Summary: Tired of your career? Follow this advice about searching for a more fulfilling career path.
Question: I started my career right out of college in corporate finance and now find it extremely boring. I want a career change and have done a lot of research, including personality tests, but haven’t gotten any enlightenment from them. Any suggestions?
Andy: Inventories scratch the surface. They point to patterns but fail to deliver the magic answer to personal career fulfillment. Enlightenment comes from within, although sometimes it helps to go outside to figure out the application. Self-assessment and research are useful in narrowing the playing field, but it sounds like you would benefit from exposure to other areas to begin to establish a context for potential passions.
To that end, create a profile based on what you know about yourself (from personality tests or otherwise). Start by defining what you don’t want. Describe the elements that make your current position unappealing. What is it about the work responsibilities, the environment, the people or yourself that you find boring? Thoroughly and honestly answering this question should cut to the root causes of your dissatisfaction.
Then, look back on your life and isolate those circumstances, even as a child, in which you were totally and naturally engaged in what you were doing. These experiences may not come wrapped in a neat career package with a familiar job title for a ribbon, but they do provide clues to the conditions that you are likely to find most rewarding in a work setting. Based on what you personally gravitate toward, name five jobs and five employers you would like to explore. Then, literally try them on for size.
Accomplish these trial runs by moonlighting and using your spare time to gain greater clarity on how you want to spend your workday at this point in your life. Interview people you aspire to be like in jobs you think you would like to do; volunteer for organizations and causes that motivate you; and work part time with or shadow professionals in fields of interest. In effect, go the extra mile and set up career experiments for yourself before you abandon your boring but paycheck-producing accounting position.
- See Top 10 Tips for Changing Careers for more information.