You wake up, groan, and immediately begin to brew coffee. You get to work, drink more coffee, and stare blearily at your computer. Each minute of the day ticks by slowly, until finally it’s time to go home. You sigh as you leave, feeling that same old, familiar feeling: dissatisfaction.
And no, it is not just a case of the Monday blues: the reality is, you hate your job. And you’re not alone. Last year, a national survey revealed that only 45% of Americans are satisfied with their jobs. Okay, you think to yourself, so I’m not alone, but we’re in a terrible economy, and it’s too late to start something new. What other choices do I have?
The truth is, it’s never too late—or too early—to consider a career change. Many women stick with their jobs, even if they are unhappy, for fear of change, finances, or shaking up their families. But Claudia Baier, a career expert and lifestyle coach who counts many Latinas among her clients, says that with the right attitude, tools, and plan, anyone can find the right place for them, no matter their age. Here, she shares five steps to leaving your job behind and finding the right one for you.
Step 1: Assess your current situation.
Before making the decision to change careers, Baier recommends asking yourself the following questions: Do I really want to change occupations, or am I just bored? Is it that I need to take action within my current job, or do I actually need to go somewhere else? Is it more money that I want, or is this really not the right fit for me? Once you’ve answered these questions, you can move on to the next step.
Step 2: Get clear on where it is you want to go.
Define the ideal career for yourself. What is it that you love doing and are most passionate about? Maybe it’s animals, or writing, or helping people in need. But whatever it is, there’s a way to turn your passion into a job. The key is being honest with yourself. This can be hard, especially if you are the type who routinely puts your family before yourself. But you have to live for yourself, Baier says, and that means being honest and figuring out what you want out of your life career.
Step 3: Now that you know where you are going, make a plan to get there.
Baier says to get organized, her favorite tool is an Excel spreadsheet. Your first column should list your ultimate goal. The second column should be your deadline: do you want to find another job in a few months? A year, or more? The third column should be your subgoals, which are the things you need to achieve in order to get the new job. It might be taking business classes, or learning a new language, or gaining more experience; whatever the goals are, they should help you become your dream job’s ideal candidate. You can also create columns with contact information, links to job postings, and any other information for your search so you have your entire plan in one central place.
Step 4: Take action.
Now that you have a plan in place, it’s time to get working. Even if you are balancing your current job and a family life, the Internet can make your job hunt a lot more convenient. Baier recommends using networking sites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to your advantage, by reaching out to recruiters and potential employers. You can also hop online to research job fairs, networking events, and classes in your area.
Step 5: Celebrate!
The hard work, dedication, and passion it takes to switch careers will eventually pay off, and no matter how long it takes, you will find the job that makes you happy. But Baier says she sees many of her clients get the job they’ve been hoping for, and as soon as they achieve it, they’re already looking toward the next goal, instead of celebrating. So take a breath to appreciate the moment: have a little fiesta with family and friends, or just take some time for you and pat yourself on the back for sticking with your dream—and making it come true.
For more information on Claudia Baier and more in-depth career planning strategies, visit her website: Latin Career Secrets.