“I have no clue what I want to do with my life. All I know is that this isn’t it.”

As a career coach, people come to me with this question all the time. They are burnt out, frustrated and totally lost when it comes to their careers. Often, they went to college, got their degree, worked their tail off and somewhere along the way, they realized they wanted nothing to do with the career trajectory they were on.

Yikes.

Perhaps you’re in a career crisis of your own. Maybe you’re discouraged, overwhelmed and paralyzed with where to turn next. Maybe you’re thinking to yourself, “Is this what I worked so hard for?!” 

If this sounds like you, I promise the road does not end here! You can get yourself out of this stuck-in-the-mud career rut and running towards career fulfillment. 

Here are 4 questions to ask yourself to get clarity around your career crisis:

#1. What does work mean to me?

So many of us walk through life not understanding why work matters to us. Every person has their own measurement of value, worth and success in their work. What’s yours?

For some, work is solely for provision. Others see work as a way to impact others. Many people see it as a place to achieve success. For me, work allows me to use my God-given talents and share them with the world. And as an Enneagram 3, I definitely love the challenge of continually achieving and growing. No shame in that!

Whip out your journal and dedicate 20 minutes to answering this question. By getting to the root of why you work, you will glean insight as to why you’re in this crisis to begin with.

#2. Are my expectations realistic?

Benchmarking is helpful in business. It lets us see the answers to some important questions:  Are we tracking with competitors? Are we staying ahead of the curve? What’s the industry average and how are we playing in that space? Those metrics are great for businesses. The problem is – most of us try to translate that over to our own lives. And that, my friends, is a recipe for disaster.

With a benchmarking mindset, we can easily slip into the trap of comparison. We’re looking left and right, seeing how others are performing and we’re judging our own experience based off arbitrary benchmarks we’ve made in our career. 

So hear me – just because a peer looks like they are ahead of you, it doesn’t mean you’re off track. It just means you’re climbing a different ladder. 

Give your expectations a once over to see if they are helping or harming you.

#3. When do I feel like I’m thriving at work?

When I worked on Wall Street, I realized I was terrible at finance. Not a great place to realize that, for the record. But instead of focusing on improving my deficiencies, I asked myself, “When do I feel most happy at work?” I wanted to understand my strengths and natural giftings. 

By asking myself this question, I realized that I thrived when I was in pitch meetings, reporting from the NYSE Trading Floor and collaborating with the marketing team on some creative ideas. No wonder I was so stuck! That was only a small portion of my day! After realizing this, I was able to create a plan to get out of my career rut and into a career that celebrated my gifts.

So, when do you feel like you’re killing it at work?

#4. If money weren’t a consideration, what would I be doing?

Now, I’m not telling you to throw all caution to the wind, quit your job tomorrow and move to Tahiti. No, I’m just telling you to think outside-the-box. When we get into the throes of life and responsibility, we stop dreaming. We stop having a wide-eyed appreciation for what we could be doing now that we’re all grown up.

I don’t believe God wants us to merely survive in our careers but to flourish.

Can you do something for me? Can you spend some time dreaming this week? I would love it if you put some time on your calendar to revisit the dreams that have been laying dormant because mortgages, school loans and messy playrooms have kept you distracted.

Bring those dreams to Him. Serve them up on a platter to the King and say, “So, do you think we should we give this one a go?”

 

And remember this:  career moves are best made in quarter turns.

 

Don’t expect everything to change overnight. But with some dedication, dreaming and God-fearing prayers, you’ll be well on your way from career crisis to career fulfillment. 

 

Jena Viviano
Jena Viviano

Jena is an ex-Wall Streeter turned career coach and entrepreneur who helps go-getter professionals articulate their personal branded career story to land their dream jobs. For fun, you can find her mulling over faith & work theology, exploring Nashville and the checking out the best wine bars in town.

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