How is your job satisfaction? Are you frustrated, down in the dumps, or feeling stuck? You’re not alone. As time goes by, sometimes roles morph into something we didn’t sign up for. For others, responsibilities don’t keep up with skill sets. When complacency, annoyance, or anger sets in, not only does it make the days drag on, but sometimes we change into a person we never wanted to be. If you’re feeling this way, you’re not alone. Women of all ages face situations like these throughout their careers.
Career or job confusion can be draining. It can distract you from other areas of your life. Women often talk to their friends about it and then they find they stop for fear of sounding like a broken record and pushing away their social support. With the ever-changing responsibilities and priorities in their lives, women are especially susceptible to becoming confused about their careers.
Some common causes of career confusion are:
- You choose a career path based on what your parents or people in your life thought you “should” do or what gave you security, but you find that you aren’t really being true to the purpose or passion within you.
- The career you have has been fulfilling, but you find yourself in your 30s questioning whether your situation will be fulfilling for the years to come. You may actually hear your “biological clock” ticking and wonder if your male colleagues are feeling the confusion and pressure you are experiencing.
- You like what you do, but you find the politics of your work environment draining, and you’re not sure it makes your job worthwhile. Also, you might not be compensated fairly or given the job title you deserve, and this is making you doubt your line of work.
- You are returning to work after time home with a baby or young children, and you don’t think your previous career will offer enough work/life balance for you to attend to your new priorities at home.
- You are reentering the workforce as your kids leave for college, and you worry that your job skills won’t measure up in the current job market. You’re considering classes but you don’t know which direction to go.
When discussing these issues with clients, here are some things I urge them to consider:
- Become very clear about what your mission is, what type of work gives you a sense of purpose. Write about it, talk to friends, or work with a coach or counselor. Don’t jump to a new path without first making sure that it fits you well. Once you become clear, it will help you evaluate your current job so you can see if it actually does fall under these parameters, or it will help direct you in a new way.
- Look at your life holistically. It is okay to admit that what served you in the past no longer serves your needs. You may be called upon to take care of people in your life, so try to find work that energizes rather than exhausts you.
- Before deciding on a new career, do your research and test the waters! This will reduce some of the fear associated with the new areas and possible dream jobs.
- Don’t let the need for training scare you away. There are often ways to get the skills or training you need without going back to school full time.
- Assert yourself! If it turns out you are in the right setting, but your needs just aren’t being met by your boss or colleagues, make sure your voice is heard. You won’t know if this is the right job for you until your needs or demands are clearly articulated.
- If your current job isn’t offering the flexibility you need for the best work/life balance, consider looking for a new company with more flexibility or opportunities to work from home. Or consider working for yourself.
The most important thing I can emphasize to clients is to value yourself and the gifts you have to offer. If you find yourself confused about your career and you feel stuck or discouraged, this is an ideal time to work with a coach who can support you in defining and addressing the underlying issues.
As a Board Certified Coach, I help my clients steer their ship toward fulfillment. Together, we can determine the most rewarding career choices for your unique situation and devise a plan to reach goals.
Nadine Bernard is a Board Certified Life Coach, a published playwright, and acting teacher located in Montclair, NJ. She holds a BA in English and Psychology and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She meets with clients over the phone, on Skype, or in the Montclair area. You can reach her at Nadine@personalplays.com or visit her website, Personal Plays Life Coaching.