You may already know this if you’ve read my story, but I had many jobs before becoming a career coach, including journalist, copywriter and executive assistant to name a few. I once lasted two long hours in an outbound call centre. There were jobs that I enjoyed, and many that I put up with purely for the dollars. Looking back now I believe I learned important lessons from every single one of those experiences. That said, there are few things more depleting to body and soul than showing up for a job you hate every day.

Quitting your job may not be an option when you have nothing lined up. You have a mortgage to pay and small humans to feed. Besides, how are you going to explain the gap on your resume?

While it’s true that you have to be practical about your financial situation, you don’t have to let fear paralyse you into staying where you are. There’s a danger in staying put when you are miserable, especially if you’re not feeling valued at your company. It’s important to build your confidence at this point rather than see it slip away day by day.

Based on my experiences and those of my clients, I’ve discovered a number of ways you can transition into another career without staying stuck in a soul-sucking job. Here are a few that might help:

1) Take a career break

Taking a career break doesn’t have to mean going without income. Depending on your financial commitments you could get yourself an easy 9 to 5 gig to get you through the transition, whether it’s working in office support or at the local gym. You don’t have to put this on your resume because career breaks are acceptable and being in transition with your career is as good a reason as any to take one. Choose a low-stress job that doesn’t require the long hours you’re putting in right now, and you will have more time and energy to focus on what’s important. You can also use this time to study, volunteer and develop new skills, build your network and find a coach or mentor to help you create your future plan.

2) Move sideways

It’s a fact that women tend to underestimate our skills and abilities which means you might not realise how possible a sideways move is for you. Moving sideways into a new career means finding that sweet spot where your current skills meet your future career goals. To figure this out you’ll need to do an audit of your skills and brainstorm ways they could be applied in a meaningful way to make progress towards your goal.

For example, when I moved into career development I leveraged my existing communications background to get work as a resume writer. You will probably discover that you have more options than you think. Brainstorm ideas with a friend or colleague and write a list. Remember it doesn’t have to be the perfect fit, but it does need to be a step in the right direction and something you will enjoy doing while you learn the ropes in your chosen industry.

3) Work on your passion project

Super keen to open a café but stuck in a corporate career? Why not host a gourmet event for friends and family in your backyard and get them to try your menu. Or a pop-up café at your local community centre. Not only will you gain valuable feedback on your ideas, you will feel more motivated to continue doing the work you love. When you work on a project you enjoy it will energise every area of our life. Suddenly your Monday to Friday job doesn’t seem so gruelling because you’re making progress on your escape strategy.

4) Ask for what you want

Depending on your employer, you might be able to negotiate your hours and create space to work on your desired career change. Is it possible to work from home one day a week? Or switch to a 9 day fortnight and salary sacrifice? Think of all the things you could do to give yourself some space. Sometimes we don’t realise what is available for us because we don’t ask for what we want. We have conversations in our heads with our managers without telling them (I’ve done this too), and imagine that we will get a no. Keep an open mind and go talk to your boss.

5) Dial up your networking

I know I sound like a broken record on this, but opportunities to have what you want are all around you. I have found this to be so true in my own career. We just need to open our eyes to what’s out there. Who do you know who can give you advice on your new industry or profession?

Can you find a mentor through one of the many mentoring groups online? Or join a professional association to access their programs and attend events. If you don’t have time to attend events, start networking within your current organisation. A lot of people miss out on networking at work by eating at their desks. Go for lunch with your colleagues.

Ask people for advice on your skills and how they could be valuable in your new career. Take ideas on board and evaluate them to see which options might work for you. Your network is your most valuable source of advice and support as well as opportunities.

Finally, here’s a bonus tip. Stop working so hard in your current role. Yes you heard me right! You know you want to leave this job so try and let go of the reins a little, especially if you have a tendency to be a perfectionist. Don’t exhaust yourself because It will only make everything you need to do seem even harder.

I hope this has given you some ideas if you feel like you have no way out of your current job. Let me know in the comments if this resonated.

Are you having trouble transitioning into a new career? Not sure which career might be right for you? You can book a Discovery Call with me to chat through your options. Go here to book an appointment.

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