Am I in the wrong career?
Selecting this career was probably the biggest mistake of my life! Oh god, what to do now?
There’s nothing that can be done, I’m doomed!
If any of these thoughts find residence in your head, or keep you constantly in your (over)thinking mode, you’re in good company. Career decisions in general – selecting the right stream in school, deciding which career to pursue, finalizing a college, pursuing a master’s degree, or making your next career move – are time-consuming, confusing, and often stressful. Many of us feel trapped in wrong careers, and are skeptical about taking the next step.
Most, however, fail to keep up with the pressure, and perceive a wrong career move to be the end of the world. Let me break it down for you. IT ISN’T! You can always find your way around, if you think through it, and know yourself precisely, and accurately. Having gone through a similar experience myself, and studying engineering, only to end up realizing my true calling for education, and social change, I can resonate with the frustration that tags along. Everything just seems wrong. The first step is to calm down, and think through.
How to avoid this turmoil, you ask? Well, make the right choice in advance (prevention is better than cure, right). If you, however, have taken a wrong decision, and want to rectify it, here’s how you can do so.
1. Confirm Your Mistake
Many consider career decisions to be a mistake, even when they may not be so. For instance – considering your choice of science as mistake, just because you aren’t enjoying a topic in physics, or thinking of your career as folly, because you aren’t enjoying your work, is a baseless case to make. There might be several reasons for your disinterest towards a particular subject, or, for not enjoying your work. However, a deep introspection should help.
Ask yourself if your dissatisfaction is continuous, or prolonged. Ask if you’re desperate to make a change. Try and see what is it, that you don’t like about the career decision that you’ve made, and why. Sometimes a ‘why’ can give you an answer that you crave.
2. Evaluate Your Options
Now that you’ve cleared out the haze, and established that you’ve made a career mistake, the next step is to find out your options. Many people often wish to move ahead in a career they are passionate for – dance, music, drama, writing, sports etc. It is exactly at this juncture that you need deep introspection, and careful evaluation of your choices, so as to not end up in a similar situation again.
If you’re unsure, or need validity, speak to people who know you the best. Paying heed to societal conventions, popular opinions, and hit & trial, is no solution. You might also want to take a scientific approach for making your decision. Career assessments, say, help provide a quick, and scientific way of mapping one’s strengths, skills, personality traits, working style, and more, and often recommend few, befitting career options. You can try out the Mindler Assessment to help you get back on the right path.
3. Seek Professional Counsel/Help
It’s always a great idea to consult someone who has expertise in helping people with their careers. It may be a domain expert in a career that you’re looking at, or a career coach whose know-how spans across many careers. Career experts, coaches, or counsellors, howsoever you may address them, are up-to-date about the latest industry trends, up-and-coming careers, and understand the subtle dynamics that comes into play. Careers, much like anything else, are contingent on demand, and need forecast.
Most trending careers might mellow down tomorrow, and leave the spot for a different league of careers altogether, it’s prudent, that you consider the same while making a life-defining choice. A professional career coach, will always keep the industry trend, and forecast of careers, in purview, while suggesting a way out. They will also prove to be good critics, who will be able to map your personality, emotional intelligence, motivation, social interactions etc., and body language to the careers you’re looking at.
Professional career counsellors/ career coaches will also help you identify the best programs, and shortlist top colleges, in sync with your career objectives. If you’re a professional seeking to make a career change, career coaches can be quite helpful in helping you craft your dream role. Click here to schedule a 15-min call with Mindler Career Experts.
Precise, and accurate information, is the key to any good decision. One must base their decisions, on hard facts, and methodical research. Speaking to experts is just one part of the game, doing your own research, and coming up with queries is the second, and more important. You should be certain about the fitment of the recommended program to you. Visit the campus, speak to the present class of students, find availability of extra-curricular activities, and uniqueness of education/ program.
Make sure that you spend some time with a graduate/ present student of the college you’re looking at, and ask the right questions – about courses, avenues of study, placements, research opportunities, faculty, internships, and projects, and so on. Look them up on LinkedIn, or other professional networking platforms, if you have no direct access to the students.
Research is even more critical, if you’re looking to move professionally, because you want to be doubly sure of the organization, its culture, your role, and your career progression, before signing that acceptance letter. The company often provides you with an opportunity to clear all your doubts, and inhibitions in the interview itself. Make sure you ask your questions, if provided the opportunity to do so. Connect with people from the company, (through professional networking platforms, or otherwise) and get a more personal view of the organization culture, and the people there.
5. Take the Plunge
Keep faith in yourself, and maintain the drive to succeed. Keep on building your skill set, and know that it’s okay, even if you falter. Trust your research, and your instinct. Trust the process that you have followed to get here.
The key to a fresh start is to realize that whatever might have happened, it can be managed. All you need is to know yourself, and some strategic guidance to cruise you through a bad career decision. Even a well thought off plan may not work, due to extrinsic factors, do not hold yourself responsible for it.
The beginning is always today!
Has any other strategy worked for you to rectify a career mistake? Share with us in the comments!