5 Things You Can Do If You’re Not Enjoying Your Job
Many of us find ourselves on a career track that doesn’t feel quite right because our career foundations are usually built in our teens. Inspirations, influences and priorities change. The thing is, it’s never too late to snap out of it and try something new.
Whether you’re a few months into a job that just isn’t what you imagined or several years into a career that isn’t heading the way you want, here are some practical tips for anyone thinking of making a change.
Try a short course
As cathartic as it might feel to imagine quitting your job and just riding off into the sunset, it’s a good idea to see which way you might want to point that horse before you start getting all Office Space.
Having moved from a double degree in Science and Engineering at university to a Bachelor of Fashion Design at TAFE NSW Fashion Design Studio, Jessica Van made almost as big a switch as a person can.
While she was still making up her mind, Van says: “A friend of mine at the bar I worked in at the time told me about a great evening fashion illustration class held at TAFE NSW and that’s where it all began.”
“The vast contrast of excitement to go to a three-hour a week drawing class compared to getting up for uni each day made up my mind. Eventually, I stopped going to uni and I contacted every designer in Sydney to take me on as an intern.”
Once you’ve set your sights firmly on where you want to go, it’s time to take a look at what areas you might want to build up in terms of education and experience. For Van, this meant signing up for a career-linked and hands-on course.
In addition to the flexible schedule, Van points to how “The practical, hands-on nature of the course is second to none. You learn so much in so many different areas, you get a taste of everything and it’s not overloaded with theory and essays. You get to create every single day in some way, shape or form…[and] to see your collection walk down the runway at Fashion Week was definitely an incredible moment.”
Upskilling doesn’t mean you need to commit five days a week for the next three years, either. Finding a short course that will fill a gap in your knowledge means you won’t waste any time, and can also fit it around the life you’re already leading.
Take a moment to be really honest with yourself
Taking a step off the path you’re already on is a big ask. For Van, as you might expect, it wasn’t an easy decision. She was concerned about disappointing her family, about steering away from a goal and future that she had planned for years, and worried that she might not succeed in her chosen field. But, even with all these considerations, she knew something needed to change.
“I was miserable at the time, going to and from uni every day, hating life. When you dread each day, you know something isn’t right. My housemate at the time asked me two simple questions: ‘What do you love?’ Fashion. ‘Why aren’t you doing that, then?’ I had no answer.”
Get some hands-on experience
Changing careers can be terrifying, but there are many ways to dip your toe in the water without committing to jumping in fully dressed.
Getting industry experience or taking a short course allows you to see what the day-to-day realities might be – and, as an added bonus, this way you’ll get to meet some people in the field you’re looking to join.
Reach out to people you admire in the industry and ask if you can shadow them for a day, or even sign up to do an internship.
Find a mentor
In addition to doing your own research, it’s helpful to find someone who is doing what you want to do and see what they have to say.
For Van, one of the best aspects of TAFE NSW was the teachers. “They are industry veterans and professionals, speaking from experience and genuinely want you to succeed. When you are learning from such passionate people, you can’t help but absorb, engage and be inspired by their wealth of knowledge.”
The idea of deviating from the path you’re already on can be daunting, however if your instincts are saying something needs to change, it’s worth taking the time to explore that properly.
Asked if she had any advice for those thinking about making a career switch, Van cuts through all the fears that might be holding you back: “Go with your gut. If you have a passion, then you owe it to yourself to explore it in some way.”
(Lead image: Broad City)
With over 1,200 courses, including diplomas and degrees, TAFE NSW offers a real-world course for just about anything you want to do in life. So take the leap and make the Switch to a quality education. Find out more here.