February 17, 2021

Questioning Your Career

I'm Melissa
I'm a Career and Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech. I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.
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At some point in your career, you may start questioning if you want to make a change.

It may be because you are ready to try something new,  you’re not loving your job, or you never intentionally decided this is the career you wanted – all you know is you have a nagging voice telling you that you want something different.

Many of my clients feel this way.

They work so hard to get where they are. They do all the things, they go to school, get a good job, work hard, maybe even get advanced degrees and certifications, and they look around and they aren’t happy.

That is what this episode is about – when you work so hard for where you are, and then you look around and it’s not what you expected, or you’ve done it for a while and it’s not your passion, or maybe you’ve never even intentionally chosen your career before.

Listen in to learn how to process it all what you can do about it.

What You’ll Learn

What to do when you start questioning your career

How to process thoughts like “but I’ve worked so hard to get here” and “is this a phase?”

When it’s time to listen to the voice telling you there is something more for you

How to shift to thinking about possibilities for yourself

Featured in This Episode

Book: Pivot by Jenny Blake

Get Unstuck: Career Prompts

Learn more about coaching with Melissa. 

Are you questioning if you are in the right career? Take the quiz. 

Note: The Get Unstuck Career Prompts mentioned in this episode are no longer available.

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Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of Navigating Your Career!

I was watching the Real Housewives of Dallas – yes, I watch this and I love it.  I actually watch a lot of Bravo – it is so fun and relaxing for me.  So anyway, one of the women on the show is a doctor, an anesthesiologist.  She talks about the stress of her job, how demanding it is, and with COVID and her daughters getting older she isn’t sure if she wants to continue in her current career. She was having a conversation with her husband and she said, imagine you spend your entire life trying to climb a mountain, and you get to the top of the mountain and you look around and you question why you even worked so hard to get there and if it was what you really wanted at all.

This sums up how many of my clients feel.  They work so hard to get where they are. They do all the things, they go to school, get a good job, work hard, maybe even get advanced degrees and certifications, and they look around and they aren’t happy.

In the show Tiffany was struggling with her children getting older and them noticing when she isn’t around because she’s working a lot, the demands of her parents who wouldn’t understand if she wanted to change jobs or go part-time.  Her husband was very supportive and reminded her that priorities change and it’s ok to make a pivot.

That is what this episode is about – when you work so hard for where you are, and then you look around and it’s not what you expected, or you’ve done it for a while and it’s not your passion, or maybe you’ve never even intentionally chosen your career before.  Maybe your career just happened to you with year after year of hard work you just found yourself doing something you didn’t intentionally choose.

But you’re successful.  You have a good job, maybe even great.  You’re just not happy with it and you’re questioning if you need something different, if you’re going crazy, if it’s a phase….

This can bring up a lot of feelings –  that you’re letting people down, that your parents are so proud of you, what will they think? Or people are struggling to make ends meet and you’re considering just leaving a good job, or your partner supported you while you went to school, spent some money on a certification, and now you just want to give it all up.

You can feel like all signs are pointing to this is an awful decision.  That you need to suck it up and find a way to make it work.

What I want to offer is that it you can give yourself permission to explore this feeling that you’re having.

It doesn’t always mean that you need to change your profession – it is possible that working through the challenges you’re having that are causing you to feel unhappy can help you feel better in your current job.

It’s also possible that you outgrew it and that your priorities have shifted that who you are today, is not the same as the person who set out to work toward where you are so many years ago.

I know you might be thinking – but what can you do? You can’t just leave your job, not everyone can stay home, not everyone can take time off to figure this out.  You may have spent 100k on your college education and you may freak out thinking you are leaving that behind.

So before all of these thoughts and feelings takeover, take a deep breath.  Let’s start with permission.  Permission to explore where these thoughts and feelings are coming from, that have you unhappy now.

If this is hard for you to do – I want you to think of a loved one, your child, a friend or family member.  Someone you love very much and only want the best for.

If they came to you after going to college, getting in at a great company, but they told you they were:

Stressed all the time and having a hard time sleeping
Dread going to work most days
Have no time for themselves
Aren’t really sure what they like to do or who they are anymore
Feel pressured to be something they aren’t

What would you tell them?

Would you tell them to suck it up? That it’s part of life?  Would you tell them they worked hard to get where they are and it’s just a phase?

Probably not. You’d probably ask them what’s going on, to tell you more, that you can figure it out.

That same compassion is what I want you to give to yourself.

To give yourself permission to figure it out.

One of the things I work on with my clients is possibility.  To be open to what is possible instead of what is probable.

This isn’t to encourage them to go into a brand new field – although that can happen, it’s just to help you be open and compassionate to yourself.

Your brain is designed to protect you and prevent you from doing anything that is painful or difficult.

But your brain guides your thinking based on the past.  Based on what you’ve tried before, decisions you’ve made, how you were raised, your belief system, what your parents told you growing up, thinks you cannot even remember right now, it is all impacting the way you make decisions and whether or not you allow yourself to be open to something other than what you perfectly planned and achieved for yourself.

So the first step is possibility.  Is it possible that your priorities have changed and what you want now is different from what you wanted before, and that it is ok to shift?

Is it possible that you could be happier in your job right now but your beliefs or experiences or way of thinking is preventing you from seeing the opportunities that you have?

Is it possible that you were made for greater than what you have right now.

Is it possible that changing your mind and evolving is just a normal part of life?

Is it possible that he haters that won’t understand, are also just a part of life and don’t have to stop you?

Is it possible that you could get to know yourself better and be happier or figure out your passion and apply it to your career?

Is it possible that you made the very best decisions for yourself at the time and now thinking and exploring this is the best decision you can make now?

I’m here to tell you that it is all possible.

Anything is possible for you if you are willing to believe that.

If you are willing to avoid the status-quo and listen to that little voice that tells you you’re unhappy and you want something different.

You don’t have to jump right to leaving your job to become an actor or OMG what if I wasted my education? Or I need to make 100k a year and what if my dream isn’t that!

Just take a breath and be willing to explore the possibility.

You don’t have to make decisions right now. Even if your ideal career would be to be an actor you still get to decide if that’s something you want to explore.  You still get to decide how that shows up, maybe that’s volunteering with the local theatre and learning to manage the stress of your day-job, there are so many possibilities.

But don’t self-reject, don’t tell yourself to suck it up, that there isn’t a way out that what you have is good enough.

Because learn it from me, if you have that voice telling you there is more for you, questioning your career, wondering what else is out there, it is there for a reason.

Right now you might be able to push it down and numb it with wine, being on social media all the time, constantly applying for other jobs, shopping, lots of TV, keeping yourself busy with the kids, but the voice is going to get louder.

Then those things you’re doing now that numb those thoughts and feelings are going to escalate, you’re going to become even more distant from yourself, you might over indulge, you may wake up and realize you spent more time than you needed to forcing yourself to settle for good enough.

Instead, you could decide to listen to it.

To be open to possibilities.

To explore what is causing your thoughts and feelings.

You can try to read up and find books that can help like Pivot by Jenny Blake.

You can journal and do some self-reflection – I have 31 career journal prompts that you can get access to through my website.

You can also work with a coach.

I help people like you get happier in their current job or figure out their next career move. It’s not as scary as it may seem, it can actually be a lot of fun.  You don’t have to go through this alone.

If you’re interested in working with me so you can work with an expert guide to help you navigate this unknown territory, I encourage you to apply for coaching. I will put the link to apply in the shownotes.

That is all for today’s episode.  I gave you a lot to think about.  Let it sit in.  Know, that whatever you want, is possible, even if you don’t see it right now or don’t know what that is yet.

Have a great week!

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No longer settles for “good enough”

Hi, I’m Melissa.

Career & Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech

I'm a former Talent & Development leader in Pharma/Biotech turned CEO and Certified Professional Career & Life Coach. I also host the podcast, Your Worthy Career.

I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.

I'm leading a movement of women in the industry who are figuring out exactly what they want and shattering the glass ceiling. The very real ceiling in the industry, but also the one that we impose on ourselves. 

So long, imposter syndrome and overthinking. It's time to step into the impact and life you're worthy of having.

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