Over the past few years, I’ve been in a weird state of postgraduate hell. I hated university, I left with a slightly disappointing degree and I’ve been non-stop working on my blog for nothing but my love of writing. It’s been weird and it still is everyday, when people ask me what I do am I a writer or blogger that doesn’t get paid or am I just unemployed? There are other issues that affect my job prospects that are more personal that I’m not going to go into but these past couple of years have been scary and odd and not at all what I expected from post-university life.
I’m happy writing everyday don’t get me wrong but I sometimes don’t know if I should be doing something else with my life. Many times I feel like I have hit a brick wall with my career but every single time I’ve come out of it more inspired and determined to carry on writing and this year in particular I feel the most confident that I’m doing the right thing in a long time. I have a lot of plans and things I want to do this year and because of that I feel a new affinity for writing that slipped away at the end of last year.
After all that I feel like it is only fair I share some of my tips on what to do if you hit a career brick wall, because it is a time where everyone needs some advice. I hope this helps you if you are currently experiencing a career crisis.
Take a step back
When you are out of ideas in your current role or you just have no idea what to do with your life it is very easy to panic. I’ve been there myself and it is honestly the scariest moment in the world. You work for years to try and get to a specific place but then you realise that you might not actually want it anymore leaves you wondering what now and was that all for nothing. It sounds difficult but worrying is normal and the best thing you can do is stop worrying and take a step back from everything.
After however much time you need to relax, whether it be a few hours or a week, take time to reassess everything in your life. From the big to the small, just because you are having a career crisis doesn’t mean the problem is always career related. Maybe you’ve just changed as a person and no longer want the career you thought you did, maybe you have an urge to travel or move abroad or maybe you have been through a bad couple of years and need time to rethink everything. Whatever it is think about every little area of your life and make notes on the things you want to change or work on.
Think about what you really want to do
What is it that you really want to do with your life? Do you want to write, create, travel, innovate, entertain? Whatever it is, big or small, do exactly what makes you happy. For me, it’s writing, I’ve always loved writing and since I was 16 it’s all I ever wanted to do. I may not be rich or famous for my writing but I do what makes me happy and that is the main thing. I know for some it is not possible to quit the day job and persue creative paths for financial reasons but find a way to make it work. Fit in your passions on weekends, evenings and whenever you can. If you are really passionate about something, you will find time to make it work for you and hopefully in the long run succeed in it.
Make a plan
Like I mentioned above, once you know exactly what it is you want to do then you need to make a plan of how you are going to achieve it. Whether it is quitting your day job and going self-employed or working on your passions around other things whatever it is you need to plan. If you are planning on going self-employed then it takes a lot of research and planning and it is best if you go somewhere like a Citizens Advice Bureau for advice on registering yourself as self-employed and all the other really important things like taxes. There is also some great advice online as well so make sure that you seek that out from other people that have made that leap too.
When you feel ready and inspired again then go for it
As soon as you have figured out what you want to do, identified what you want or need to work on in your life and you’ve made a plan of action then just go for it. Set up shop, start your new life and career and don’t look back. Yes, there will be some tough moments along the way but it is the problems and the bad times that test us and make us all the better in the long run.
What are you waiting for? Life is way too short to sit about wishing and wondering what if. Even if you fail, at least tried what you always wanted to do and that is better than wasting your life being unhappy and wondering what would have happened if only you’d had the courage to follow your dreams.