Since taking voluntary redundancy, Vlad has been trying to make sure his next career move is one that truly makes him happy. But no matter how much he thinks about what he'd like to do, he can't be sure that any of his ideas are worth following up. How can he break out of his own mental mazes and start moving forward?
What's your career history and current job?
I've worked in IT for the last 17 years, in both the public and the private sectors.
My last job was in a big international law firm, and I was in this position for nearly nine years.
I'm currently not working, having taken voluntary redundancy approximately six months ago.
How do you feel about your work?
I think it says enough that when the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy came up in my last job, I jumped at it.
I had known for years that I wasn't really happy doing IT support work any more. It had become boring, unchallenging, and I was getting increasingly exasperated with the corporate culture.
I felt it was a selfish industry, largely existing and working for its own benefit. I also felt distinctly undervalued and insignificant, simply someone to squeeze as much as possible out of, with as little reward as possible in return.
I've been feeling unhappy and under a lot of stress for a long time, and I've noticed this has had a negative effect on my own feelings of self-worth and self-confidence.
What would you like to be doing instead?
In short, I don't know!
I'd like to feel I'm making a contribution to something meaningful, and to do something where my interests meet my talents: photography, driving, food / cooking, or even counselling of some sort.
I have a variety of interests and rough ideas, but I'm struggling to come up with 'real' career choices. I'm also worried about having to change my lifestyle to accommodate a drop in salary, which I think is an inevitable part of a career change. I've heard about portfolio careers, but as for everything else, I struggle to figure out how to really even begin.
My latest idea, and the most solid one so far, is to study the infamous 'Knowledge' and become a London black cab driver!
What is the biggest obstacle in your way?
The term 'analysis paralysis' keeps springing to mind.
I tend to over-analyse every option I think of, and get bogged down in a million 'what if' scenarios. I'm also very afraid of spending time, effort and money on one route, only to decide later down the line that it was the wrong choice. This is my main concern when it comes to the taxi-driver job: I'm worried I might only be interested in it because it's the only concrete 'career' I've come up with so far, rather than because it's right for me.
Also, studying and passing 'The Knowledge' is incredibly difficult and takes two to four years, so it's a huge commitment. For some reason, it's so incredibly hard to make that first step and actually begin doing something, rather than just sitting and researching on the internet and thinking about it all endlessly.
I'm so tired! What I feel I desperately need is clarity, so I'd love some real-world, concrete advice, and to hear from other people who identify with my situation.
Can you help Vlad?
- Have you been in a similar situation, or are you in the same boat right now?
- How can he stop chasing his tail and start moving forward?
- Do you know anyone he could talk to?
Share your support and advice in the comments below!