“How Do I Make A Shift When I've Got No Time?”

Zaira's job takes up all her time and energy. With virtually no idea of what she wants to do next and no time to figure it out, how can she make any progress with her career change?

What's your career history and current job?

I've worked in the financial services sector for around nine years, and in my current role in a financial risk management company for the last four.

How do you feel about your work?

Drained. Uninspired.

I've become uninspiring myself.

It's not like I don't have things to keep me busy – I'm always running around with lots to do – but even so, I can't remember the last day at work when I wasn't bored out of my mind.

I'm tired all the time. I wouldn't mind the constant exhaustion so much if I felt like what I was doing was making a meaningful impact on people's lives, but I haven't felt that way in years.

I manage to see my friends once every couple of weeks, and even then all I have to talk about is work. I haven't held down a relationship in years, because the requirements of my job always get in the way. I feel like my life's taken a back seat to my career, and I'm reaching an age now where I'm realistically going to have to choose between progressing with the company or having some semblance of a life. That doesn't feel right to me.

Other people in my office love what they do – so I feel like a real odd man out and I often wonder what's wrong with me. But I guess I'm just wired differently somehow; I'm not cut out for this kind of lifestyle.

What would you like to be doing instead?

I really don't know the answer to this one.

Something that makes an impact on people – an impact that I'm close to and that I can see. Something that makes me feel good. Something that gives me a decent work–life balance.

I come across articles and pictures sometimes that show people working outside, with their hands and the earth, and living a slow-paced life, and I love the idea of that in theory. But I'm also aware that this could be a knee-jerk reaction, just because it's the polar opposite of where I am now. I'm at a real loss when it comes to where to look and what to consider.

I just know that where I am isn't right.

What's the main obstacle in your way?

Time. Time and energy.

I’d like to be able to indulge myself enough to read a career-change book all the way through; to sit and do the tests and exercises and find out what I really want. I'll pick one up and get as far as reading the first chapter, and then it'll sit on my coffee table for the next few months, untouched.

I have time to scan through the Careershifters articles on my lunch breaks sometimes, and I see advice to go and try things out and meet new people, but I'm just so constantly run off my feet, I can’t fit anything like that in. When I get home from work, often at 8 or 9 p.m., I just want to crash out.

It all sounds very gloomy, doesn't it? I can feel myself becoming a very gloomy person. I never used to be, and I don't want to be.

I've thought about leaving my job and getting something a bit more slow-paced and relaxed, but it feels like a huge risk when I'm so unclear about what I want and what I might be leaving my current work for. I wouldn't want to have to come crawling back in six months because I've failed at making ends meet while I figure this stuff out.

How am I supposed to make a career change when I hardly even have time to go to the supermarket?

You see, I write things like that, and then it makes me wonder: if I really wanted to make a change, wouldn't I be doing more to make time for it? Am I just moaning and making excuses because I'm too scared to do anything about how I feel? What's actually going on? And what should I do about it all?

Can you help Zaira?


  • Have you been in a similar situation, or are you in the same boat right now?
  • What can she do to make time for her shift?
  • Do you know anyone she could talk to?

Share your thoughts in the comments below and click the thumbs-up button to show your support.

Give Zaira a cheer of encouragement by clicking the thumbs-up button here:

Want help from our audience with your career-change challenge? Tell us about your situation in our short form, which you can complete here.