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  • Stillwater Online

10 Tips For Changing Careers When You Don’t Know Where to Start

Are you in a job that just doesn't fit with your desired lifestyle? You're not alone. Changing careers can be a thrilling but perplexing journey. Lucky for you, we've built you a trusty roadmap equipped with ten game-changing tips that'll help you navigate this exciting life shift.

1. Ask Yourself: “What’s REALLY making me unhappy at work?“

Where to start when changing careers

Sometimes when you’re desperately searching for an escape from an unhappy work situation, it can be hard to see the big picture. But before you jump into a full-fledged career change, think about what exactly is making you miserable at work. Is it a micromanaging boss? Inflexible work hours? A toxic workplace culture? Lack of opportunity and autonomy? Or is it the work itself and the tasks you’re doing on a daily basis that are not bringing you joy? Sometimes a job change to a new company can resolve a lot of unhappiness, while other times, a full-on career change is the only way to get everything you want (and deserve!) from work. Consider which it is before making any major career decisions.

2. Consider Your Values

Okay, so you’ve determined a big change is needed, but where to next? Both work and life are more meaningful and fulfilling when we can align them with our personal values. We spend so much of our lives at work so it’s only natural that we’ll be happier when we can spend these hours doing what matters most to us. Think about what your values are and what kind of work would allow you to express them on a daily basis. Do you need to help others? Do you require creative freedom? Do you love to be outdoors in nature? You may not be able to find a job that aligns perfectly with all of your values, but the more overlap you can achieve in that venn diagram of work and values, the happier you’re likely to be in your job.

Tip: Don’t know what your values are? We’ve got a course for that! It’s called Finding Your Authentic Self and it’s open now.

3. Create Your Own Definition of Meaningful Work

Let's talk about meaningful work - the kind that makes your heart skip a beat when the alarm clock goes off in the morning. But here's the thing: what one person finds exhilarating, another might dread. So, it's like crafting your own secret recipe for job satisfaction. Here's a dash of inspiration to help you cook it up:

Your roadmap to changing careers


Meaningful work is like a warm hug from your job. It's all about that connection. Picture it - feeling like you belong with your coworkers, forging relationships that go beyond water cooler small talk. It might even mean that you've hitched your work wagon to a cause or mission that sets your heart on fire. When your job feels like home, you're onto something meaningful.


Think of meaningful work as your chance to be a superhero without the cape. It's about making a difference, no matter how small or grand. Imagine knowing that your daily efforts aren't just about the paycheck but also about creating positive ripples. It could be helping your colleagues, improving how things work, or even making the world a better place. It's like having your own purpose-driven theme song in the background.


The icing on the meaningful work cake? Legacy. It's like leaving footprints in the sands of your career. Imagine your work being a story that others will remember and, who knows, maybe even build upon. It's about passing down wisdom and values to your colleagues and successors, or leaving an indelible mark on your industry or community.

4. Forget the Myth of Work-Life Balance

Let's talk about the elusive work-life balance. We've all heard of it, right? It's the idea that we should be able to juggle our professional and personal lives perfectly, like circus performers. But here's the thing: it's a bit of a myth.

Life isn't always a neat 50-50 split between work and personal time. In fact, it can be more like a rollercoaster ride with ups and downs. That's why I propose a different approach - let's call it "integration."

Integration is all about recognizing your priorities. Some days, work might demand more of your attention, while others, your family, hobbies, or just some good old self-care will take precedence. And here's the thing we can't ignore: some parts of our personal life will come to work with us. We can't always leave ourselves and our personal baggage at the office door. Integration recognizes that your personal life influences your professional life, and vice versa. This understanding can help you navigate the twists and turns of your career journey with greater ease.

5. Think About Your Past Jobs: What Did You Enjoy Most?

Your career path is like a treasure map, filled with clues about where your heart truly lies. So, let's dig in. Reflect on those past gigs and consider what made your heart sing. What were the tasks, environments, or roles that brought a genuine smile to your face? It's like uncovering hidden gems that can shine a light on your future career preferences.

6. What are You Great at?

Ready to change careers but unsure where to start?

To embark on a successful career change, it's crucial to recognize your strengths. What are you genuinely great at? What skills, competencies, or unique talents do you possess? Assess your competencies and the complexity of tasks you excel at. Understanding your strengths can guide you toward a career that aligns with your capabilities and passions.

7. What’s Holding You Back from Changing Careers?

Even when the desire for change is strong, there are many reasons not to undertake a career transition, and these are unique to every individual. It's common to face hurdles along the way. It’s time to identify what's holding you back – whether it's fear, lack of experience, financial concerns, or self-doubt. Let’s create a plan to address these barriers, and consider seeking support from a career counselor, mentor, or coach to help you overcome them.

8. What Will Propel You Toward Change?

Change requires motivation, and motivation can come from various sources. In this step, you’ll need to create a list of what propels you toward this career change. Is it the desire for personal growth, a passion for a particular industry, or the need for a more fulfilling life? Keep this list as a source of inspiration to keep you moving forward.

9. Consider the Cost of Achieving Your Dreams

Sometimes, the fear of the unknown can paralyze us. To combat this, consider the worst-case scenario. We call this “Counting the Cost”, which is more than making a list of pros and cons. It’s about considering the importance of each one of your motivators so that you can weigh it against the potential cost of achieving it. Here, you can work through a series of questions to help you determine the cost of your potential career change. Download our free worksheet to dive into these questions and more!

10. Take the Next Step

Now that you've contemplated your values, strengths, and motivations, it's time to take action. What's one thing you can do right now to move closer to your career change? Whether it's researching new job opportunities or enrolling in a course to develop new skills, every small step brings you closer to your goal.

If you’re considering a career change, you won't want to miss out on getting this free worksheet to help guide you through the steps we laid out above.


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