I‘m 23 and I hate my job. I’m bored to death and stuck in a dead end job. The company doesn’t promote anyone and there aren’t any other areas I can be moved to. I wake up dreading going to work. Where can I go for career advice? I went to a TAFE career counsellor but she told me just to do anything. That’s how I ended up in a job I hate in the first place! Please help. Megan
Being in a job you hate can be like a prison. However, making the leap to something new can feel equally overwhelming. So it’s a good thing you’ve hit the wall, in a sense, and are ready for some changes. Also, you’re so young, and if you don’t have children or a mortgage to pay, you’re in the best position you could be to steer yourself towards something new.
We all know the working world has changed; there are no jobs for life anymore; the kinds of jobs our parents stayed in for 30 years until retirement. These days, there’s more contracting, more shifting from job to job and a lot more people making radical career changes throughout the course of their lives. A careers counsellor is a great starting point but it sounds like you didn’t quite click with the one you visited. No matter, get onto Google and find another – a good place to start is the Career Development Association of Australia, or My Future, Australia’s Career Exploration Service. Careers counsellors can be invaluable – they will help you narrow down your passions, define your strengths and isolate your weaknesses. They can also suggest paths you could take and tell you how to start working towards those careers – the kinds of study or training you’d need to do, which takes time and commitment and needs to be factored into your overall decision.
Start researching now. Buy a big notebook and start jotting down ideas and notes. What are you interested in? What are you good at? What do you love? Write a list. It can be as pie-in-the-sky as you want, because this is the time to figure out whether landing your dream job is actually doable, or whether there’s something close to it that might be a bit more achievable. Are there people you know who have jobs you envy? Talk to them. Or, if you have an idea of where you’d like to be, research the industry and find people working in that industry who can give you advice. Offer to do work experience so you get to see, hands-on, what the job would really be like.
Realise, too, that you probably won’t just ‘fall into’ your desired career, but will have to work hard at it, possibly at retraining, ‘doing your time’ in the industry and working your way up to where you want to be. You may have to work on the side or part-time in order to pay your way while you study – but many do it. Don’t be put off by the thought of many years of study – it’s a sacrifice, sure, but the rewards will be priceless when you can wake up each day and earn money doing something you truly enjoy. It’s all about being flexible, adaptable and open to furthering your skills in order to get where you want to be. Good luck!
Love, reality chick