I’m about to do what a good life coach would tell you to do if you expressed a longing to move into a career completely different to the one you’re in right now. I’ve been talking to Carole Ann Rice, co-author of Find Your Dream Job (Marshall Cavendish, £12.99), who puts it like this: ‘If you don’t know what you want to do next but want to build your escape tunnel alongside the day job, invest in some toe-dipping adventures. Drop the despair and do some research – weekend workshops, taster sessions, one-day courses – investigate what’s out there.’
If you’re toying with the idea of a new career, I urge you to get past the cushions or cupcakes and think long and hard about what a day in your new job would look like. As Chris Baréz-Brown points out in Free! Love Your Work, Love Your Life (Penguin, £9.99), ‘Often people have a fantasy job in mind, which just keeps them stuck in “I’ll be happy when...” thinking. Get out of the fantasy, make it real, then you can decide for certain whether you really do want to become a musician/ballet dancer/astronaut.’
As well as taking short courses, career coach Rice suggests trying networking events in the area you’d like to move into, or shadowing someone who does the job you think you might love. ‘It may not be one thing but a composite of many that’s calling. Be patient, give it time and align what you’re looking for with your values. Whatever you’re looking for will be familiar when you finally unearth it – you already know deep down what it is and yet didn’t think it could bea career or business.’
Here are some questions to help you get into the nitty gritty of what your real dream job might look like:
- What specific skills would your dream job require of you?
- What would the hours be like compared to your current job?
- What might you have to give up in order to do it? What might change in the rest of your life if you decided to take this new direction?
- What might you have to leave behind in your current role that you really love doing?
- What challenges might your dream job throw up?
- Who would you be working with? What would they look like?
- Are you a lone wolf or a team player, and how does that match up with your dream job?
And after all that even if you find you don’t like the look of that alternative career and decide you want to stay where you are, it will clarify everything about what you’re doing right now. And clarity is far tastier than cupcakes.
Read What to do when your comfort zone at work feels like a velvet prison by Vanessa Anstee on LifeLabs
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Read Unhappy at work? Here's your solution by Obi James on LifeLabs
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