How to Choose A Career Path When You Don’t Know What You Want to Be
If you’re feeling lost and unsure of what career path you want to pursue, there are some steps you can take to help you decide.
It’s a sad truth that nearly half of the UK workforce are stuck in careers they don’t truly enjoy and would love to change their path. Unfortunately, many of these people feel that they are unable to do so.
In a research survey conducted by the London Business School it was determined that 47% of the 1,000 individuals surveyed wanted to change their careers. In similar surveys done by the Guardian and the Telegraph, the same picture was painted too - many people just don’t love the job that they do.
Although this research has shown that people are not happy in their current career and do not enjoy what they do, many of them are not willing to risk a career change. Research shows that people typically wait 1-2 years before actually making a change. Individuals are also afraid that risking their current job security will end badly and it will negatively affect their own future. Change is often very difficult!
Statistics show that younger people aged 18-24 and 24-34 are most likely to want a career change (68% and 65% respectively).
According to the survey referenced above, around 39% of employees mentioned that increased salary prospects was one of the main reasons for them wanting a career change, followed by work life balance (35%) and job satisfaction (34%).
The last two points are very interesting to us as career consultants because they suggest that these individual’s inner feelings and the realities of their job are not aligned. For example, they might be a lawyer because that’s what they’ve always done but, as a human being, they crave downtime and need to recharge frequently by spending time with family or friends. Self-awareness is key in making the right career decisions and all too often we force ourselves into boxes that don’t make us very happy.
One of the main contributing factors (for 29% of the respondents) is the financial security provided by being in a stable job. One cannot pay the mortgage, send the kids to school or, indeed, apply for any kind of loan without it.
From our own experience, an additional contributing factor is uncertainty of finding a possible solution. People are understandably scared to give up what they know and for many, a job’s a job and they can’t imagine being happy while they work.
The fact that such a high percentage of the workforce is unhappy with their jobs necessarily translates to lower productivity and output. The UK was, on average, 15.1% less productive than the rest of the G7 in 2016, which can be attributed to our ‘all work, no play’ ethic, late hours and hierarchical structures at work, all of which tend to clash with most people’s inner worlds!
The fact that younger individuals are not looking to stay in the same job for an extended period may reflect a lack of commitment towards the companies who hire them – posing a huge problem for recruiters. This is because if an employer finds talent and invests in it, they want to retain it.
It may well be that millennials are shunning the established notions of how one should work – the long hours, the 9-5, the commute to work. Increasingly, they are looking to utilise diverse skills across multiple fields, they seek flexibility and, above all, a certain lifestyle that is more important to them than job security or salary implications.
Overall, we are seeing a career landscape which is changing into something more fluid, diverse and changeable. The old ways of working seem to be more and more at odds with how people wish to live, and this is reflected in the productivity of the entire nation. If you are doing the wrong job for you, or in the wrong environment, then the job stops being an expression of yourself and begins to use up, if not drain, your energy leading to burnout.
We believe that you should be as happy as feasible in whichever career path you choose, and therefore we aim to help you find the career path that best suits who you are – one that you will thrive in. If you would like a confidential and free discussion on the phone about career change, please book a free consultation.
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