Here’s what to do when you’ve fallen out of love with your career, according to female career experts.
At some point, you may not be as in love with your career as you initially thought. Whether there’s been a lot of turnaround, unexpected job tasks, an overwhelming number of job tasks, you’re not challenged as much anymore, or a plethora of other reasons, you’re just not feeling it. So, when it comes to what to do if you’ve fallen out of love with your career, luckily, you have many options. Of course, you’re not the first person to feel this way, and you also won’t be the last.
“Discovering you’ve fallen out of love with your career can be a bittersweet realization; for some, such awareness can produce feelings of fear, confusion, or perhaps even denial,” Elana Marlo, Seattle-based Certified Life Coach and founder of Elana Marlo Coaching, told I AM & CO. She said that this is a common experience when you’re in the midst of a transition point or personal expansion. “While it’s uncomfortable, it’s not to be feared,” Marlo said. “These signals of discomfort and dissatisfaction are actually guideposts directing you exactly where you need to go. The key is to listen, and see what they’re trying to tell you.”
Below, we asked several career experts for answers to help guide you in deciding what’s next. After all, you spend so much of your time at work, it’s definitely best to enjoy it as much as you can.
1. Figure Out Why You Have Fallen Out Of Love With Your Career
“Ask yourself: Have I fallen out of love with this career because of the content of my day-to-day work? Or, have I fallen out of love with it because of some dynamic in my organization (such as a difficult boss, politics that make it hard to get anything accomplished, etc.)? Sometimes, it helps to brainstorm with a third party — a coach, a counselor, or a close friend/family member who knows you well.” - Leigh Steere, co-founder of Managing People Better, LLC
2. Recognize That Your Goals May Have Changed
“I actually did fall out of love with my career as an entertainment reporter and found a new, more fulfilling path as an author and empowerment coach and speaker. Make sure to recognize that you’ve evolved. Just because you had a dream, moved toward it, and made your career goals happen does not mean you have to stay there. As we grow older and more accomplished, we evolve as human beings and begin to detach from things that once held meaning for us. Material possessions become less important and finding a better purpose becomes more important. That’s why many people decide their current career no longer serves them, and that’s a good thing.” - Laura Saltman, author, inner guidance coach, and lifestyle host/correspondent
3. Do A Deep Self-Inquiry
“The first and most critical step I’d recommend to one of my clients would be to start with deeper self-inquiry. By understanding your current core values, passions, lifestyle preferences, and needs, you’ll gain clarity and insight to make an informed decision that is most aligned with who you are today, and most likely to result in greater fulfillment. Some questions to help you begin this process might include:
What values are most important to me at this moment in my life?
If I could change any aspect of my career, what would it be?
How have I expanded and grown since starting my career?
How has my lifestyle changed since starting my career?
Which of my needs are asking for my attention right now?
What interests or passions feel most alive to me?
Overall, if you were to imagine yourself at the end of your life, thinking back on how you spent your time and energy, what would bring you the greatest sense of pride and gratitude?” - Elana Marlo, Seattle-based Certified Life Coach and founder of Elana Marlo Coaching
4. Take Time Off To Reassess
Some ways to prevent falling out of love with your career are: establish a healthy work/life balance, take your vacations (!), and go to at least one conference a year (preferably out of town) to think about your career, job, industry, etc. But if you’ve fallen out of love with your career regardless, don’t wait to address this until you’re a wreck; by then, you’re probably not performing well, and it may be hard to recover. Instead, look for burnout signs early and remember that it’s not the end of the world.
We are living so long now that you may have several ‘careers’ in your lifetime. If you’re done, you’re done — but you want to make sure before you take steps that can’t be undone. So, consider taking a serious amount of time off — not just a vacation but enough to really regroup (at least three months, preferably a year). If you think you can’t afford it, think about how you REALLY can’t afford to leave your education and experience behind unless you are certain you have to make a change.” - Jennifer K. Crittenden, career consultant, trainer, and author
5. Read These Books
“I recommend starting with a copy of Jenny Blake’s PIVOT: The Only Move that Matters is Your Next One. Falling out of love with your career doesn’t mean you have to quit and move to Bali to find meaning. You can pivot, or make small changes to create your dream life!” – Dr. Caitlin Faas, Psychology Professor and Career Coach
“I really like the book What Color Is Your Parachute? (it doesn’t have to be the most current edition). My favorite activity from the earliest versions of that book involves writing about standout events in your life, where you felt on fire — enthusiastic. After you write your stories, you look through a detailed, multi-page list of skills and mark which skills you were using at that time. It’s a clever way to prioritize the skills you want to emphasize in your next career.” - Leigh Steere, co-founder of Managing People Better, LLC
6. Keep Your Ego Out Of It
“Let go of ego: ‘What will people think of me?’ That’s the question that keeps people trapped in a career they no longer love. When you get to a position of power, it’s hard to turn back or shift gears. However, that is the only way to leave the world you once adored and strived for behind. Kick ego to the curb and allow and accept that a new course is on the horizon and one you will kick ass at just as you did the last one. Even if you don’t quite know what that looks like yet, you will.” - Laura Saltman, author, inner guidance coach, and lifestyle host/correspondent
7. Focus On The Thing(s) You Are Good At
“When you’ve fallen out of love with your career, it’s time for you to go back to your ikigai. Ikigai is the Japanese word for the thing you are good at, that you love doing, and that the world needs and you can get paid for. Create categories for yourself for each:
What are you good at?
What do you love?
What does the world need?
And what can you get paid for?
And see where you can find the intersections. That’s what you should be focusing on.” - Sahara Rose, lifestyle expert and best-selling author of Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda
8. Find What Fuels You
“Most likely, if you have fallen out of love with your career, it is because, deep down, you have a knowing that something else is calling you. So, find what fuels you. The amount of businesses that are started by former doctors, lawyers, accountants, or other 9-to-5ers is staggering, and most of the time have nothing to do with their current job. The truth of what that next ‘thing’ you are meant to do is lives inside of you; the trick is to recognize and accept it: Get quiet, meditate on it, write in a journal, go for a daily run. Do anything which unlocks that invention you want to create, the store you always wanted to open, or the service you always wanted to provide. You’ve got this!” - Laura Saltman, author, inner guidance coach, and lifestyle host/correspondent
9. Think About Aspects Of Your Career You *Do* Like That You Can Transfer To A New Role Or Career
“Think about what you do still like about your occupation, and start thinking about how to include those in your next step(s). Do you still like the technical aspects? Consider consulting. Do you still like the people management? Consider coaching. Do you still like being part of a team? Perhaps you should consider part-time/temporary work.” - Jennifer K. Crittenden, career consultant, trainer, and author
10. Make An Inventory Of Your Likes And Dislikes About Your Current Career
“If you’re sure the problem is your day-to-day work, take stock of the good and not-so-good parts of your current career. Start by making an inventory of activities you like to do — activities where you feel engaged and where the hours seem to fly by. One tool is creating a simple four-quadrant chart:
Label the upper left: ‘Things I like to do and want to do more of.’
The upper right: ‘Things I like to do, but am OK if they aren’t a central component of my next career.’
Lower left: ‘Things I don’t like to do, but am willing to do in moderation.’
Lower right: ‘Things I don’t like to do and want to make sure to eliminate or minimize in my next career.’
This exercise can help you develop more clarity around what to look for in your next career.” - Leigh Steere, co-founder of Managing People Better, LLC
11. Be Courageous
“Practice COURAGE to move beyond fear toward your purposeful work. What fear comes up when you think about taking your next step into doing the work you’re meant to do? Whenever fear arises, it is important to know how to summon the courage to move beyond fear.
Ask yourself: If I am no longer scared to fail, what dream business or work endeavor would I courageously launch? If I am no longer scared to shine, how would I let myself courageously show up? If I am no longer scared to be vulnerable and authentic, what message would my heart want to courageously share with the world? If I am no longer scared of others judging me, how would I courageously offer my gifts?” - Jessica Chilton of SPARK
Now, what about *you*? What have you done when you’ve fallen out of love with your career? We’d love to know! Comment below!