“My Career Decisions Have Led Me Down The Wrong Path. How Can I Trust Myself To Find Work I Love?”

Jordan feels trapped in a career that doesn't play to her strengths. But every time she thinks about making a change, she's plagued with fear and insecurity that stops her dead in her tracks. How do you plan a fulfilling new career, when you've lost faith in your instincts?

What's your career history and current job?

I'm a volunteer programme coordinator, working with a not-for-profit organisation that helps reduce isolation amongst elderly people.

I've worked in the not-for-profit sector for the majority of my career.

How do you feel about your work?

My job involves mixing with volunteers from different generations and backgrounds.

I'm a 'people' person, so this is something I enjoy.

Some of the causes I have worked for in the past include adult literacy, homelessness, and disaster relief. It makes me feel good to know that I can make a genuine difference in other people's lives.

But the problem is that my job doesn't play to my strengths.

My role involves a lot of detail and desk work. I really struggle with this, because I'm not detail orientated.

I love connecting people and building strong relationships, but I spend so much time at my desk that there isn't much opportunity to really interact with others.

I enjoy talking about ideas, creating new things and facilitating interesting projects, but when it comes to the finer details and analysis then I'm very happy to hand it all over to someone else!

I'm an ambitious person, but I don't want to move up in my career. Promotion would only involve more of the things I don't enjoy.

Unfortunately, this means I'm stagnating. Every day, I feel trapped by my job.

What would you like to be doing instead?

I've got a lot of ideas.

I've always had a strong interest in writing. I also love connecting with others, and creating community partnerships.

In an ideal world, I would be able to combine these things in a new career.

I've also taken a course in eco-therapy, which I really enjoyed because it involved helping others connect with nature.

What's the biggest obstacle in your way?

I don't trust myself enough to find the right way forwards.

If the decisions I've made so far in my career have been wrong, how can I have faith in myself to make the right ones now?

Years ago, I faced a dilemma involving what to study at university. I chose public health and education because I thought it would be best to be practical, but that has been at the expense of my creative side. If I could go back, I would have chosen differently.

I can't visualise myself as a successful person who loves what I do, because I don’t trust that I'll be able to make my ideas work.

So, while I've made some attempts to explore new career paths, they've always failed. Either I lose interest, or I can't see how it will work out, so I stop trying.

For example, when I think about developing my writing skills, I invent excuses that stop me in my tracks. I tell myself that other people won't like my writing, or that I wouldn't know where to begin creating a portfolio that could bring me work.

Sometimes it feels like I've packed my bags to go somewhere, but I never actually leave.

I haven't quite given up hope, though. I must have read every career change guide that's ever been published, and I understand that it takes time and experience to build something new.

I'm willing to give everything I've got to the right career.

But how can I plan a leap into work I could love, when all the decisions I've made so far have led me down the wrong path?

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

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