still can’t deny that overwhelming desire to chuck it all and do something totally different with your life. If that voice just won’t go away, no matter what else you do or how you tweak the margins, that might be the sign you need. Check in with yourself from time to time and see how you feel. You’ll know when it’s time to light the match.