SHESAID resident psychologist Kim Chartres answers your most awkward and confronting questions.
I just started a new job but it’s nothing like I thought it would be. It’s not that the work is too hard (though it is), it’s more that it’s not stimulating me, I guess you could say my heart isn’t in it. The only problem is I’ve spent the last ten years climbing the corporate ladder to get to this role because I thought it’d make me happy. Now that I’m finding it’s not something I’m passionate about I’m scared to quit because I don’t feel I have any other skills and honestly don’t know what else I’d do with my life. Should I quit or just tough it out, and maybe eventually it’ll grow on me?
Ten years is a long time to stay focused so it’s a real shame now you’ve reached your career goal, this new job of yours isn’t living up to your expectations. No wonder you’re unsure of what to do next, because this is quite a conundrum you’re faced with.
Having said that, I think the old saying about life being about the journey, rather than the destination, is relevant to your situation. Climbing the corporate ladder has been your journey which made you happy but now you’ve reached your destination it’s left you feeling deflated without direction. This isn’t unusual especially because you’ve been on the same path for so long and I bet you’ve had to work your butt off to get there.
It sounds to me like you need a new challenge and the fact you’re contemplating quitting your job and looking at what other potential skills you have suggests to me you know it too. Don’t be afraid of change, you’re not the only one to change career paths, it’s quite common for people to make it to the top of their game and change their minds. For example I know of a teacher who applied for a grant to build a garden at their school and ended up finding their passion in landscaping. This sort of stuff happens more often than you’d think and this is ultimately how people discover their true calling.
These days people don’t have to have a stable career all their life like they used to. Few teenagers leave school with a clear direction about what they want to be when they grow up. I know I didn’t, and it wasn’t until I was much older when my career found me. Until then I was just working. Now I actually enjoy what I do.
Thankfully there are ample opportunities to swap and change career paths over a lifespan. Employers know many skills are transferable. Plus, there are multiple educational options available. Even people who never completed school can get into college if they really want to. So as far as what skills you have, I wouldn’t be too concerned. I’m sure you have more than you think and remember no matter what age you are, you can always acquire more.
I suggest you have a think about what type of work you’d like to wake up to every morning. It might be something you’ve always wanted to do, but followed a less risky direction. You never know, it might be time to take on the challenge.
One final bit of advice. I wouldn’t go giving notice before you have a good think about your options. Have you considered it may not even be the work you’ve lost your passion for, but that it’s your new working environment that is the problem? Perhaps a similar position with another employer might be the answer.
You really do have a lot to contemplate. Obviously if you’re not happy with what you’re currently doing, something needs to change. Whether it be your employer or a brand new career path, give yourself time to weigh up your options, set a game plan and move forward with it. I’m sure with your drive and ambition you’ll be able to achieve whatever your heart desires.
Got a relationship dilemma or serious life issue you’re not sure how to deal with? Send your questions to Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org.