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Your work shouldn’t define your happiness, right? True, but when 8, 10, or even 12+ hours per day are spent working—or thinking about work—your mood is often a result of what’s going on in your career. And as work and life blend together more than ever, many working women are realizing being unhappy at work just isn’t worth it anymore.
Understanding you need a change is one thing, but going through the actual process is a whole different ballgame. Figuring out how to fit a career change into your already busy life feels daunting. The biggest piece of advice we can offer when you’re ready to leave your job is to create a plan. Then, break the plan down into easy, 10-minute tasks. This eliminates feeling overwhelmed and not making progress.
But many women can’t even get to the planning part of a career change. They feel stuck, lost, and trapped—and have zero confidence—because they have no idea what they want to do next. When they look at a list of career ideas none of them feel like a perfect fit.
Why women don’t feel fulfilled at work
It’s time to take a step back. Let’s consider two of the most common scenarios for most working women.
- They move jobs every few years
- They’ve been with the same company almost their entire career
I was #1. It wasn’t that I hated my jobs, but I never felt totally fulfilled. So, I kept searching for more by taking on new roles at different companies every few years. That satisfaction I was craving never came, and now I understand why.
My career moves were surface-level decisions. It was a long time before I sat down and allowed myself to dig deep and figure out what I actually wanted to be doing—and why. I’ve discovered that most women do the same thing. The cycle continues. Now, it’s time to break it.
Here’s how working women can find career ideas that will make their job feel fulfilling
After a lot of self-discovery and reflection work, I’ve found journaling to be one of the best ways to dissect your innermost thoughts and feelings. It sounds a little scary, I know. But when it comes to a career change, journaling can be fun and energizing.
First, consider it self-care. That’s a hot topic these days, isn’t it? Do yourself a favor and grab a new notebook and spend 10 minutes a few days a week writing. Go to one of your favorite spots and get rid of any distractions, if possible. There are many ways to journal but I’ve found these two work best for career changes.
A lot of people struggle with journaling because they sit down to write and their mind goes blank. While there are no “rules” for writing in a journal, it can still be an intimidating activity. That’s where journal prompts come in. These questions or statements allow you to have a starting point when writing. Here are a few to get you started.
When you think about your life 3 years from now, what does it look like?
When you find yourself saying, “I wish that I could…” how do you finish that statement?
When you think about work right now, what’s your absolute favorite thing about it?
For women who have a few career ideas in their heads but aren’t sure which direction to go, brain dumps may do the trick. You know when you have thoughts swirling every which way and don’t know what to make of them? That’s when you know you need to get those thoughts out. But how?
The best way is to grab a piece of paper and just start writing. Don’t worry about formatting, spelling, grammar, etc. Simply write what comes to mind. Nothing needs to make sense. And it’s not so much about what you write, but removing it from your head so there’s room for deeper thinking. When you allow yourself to stop overthinking by “dumping” those thoughts, magic happens. Career ideas will start to flood your way and make sense. You’ll finally begin to understand which direction is the right one for you.
Try to be consistent with your journaling. It will take a few times to feel comfortable and even see the results you’re craving. But soon enough you’ll realize what you’ve been missing all along and see that your dream job is just around the corner.
And if you’re someone who doesn’t journal because you’re afraid someone will discover your innermost thoughts, I have the perfect solution for you. Either tear the paper out and toss it in the trash or grab one of these awesome notebooks and erase whatever you want whenever you want, in an instant.
The beauty of journaling is it gets you moving in the right direction. Soon enough you’ll know what you want to do in your next chapter of work and be able to create a plan to get there. Your happiness will come to life, once again, making your days a lot brighter.