On the Wrong Path? Here’s How to Find Your Way

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If you’re waking up each morning into a life that doesn’t feel like your own, and you’re heading off to a job that doesn’t feel right for you, or permanent, or comfortable, or even tolerable, then you aren’t alone. This happens to a surprising number of people somewhere in their mid to late 20s, and it happens to just about everyone at least once during the course of their working lives.

This is a nearly universal experience in our age and our place in the world. But for some reason, every time it happens, the circumstances feel extremely personal. And the experience feels unprecedented, like a trip through an uncharted wilderness. When you find yourself reaching this point in your career, here are a few things you should know.

1. First, there’s nothing wrong with you. Your sense of displacement and restlessness may feel like the result of a series of bad decisions…But this is not the case. In fact, your decisions have been perfect, because they’ve delivered you to this moment, and you’re now standing on the cusp of your life’s next (and possibly first) real adventure.

2. You are not trapped here, any more than a skier is trapped when she’s flying down the slope of a steep jump, about to soar into space. You’re going over the next ledge one way or another. You WILL take action, this will happen soon, and the action that you take will lead you into the unknown. This will happen whether you want it to or not. Your only alternative is to continue on forever exactly as you are, and on some level you’ve already decided that that option is off the table.

3. If you’re going to make a professional change—which you are—you might as well go big. How much money do you have saved up? What do you really want to do? How impossible is your dream? If you really pause, take a breath, and view the situation with clear eyes, you’ll find that the next step is well within your reach. You’ll just need a little courage and determination.

4. Whatever this next step entails (going back to school, switching jobs, switching careers altogether, an art project, a new business), you’ll need to identify your primary goal and break this goal down into smaller goals. Then break each of these goals down into manageable actions.

When you’ve taken step four, it’s time to get moving. Good luck! For specific career guidance and connections with potential employers, reach out to the staffing experts at CSS.

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