We all know what it’s like to be in a directionless career path. Perhaps your current job isn’t exciting you anymore. Or maybe you’re itching for a different lifestyle that can only happen if you move or get a raise. Maybe you know you need a change—but you’re not entirely sure what it is.
You’re in a rut.
I’ve seen it in so many twenty-somethings a couple of years out of college, when it turns out that their college major might not have led them to a career they love after all. It’s hard to know where to turn. This is especially true when so much of your life has been structured up to that point. You may be confused, or stressed, and jealous of other people’s success. I know the pain of this all too well— it was my own moment of confusion about my career path that led me to start Urban 20 Something!
My Career Path Change
When I was in college, I had planned on graduating and immediately going to law school. Luckily, my gut told me to first work as a paralegal and make sure this was the path for me. I did enjoy my two years as a paralegal, so I continued down the path: I studied for the LSAT, took it twice, applied to law schools and was even accepted. Everything was going according to plan.
But that gut feeling came back to me. I couldn’t ignore it, but I also wasn’t sure what it meant. I could go to law school, but my gut was telling me that it wasn’t what I was meant to do. So I honored my instinct, but at the time wasn’t too happy about it—I said no to law school, and had no idea what to do instead…
Make Your Move— what to do when you’re in a rut
My story might not mirror yours identically. Though, chances are, you’ve found yourself in a rut of your own before. Maybe you’re there right now. It’s totally normal and though it can be confusing and scary, it’s also an exciting time! That confusion and fear also mean something new is about to emerge.
Here are some excellent options to consider when going through a career change of your own and making this an exciting, not- so stressful, time in your life!
If you’re unfulfilled at your current job, either from the work or the pay (or both!), consider enrolling in graduate school to take your career to the next level. Or, you can switch career paths entirely by pursuing a degree in a field you haven’t been working in thus far.
For a flexible yet very rewarding graduate school path, consider taking the GMAT and applying to business school. An MBA is extremely versatile. It can raise your earning potential significantly. It’s said to be the most fun graduate path! Check out the Forté Foundation for more information and support for motivated women interested in business school. I highly recommend checking out what the Forté Foundation has to offer in terms of community, support, and women’s empowerment.
- Learn about the value of an MBA for women
- Study for a graduate school admissions exam (I did this for my LSAT and got great results)
Changing Career Paths
Perhaps you’re not quite ready to go back to school yet, but know that you want a change in your career path. You can consider applying for jobs in a different field. You may have to take a pay cut and title demotion because it’s hard to make a lateral move into a new field. But for some, it’s worth it
If you’re not sure where to start when changing your career path (it’s definitely easier said than done!), I recommend attending some webinars put on by the Forté Foundation, or checking out their blog.
Start a Side Hustle
If you’re not sure what’s calling you, but do feel called to make a change, I suggest trying a side hustle! This is a very low-risk way to make a change, as you don’t have to lose the security and income of your day job. You’ll still be able to explore other passions, exercise creativity, learn new skills and make extra money. Side hustling has totally changed my life, and a side business could can make it easier to transition into a whole new field rather than going in cold. It may even turn into your full-time business!
Sometimes the best thing you can do for a change in your career path is not career-related at all. In my experience, travel brings about a fresh dose of perspective that can bring clarity to your life. After I declined my law school acceptances and was unsure of what to do next, I spent four months backpacking through Southeast Asia alone. This trip brought me clarity in my career path. It also made me much stronger and more independent.
I found clarity in a number of ways during this adventure. It showed me how much I value independence, travel, flexibility, and mobility; much of which I felt I would’ve sacrificed had I gone to law school. Most of all, it showed me that my dreams are worth it. It can be easy, too easy, to convince ourselves that we dream for ourselves is too far-fetched, too unrealistic, asking too much, or too big of a risk. Traveling alone showed me that this view couldn’t have been further off base. If we’re not willing to go all out pursuing our dreams, no matter how unrealistic, then what is worth fighting for?!
If you know you need a change, but can’t put your finger on just what, consider doing something dramatically different and traveling. From my experience, having a work gap on your resume isn’t as bad as people can make it out to be. In fact, some employers will be impressed by your initiative and willingness to take risks!
The biggest takeaway
No matter what, the most important thing is to take action and not stay stuck. If you want to just start getting some creative juices flowing today, check out the Forté Foundation’s Business 360 blog. It’s got tons of great content and fresh insights. See what you interests you and take action! It may sound cliché, but this life is our one shot. It’s our job to make the most of it, and that starts by taking action.
Thank you to the Forté Foundation for partnering in this post.