How do you change your career for the better when you’re feeling stuck, stressed, or dissatisfied? First, it’s important to know how to recognize when it’s time to move on or make a big change. Sometimes, what can be a very rewarding career might feel too challenging at first, or you might not have the right professional tools yet to make the most of it. Other times, it’s necessary to overhaul some goals altogether.
There are a few things you can assess to figure out whether you need to make a major career change or just tweak some areas, such as your stress levels, your ability to reach goals, and your overall satisfaction with your job. There are also some resources you can use to make the process a little easier; whether you’re thinking of looking for a new job or want to start a business.
You can use this guide as a jumping-off point for assessing your needs and taking next steps:
Problem: You feel stuck in your current position
Option: Earn an advanced degree
If you’ve been feeling stuck in your career and can’t move up, going back to school is a great option. Not only can it significantly boost your self-confidence to earn a degree–and potentially help you snag a promotion–it’s also easier than ever to go back to school due to the widespread availability of online programs. You can work from home and get a business bachelor’s degree while still taking care of other responsibilities, and the skills you learn will allow you to pursue your dream career role.
Problem: You feel stressed, anxious, and unhappy
Option: Start a business doing something you love
Going back to school can also give you the confidence to start a business doing something you truly enjoy, and it’s a great way to solve the problem of bringing home stress and anxiety every day. If your current career is leaving you feeling overworked, underappreciated, and generally unhappy, think about your current skill set and hobbies. You might start an ecommerce store selling handmade items, or bring a service to your community that meets a specific need, such as pet-sitting. Take a look at the tools available for starting a business and write out a business plan. You can also look for funding opportunities.
Problem: You’re not fulfilled by your work
Option: Start a nonprofit
Starting a business is one way to feel fulfilled by what you do, but if you’ve been feeling as though you aren’t making an impact, consider starting a nonprofit to help people in your community. You might create an initiative to help unhoused individuals or start a shelter for women and children. Read up on the regulations for nonprofits in your state and take a look at your funding options, as there are often several grants available depending on the nature of the business.
Problem: You have no motivation
Option: Hire a career coach
If work is making you feel drained, or if you feel as though you’re not being taken seriously, you might also be feeling a lack of motivation. This can affect your work ethic and make going to work feel like a tedious chore but hiring a career coach can make a difference. A coach can help you learn how to communicate better–including how to say “no” when you need to–and can give you the tools you need to make real change within your career, whether you decide to stay on at your job or make a big change.
Taking a professional risk can be scary, so it’s important to ask yourself what your goals are for the next few years. If you can’t see yourself in your current position, it’s time to make a change. Think about earning an advanced degree, which can be helpful no matter what type of change you want to make.