“How Do I Find The Confidence To Step Out Of My Career Comfort Zone?”

Beth's work feels stagnant and mundane. But while she's sure it's time for a change, she's also finding it hard to stomach leaving the security of the work she knows. How do you find the motivation to leave the familiar and head out into the unknown?

What's your career history and current job?

I work at a university library, a job I've been doing for nearly 15 years.

It's a service desk role that mostly involves helping the students and engaging them to use the library's resources.

How do you feel about your work?

I like the way my role has evolved to incorporate digital technology, and I enjoy chatting to the students – even though I tend to answer the same questions all the time!

Some of them are really appreciative of the support we provide, and it feels rewarding when they do well as a result.

The problem is that it's all such mundane work. Not only do I do exactly the same things day in, day out, but I wonder what the point of my job really is, when it's so easy to Google information now.

Often I just feel irrelevant, and I'm really tired of the work I'm doing. Not only that, but the environment I'm working in is very stagnant. Everybody just stays in the same comfortable roles for years on end, so it's hard to find a way to move upwards.

I've tried acting in other temporary roles within the library to broaden my horizons, but really I know it's time for a complete change.

What would you like to be doing instead?

I'm a lifelong learner and I love analysing information.

In my own time, I paid for and recently completed a degree in criminology and criminal justice.

I really enjoyed learning about ethics and white-collar crime in particular. It was so fascinating to uncover some of the complex reasons why a well-off person would want or need to commit a serious crime.

Though I don't know exactly what I want to do with my degree, I've thought about moving into a criminal investigatory role, perhaps in anti-corruption for a crime watchdog organisation. That kind of in-depth analytical work really appeals to me.

What's the biggest obstacle in your way?

I haven't looked into any specific options, because I don't feel confident enough to step outside of my comfort zone and face all the unknowns.

What if I put my heart and soul into trying to change career, and the work I'm interested in doesn't even exist? Then I worry that even if it did, I'll just get told I'm not the right fit, or that my qualifications aren't enough.

I don't know if I'll be taken seriously. I know I have transferable skills, but I have trouble articulating them to people. I'm an introvert, so approaching new people doesn't come easily, and I feel like I'm not really able to 'sell' myself properly to someone I don't know.

I'm also very used to the comfortable life I live now, and I'm scared about what would happen if I disturbed it. I love travelling, and my pay is good – it allows me to have an enjoyable social life and go on holidays. Would I have to give all that up?

All these unknowns stop me from taking any action, but if I don't do something I know I'll feel trapped for the rest of my career.

How can I think about a shift, when I'm not confident enough to step outside of my comfort zone?

Can you help Beth?
  • Have you been in a similar situation, or are you in the same boat right now?
  • How do you think Beth could move her shift forwards?
  • Do you know anyone she could talk to?

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