“I've Got No Idea What I'm Good At – So How Can I Change Career?”

Manali has always known she was in the wrong line of work. But when she thinks of exploring her options elsewhere, paralysis sets in. How do you get started on a shift when you can't be sure where your talents lie?

What's your career history and current job?

I've got bachelor's and master's degrees in computer science, and I've been working in IT for several years now, ever since I graduated from university.

Currently I'm a software engineer, in a role I've been doing for the past six months.

How do you feel about your work?

As soon as I began my career in IT, I thought, “Why have I done this?”

Ever since day one, I've felt as though I've been heading in completely the wrong direction.

At first, I thought I just needed to give myself some time to focus and settle into my technical career. I'm doing software testing now, but previously I've tried working in support and development for a few different companies. I wanted to see if I could find an aspect of IT that I enjoyed.

But unfortunately, nothing about my work interests me, and though my colleagues are nice, I find the lack of interaction with others can be really isolating at times.

I really want to learn and progress, just not in this career. Every day I'm at work, I have to fight the temptation to grab my coat and leave.

What would you like to be doing instead?

There are a lot of different options I'd like to explore.

I speak five languages, and I really enjoy learning new ways to communicate. I also love reading and writing, and the idea of starting a blog really appeals to me.

Because I've been feeling so unhappy at work, I've completed almost every career and personality test it's possible to take! Some of those have recommended that I should be working in coaching or counselling.

While I'm not sure about those options, it could be that they are the most suited to my natural skill set.

What's the biggest obstacle in your way?

I've got no idea what I'm actually good at.

As a result I feel completely stuck, with no idea how to move forward.

I know I've got some useful transferable skills, but the million-dollar question is, “Where should I take them?”

I haven't got the freedom to explore lots of different career options, as I can't afford not to work. Also, because I haven't got a clear passion or a stand-out skill I could instantly use, it's hard to know how I would begin a career change.

For example, what if I do start a blog, but it turns out I'm not very good at writing? What if I decide I'd like to be a coach or a counsellor – how do I know if I've got the skills to succeed in such a vastly different career?

It all feels like I'm shooting into the dark, with no idea where my target is. Meanwhile, I feel as though I won't be able to survive for much longer in my current career.

How do I discover what I'm really good at, so I can take my first step towards planning a shift?

Can you help Manali?

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

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