We all make bad decisions in life, but what do you do when the bad decision you made cost you 10 years of your life? It’s hardly something you can recover from in just a weekend, but here are a few ways to lessen the blow and come to grips with your bad career choice.
Understand that it wasn’t a waste of time
The first thing to tell yourself is that, despite how it feels, that previous career choice was not a waste of time and here’s why.
- You developed more skills – No matter what career you previously worked in, you’ve gained new skills that are going to help you find a job. Perhaps your previous position has no relation to what you want to do now, but either way, those skills you’ve learned will have some bearing on your ability to find and work in your next career. Those skills could be as general as your ability to network with others, or it could be more specific such as the computer knowledge you picked up.
- You gained experienced – Experience is always a positive thing to put on your resume even if it has nothing to do with your next career choice. The more things you can put on your resume, the higher your chances of finding a job in the future.
- You networked with people – Growing your list of contacts is always a good thing. You’ve found more people to help you as references and you’ve made new friends along the way. Just because you’re saying goodbye to them because of your career choice it doesn’t mean that you should associate negative things with those people.
- You grew as a person – Along the way, you probably discovered a lot about yourself. Perhaps you reacted differently than you would’ve expected to the firing of a friend, or maybe you realised that you’re better at leadership than you previously thought. We tend to discover a lot about ourselves over the course of a job, but we don’t realise those changes until someone tells us or we reflect on the time we spent.
- You realised it wasn’t for you – Perhaps your previous job was the result of a passion that you used to have. Maybe you joined with that company because, at the time, you thought it was for you. Sadly, if things went wrong then there’s not much you can do—it just wasn’t for you. Now that you’ve realised that, you can move on and discover new interests, hobbies and career choices that are waiting for you.
- You’ve found what’s important to you – Leaving your career usually helps you discover what’s really important in your life. Perhaps it was the money that initially attracted you, but you’ve since realised that money isn’t what makes you happy. Whatever the case may be, leaving your bad career choice will help you discover what’s really important in your life.
- You’ve opened a new door – They say that when one door closes, many more open. You’re now in the position where you have doors to pick from, so you have many new career choices to look forward to.
After you’ve had some time to cope with leaving your old career, it’s time to rediscover yourself. This usually involves looking for inspiration to find a new career that connects with you. A great way to do this is to look online for inspiration and to research the many career choices that are available to you.
You can also reflect on your old job to find out what exactly made it difficult. Maybe it was the hours that you disliked, or perhaps you realized that you hate working for others. This could lead you to start your own company or even working from home as a freelancer. Maybe you found it difficult to work with people in your previous career so you’ve decided that you’d much prefer working with computers or away from interaction. Make sure you spend a day or two writing down or reflecting on what you could change from your previous career so you can build some criteria on what type of career you want to have in the future.
Don’t be afraid to ask or look for help for your new career choice. There are plenty of resources on the internet, and the people you networked within the past could be a great help. For instance, if you've decided that you want to have a career helping others, then you could look at articles such as “How Do I Become an International Nurse?”. Becoming a nurse is a great way to assist people and doing it internationally opens up more opportunities. If you want to become an artist, then you can look for ways to work freelance so you can draw the art you love, or you could work with a company as a concept artist or web designer. There are a countless number of opportunities waiting for you as long as you’re willing to seek advice or guidance. Refusing help or failing to seek advice from those more knowledgeable than you are common reasons for being held back, so don’t let your pride get in the way of you achieving success.
Learning New Skills
If you believe that your new dream career will be difficult to obtain, then there’s nothing wrong with learning new skills. Whether it’s studying online or attending a university course, there are plenty of ways to pick up new skills that could greatly assist in finding a new job. This might require some monetary investment, but it’s worth it, in the end, to help you achieve your dream job. There are also many free resources to learn new skills, and dabbling in these can be a great way to find inspiration for your next career. Use the time you have between jobs to learn new skills, and you’ll open up, even more, opportunities in the future.