By Kafi Nsenkyire, LAC
Is a career change right for you? Are you unfulfilled? Uncertain? Afraid? Confused? Wavering? These are all normal feelings or emotions to experience when you are contemplating your next career move. Does the thought of doing something different make you anxious or uncomfortable? Perhaps there are little voices in your head that make you feel guilty for desiring a change. You may even feel embarrassed to admit you are seeking something different in your life. These reactions are typical and can be expected.
If change were easy, everybody would be doing it. Maybe you got a late start in life, whether it be getting your college degree in your 30s or 40s or beyond. Or maybe you started out with a career, then spent years raising children and now that your children are older and perhaps you are an empty nester, you wonder, what is next in my life? Where do I even begin? Thoughts such as “but I have worked so hard to get where I am …”, “I have spent so many years at this job, at this company, in this field …”, “I make a pretty good living, so why am I not happy?...”, “If I change careers now, I will be starting all over, and it will take longer to retire…”, “I don’t know if I want to go back to school … ”, “I don’t know where to start … ”, “What will my friends and/or family think? …", “I am older now, change is hard …”, “Is something wrong with me?…” Sound familiar? I can relate to all these thoughts.
As a mid-lifer, and someone who changed careers in my late 40s, many of these thoughts took up residence in my mind. The thought of going back to school (again) was scary. But I knew I was unhappy. I knew my career trajectory at that time was unfulfilling. Everything about my career then felt like a dead end. It did not matter that the job I had, the company I worked at, or the field I was in was lucrative or prestigious. I was miserable. I had even climbed the corporate ladder. Still no satisfaction. I worked hard. Endured many long days and late nights. Worked weekends. Even on vacations. Still no joy.
Despite the path leading up to that point in my career, I could never quite measure the value I brought. Or better yet, whether I was valued. I wanted something more. I wanted to make a difference. Besides the joy of being a wife, a mother, a sister, or a friend, I wanted to feel a sense of purpose in my life. Deep down I knew my career was not leading me to that sense of fulfillment.
So, I get it. Changing careers was one of the best decisions I have ever made. No matter the stage of life, I encourage you to be introspective of your feelings and thoughts. Discover what is important to you. Find out what drives you. Ask for help. You are not alone.
Mindful and Multicultural Counseling Clinical Team
Therapists and psychologists committed to improving well being and mindful living.