Stay or Go? – Career Decision-Making Tips

  |   Patricia Tiernan

Your job is soul-destroying at times or maybe you dread going in on Monday morning, you definitely don’t see a future in it but you can’t see an easy way out either. You periodically jump online searching for a dream job but feel more trapped as nothing looks promising enough.

Is this as good as it gets? Do most people hate their jobs? If only you could learn to accept it for what it is and learn to ignore your gut instinct that there is more to life than this.

As a Career Coach I’ve supported countless people to tap into their instincts and find fulfilling work and here are some helpful insights I have learned over the past 10 years that have had a huge impact.


  1. Awareness of who you are – 50%


Sounds obvious but most people don’t take the time to sit back and unpick what they have learned about themselves since they joined the workforce. When we first tried to pick what direction to take our career we had little to go by apart from favorite subjects and hobbies. Looking at where to take our career later in life means we have a lot more data we can use to help us crystallise the kind of work we would enjoy. Such as the kind of interactions we like, the kind of tasks we enjoy, what motivates us, the lifestyle we want, and what we’d like to see happen in the future.


If you’re looking at job titles online for inspiration, you’re looking in the wrong place. Start by taking a step back ideally when you are not feeling overly anxious, to understand who you are and what you want from work. Start by putting your finger on what is not ok, for example, is it the pay or conditions, the tasks or demands, purpose, relationships, the culture, level of autonomy, progression, etc.


What is it you want instead? What aspects even if small have you ever enjoyed at work? What skills do you like using? What are your strengths? What kind of work suits your personality? If you could write your own job spec, what would it say?


  1. How to get it – 40%

Is there a way of getting these needs met in your job, in your organisation? Have you had conversations about this, if not why not? When would be an ideal time to have them? If you don’t want to work for your employer any longer what roles or types of organisations be a better fit?


Most people don’t have a clue how to strategically position themselves for work that would fulfill them and why would they? Personal branding is a really unique form of communication, that can seem a bit cringy if looked at in the wrong way. Some things like CV, LinkedIn, or Application Writing can be outsourced and I would recommend doing that. But other things like how to communicate your value in an interview or tweak your CV to suit a role is a really valuable life skills to learn, especially if you know you hate talking about yourself.


Mindset is an area that is also overlooked when supporting yourself to find work you love. Instead of using up your energy ruminating about what you don’t like, identify the practical small steps you can take to strengthen your chances of getting your dream job. Who are three people you could have informational interviews with? What upskilling courses could you do (government-funded courses like great opportunity), side projects, or expand your network?


Also, look at the recurring negative thoughts that are holding you back from taking actions beyond scrolling, and work on increasing your sense of agency. For example, how optimistic, confident or resilient are you? Common unhelpful beliefs that keep people stuck are I’m too old/young, I’d have to start from the bottom again, I can’t earn less, I’d lose my flexibility/credibility, take too much time, I couldn’t do that. Challenge your thoughts, is that thought true?


  1. Knowing what you want – 10%

Lastly with this increased sense of clarity pinpoint career ‘must have’ and ‘nice to have’s’.  Use this information to inform your career conversations, research, pinpoint career possibilities, and motivate you to take actions that will move you closer to your goal.

If you find it hard to clarify who you are and what you want, I would recommend completing this Career Change Coaching Programme. It will help you to do this in as little as six weeks, so you can stop the hamster wheel and start living an intentional life that feels more fulfilling.


If you know what you want but are finding it difficult to get it, I recommend the Job Application and Interview Skills Training services as they have catapulted people into jobs they love. Click here to book a free coaching exploratory call.