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8 Things To Do If You Think You’re In The Wrong Career

8 Things To Do If You Think You’re In The Wrong Career

The Great Recession had a huge impact on the global labor market, as millions of citizens lost jobs amid a host of public and private sector cuts. Alongside a technological evolution which has eliminated opportunities in some industries and created new careers in others, the labor market has yet to make a full and clearly-defined recovery.

While this has helped to create flexibility in the job market and inspire a new generation of freelancers, it has also made long-term security extremely hard to find. Modern-day job seekers must maintain an open-minded approach when seeking out opportunities, while those already in gainful employment may find themselves committed to an unsuitable or unfulfilling role.

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What to do if you find yourself in the wrong career

If you belong to this category, it is all too easy to become disillusioned with the labor market and the lack of suitable, long-term opportunities. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to manage this situation and identify a relevant solution. Consider the following:

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1. Do not dwell on past events

Although the recent recession may have had a huge impact on the labor market, this is not the only potential trigger for a lack of job satisfaction. You may have made a series of poor decisions, which have left you working in a role that does not suit either your skill-set or future aspirations. It is important not to dwell on past events or the exact reason for your career stagnation, as this will only create further feelings of negativity and depression. If you do reflect on these events, be sure to remain objective and look for positive lessons that can be learned.

2. List reasons why you are dissatisfied with your career

There are multiple reasons why you may be dissatisfied with your career, and it is important to consider these carefully before making a rash decision concerning your future. The intensity of these feelings can make it extremely difficult to maintain perspective. So be aware of this and make a conscious commitment to invest time and thought into determining your next move. Start by making a list of reasons why you are unhappy in your job, working through each to identify whether or not they can be realistically resolved over time.

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3. Consider the positive aspects of your career

Conversely, your feelings of discontentment can easily overwhelm the positive or enjoyable aspects of your career. These are worthy of consideration, especially if you are fortunate enough to have a secure position of employment and a salary that reflects your credentials. It would be unwise to discard a fruitful career without fully appraising both its benefits and its drawbacks, as problems you are encountering may be short-term in nature or relatively easy to overcome. With this in mind, make sure you have an overview of the situation before making a final decision.

4. Understand the financial risks of immediately leaving your job

Even if you do decide that your current career is not right for you, making an immediate change is not necessarily the best course of action. This is especially true if you have a number of financial commitments, as unemployment may trigger a cycle of debt and subsequent feelings of anxiety, depression and panic. Always look to seek out alternative opportunities and roles of employment before leaving your existing position, as this will help you maintain a continual source of income.

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5. Analyze your strengths and weaknesses before job hunting

When looking for alternative job roles, it is important to consider your strengths and weaknesses as an individual and employee. Your recent experience of being a disgruntled worker may have altered your self-perception, and revealed aspects of your personality that you did not know existed. So before commencing a new career, it is crucial you have a clear understanding of your unique value and any areas that require improvement. This will strengthen future job applications and help prevent previous issues from reoccurring.

6. Begin to network and identify relevant industry contacts

Once you have identified the future career path that will best suit you, begin networking and develop a range of relevant industry contacts. Whether you are looking to remain in the same sector as before or branch out into a new and unfamiliar market, identify influential partners who can help you achieve your career ambitions. These may be leading industry thought leaders or potential employers, but either way they can introduce you to new and exciting opportunities.

7. Develop your skill-set and academic credentials

While technological advancement has a reputation for making and breaking industries, there are sectors where it’s impact may be less dramatic. Regardless of this, the pace and unrelenting nature of innovation has forced every industry to evolve to some degree or another. This means employees must refine their skill-sets and academic qualifications on a regular basis. This is especially true if you are looking to change careers, as you will need to boast the relevant credentials in the eyes of employers.

8. Re-evaluate your life as a whole

As you prepare for your career switch, it may be the ideal time to re-evaluate your life and address any work-life balance issues that may exist. These issues may have played a part in exacerbating your previous feelings of discontentment, especially if you worked in a stressful job role that demanded considerable amounts of time and focus. By evaluating your life, its contents and the priority you give to employment, you can approach your new career with the right mind-set and avoid replicating previous mistakes in the future.

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5 Powerful Ideas on How to Be Productive at Work

5 Powerful Ideas on How to Be Productive at Work

Not being able to stay productive at work is a problem that everyone runs into at some point; no matter how much you like your job, there are certain factors that prevent you from staying at maximum proficiency throughout the whole day.

A lack of productive focus at work can lead to extra stress on yourself, missed deadlines, passed opportunities, raise denial, demotion and even termination.

So, if you are someone who has trouble with your productivity, here are five effective tips on how to be productive at work:

1. Take breaks

First and foremost, it’s important for you to take regular breaks. Trying to work throughout the whole day will tire your brain, which will then cause you to doze off and think about something else.

If you keep working your brain, it will fill up and get jumbled with information—sort of like a computer hard drive. Taking a break would be like resetting your computer so that it can start afresh, or de-fragmenting the data so that all the information is in order.

This is a great thing because it allows you to solve problems you were unable to solve previously, by seeing it differently; if you are able to organize your thoughts properly, you will be able to take in new information more easily.

There have even been studies about methods of saving time and staying proficient, and taking breaks is one of the leading factors.

According to Christine Hohlbaum, the author of The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World, eating lunch away from your work area every day will greatly increase your productivity. Eating in your work area will give you the illusion that you are working, but whether you like it or not, your brain will begin to wander and think of something else and then you will be working tirelessly with no progress.

It’s important to take breaks before and during work too: if you come to work in a rush because you woke up late, your mind will not be mentally prepared for the day ahead, and you will spend the first 10 to 15 minutes trying to get organized and composed before you can actually start working.

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Instead, you should try to wake up 20 minutes earlier than the time it would take you to “just get” to work. Take that time to stare off into space and not worry about anything.

If you do this, your brain will be empty and ready for all the challenges it has coming for the next few hours.

If your employer only allows a set amount of breaks during the workday, that doesn’t mean you can’t just get up and walk around for a quick break every now and then.

Even if it’s only 5 minutes, it will refresh your brain and you will gain renewed energy to do your job.

Learn more about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

2. Pace yourself and balance your workload

One problem that most people run into is that they underestimate the amount of work they have to do, and end up doing 50% of the work in the last 20% of the time they have to do it. This is due to an issue of balancing one’s workload.

When you receive a project, or are doing a job you normally do, take some time to really plan out your work schedule.

Consider how much time it took you to do this last time; determine how you can break the project into smaller parts and which can only be accomplished on certain days, and whether anything might come up that could interfere with your plan.

All of these questions are important for starting on a project, and when answered, they will help you stay productive throughout each day.

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For example, if you needed to design a project to map out the amount of aid offered in various regions after Hurricane Sandy, you can break it up as follows:

You will need to know what organizations are offering help to begin with, how much aid those organizations gave or plan to give, which regions were hit by Sandy, and which regions suffered the greatest losses.

You start this project on a Thursday and know you have until Tuesday to gather this information.

In order to stay productive, you need to plan out your work week—now you know you can find out which organizations are involved in helping the Hurricane Sandy Victims any day since that information is online, but gathering information on the organizations may require you to call them.

Since phone calls can only be done during week days, you have to plan on gathering all of that information before the weekend comes.

That is just one example of a situation in which pre-planning your project will help you stay productive; had you researched the affected regions first, you would not have received the info on the organizations until the weekend, and may have missed your chance to call them.

That, in turn, would have wasted time you could have spent working on this project to finish it.

Knowing what you need to do, when you can do it, and how long it will take you, is important in balancing your workload and being more productive and efficient.

3. Put your work first

This is an issue that usually occurs with young people who are new to the workforce: they’re often tempted with offers to go out at midday, and then come back lost in thought and unfocused on their work-related tasks.

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While it is important to take breaks, your breaks should consist of you clearing your mind, not loading it up with other less important information—like sports.

However, that is not the only situation where you need to worry about putting your work first before all else.

In a work environment, the senior employees will oftentimes push some of their menial tasks onto the newer employees. If you fall into that category, you need to know that their work is not your work, so if you have tasks that need to be done, you need to do it first.

If you are a new employee, you must learn to say no to other people even when it means you may not be in their good graces anymore. You can help others out once your work is done, but you are paid to do your own work, not anyone else’s.

4. Don’t open your browser unless you need them

In this day and age, everyone is constantly monitoring their social network. This is a major pain point for companies, which is why many don’t allow employees to access their social networks on company workstations.

When you are at work, disconnect the internet from your phone and keep your browsers closed so you’re not tempted to log onto your social media accounts or browse any sites that are not work-related.

If you keep your browsers closed and phone tucked away, only to be used in an emergency, you will find yourself being a more productive employee right away. 

5. Try to be happy and optimistic

If you always have a negative outlook on life, you will be more distracted and less motivated to get work done, so it’s important for you to start your day off right.

This can be done by having a good breakfast or by taking time in the morning to watch one of your favorite TV shows before work.

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If you are happy, you will find yourself able to work much more productively as your mind won’t wander into worrying about something else.

Also, if you stay optimistic and keep telling yourself that you can do whatever you set your mind to, the tasks will seem much less daunting and will go by much more quickly.

Take a look at more effective ways to stay positive at work:

15 Ways To Stay Positive At Work

Happiness and optimism are the keys to being a productive and happy employee.

All in all, heed the five tips above and you will find yourself being one of the most productive people at your company.

While you do not need to master them all, each and every one of them will help you become a better and more efficient employee.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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