I hang out in a lot of new mom Facebook groups which means I see a lot these types of “i hate my job now what” posts. Being a mom, new or experienced, is tough. Adding to it a terrible workplace/boss/workload creates an overwhelming sense of failure and frustration.
I see a lot of women asking for a way out. And they should. Turning to your community – online and offline – is a good start to leaving your shitty job. There should be no shame in leaving something so unfulfilling, so toxic.
Since I just wrote a book that basically encourages everyone to leave a bad workplace (and change careers), I’m writing a lot of career change advice in Facebook groups lately. It reminds me of the days when I was a professional career coach and someone at a bar would ask me what I did for a living. I’d tell them I was a career coach and they’d tell me how much they hate their job. It’s impossible to stay quiet in those conversations. People who are stuck in their jobs need perspective, a bit of direction, and a friendly ear.
I’ve noticed that a lot of people who are stuck are hung up on the idea that they should go back to school right away. But they aren’t sure how to go back to school because it costs so much and even then they don’t know exactly what they want to do for the rest of our lives. That’s totally normal.
We were all raised with the idea that to make a career change we needed to go back to school. We were also taught that we were supposed to figure out the one thing we’d do for the rest of our lives. Going back to school is a debt-filled experience packaged as a investment in our professional selves. It creates a lot of pressure to choose the one right path. The result is often paralysis for those who are stuck.
Thankfully things have changed. We don’t have to pick one thing for the rest of our lives. Our careers are flexible. We’ll change multiple times over the course of our careers. Sometimes it will be big changes, other times, smaller changes. There are also far more learning experiences available to us that don’t involve going back to get another degree.
The first step in making a career change isn’t deciding to go back to school or not (in fact for many you don’t even need to go back to school to make a career change). To escape a bad workplace, you have to get to know your options. Identify all the possible paths for change, pick one, and then learn the skills you need to get on that path.
I’ve given so much advice in Facebook groups lately that I’m starting to feel like a broken record. So I’m dropping off an advice dump from a recent Facebook group post that covers the first baby steps of a career change.
Share it with anyone else who is stuck in their job and wants a way out.
First off, GTFO of your place of work that doesn’t deserve you. You’ve given and given and now you’re drained. There are so many people in your situation.
Start simple: commit to changing it. You don’t have to have a plan or make a big step. You can start small and commit to the exploration process.
Talk to people about their interests. Learn what other opportunities are out there by asking people about their work, how they got into their field, what advice they’d have for you. You’ll learn so much.
Then check in with yourself. What skills do you have? What are you good at? Make a list. Take stock.
Read job descriptions like they are tiny short stories and pay attention to jobs that interest you, not what you are qualified for. What sparks your interest? What type of companies interest you?
Read newsletters from industries that interest you. Listen to podcasts from leaders, companies, or professional topics that interest you. Make notes on the type of work that interests you. Look for possibilities and resist the urge to talk yourself out of doing something.
The workplace has changed a lot in the last several years. There are really good places to work, good teams, and better managers. Take small steps towards finding them.
Commit to change even if you don’t know what shape change will take.
THEN focus on finding the learning experiences that will help you get new skills.
Need more advice? Get the book. Available now.