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Are You Trying to Make the Right Shoes Fit the Wrong Feet?

Are You Trying to Make the Right Shoes Fit the Wrong Feet? | Living in Your Sweet Spot

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Do you want to make a career move that involves starting an entirely different career? Feelings of insignificance and doubt are slowly making you question the last few years of your career. Did you go to college for nothing? Did you pursue that graduate degree in vain? As you take an inventory of your life, it’s as if the walls are closing in on you and you need an escape. Now! Well, don’t jump ship..at least not the career ship.

Many people have regrets as it relates to career choices. Thoughts of choosing one career over another haunts many individuals. There are two things happening here: (1) Either you have chosen the wrong career and you need to do some self-reflection to determine your strengths and passions to determine what career you need to pursue; or, (2) You are in the right career but the wrong organization. In the latter case, you are trying to make the right shoes fit the wrong feet.

Let’s explore this further….

  1. How to Pursue a Career Change

I have been in my career for about 15 years now and there were many times that I wanted to change careers. Every time I tried, I always ended up using those same skills in a different context. I’ve never completely transitioned into another career but I know people who have. I think this has to be one of the bravest things anyone can do especially after getting married and starting a family. My husband’s best friend is in his final years of pharmacy school. I admire the fact that he and his wife count the cost and decided the sacrifice for a few years will bring great rewards when he is a pharmacist.

If you are at your wit’s end with your current career, you may want to consider making a change. It’s a scary proposition because you may be making decent money. Starting something new may require you to take a cut in pay. However, some skills are transferable. You could just as easily make a lateral move without sacrificing salary. I would not recommend you taking a paycut if your family can’t absorb the costs of it.

However, the alternative to sticking with a job you despise, even when the pay is good, can be a soul-sucking proposition. If you must spend eight hours or more working, why not make those hours fulfilling? A career change may be just the way to accomplish this.

You should keep in mind that your career is not necessarily your purpose in life. It may be a part of it, but for many people, there is a need to look a lot deeper. For instance, you may love helping others out and feel that is your purpose. If your current career doesn’t focus on helping people, this can help you determine where to look to make changes. Try to find organizations where you can make a difference.

If you go this route, you will align what you want to do for your career with what you feel is your purpose. That will make your new career choice fulfilling. It can give you a reason to want to get up to go to work, which is fantastic.

Don’t let a cut in pay hold you back. There are plenty of ways to supplement your income that doesn’t require taking on another traditional job. You can freelance part-time to fill in the gaps. The extra income could also help you pay for any training you may need for your new career path.

The beginning stages of a career switch are usually the most challenging. You need to couple learning with climbing the corporate ladder. If you are starting your own business for the first time, there will be much to learn. You’ll continually need to be learning. In either case, expect to put in long hours especially at the beginning.

  1. Right Career. Wrong Company

It is so easy to find yourself doing what you love for the wrong organization. It may make you feel like you need to switch careers but I will challenge you to really examine the entire situation. You may love your work but may be limited to expressing your creativity and input. You may have a boss that doesn’t value your opinion. That could be crushing to you if you would like the autonomy to make big decisions that could greatly impact the organization.

One thing to consider is that you must weigh the costs of this and examine your attitude. First of all, there is no perfect company. You will never get your way all of the time. You have to pick your battles. What is the percentage of times your input is valued and accepted. If you are working on the 80/20 principle, I would say that this is very reasonable.

Sometimes organizations are extremely slow to implement. If you are a go-getter and like brainstorming and executing, then a company that has a reputation of taking six months to a year to see a project to completion may not be for you. Perhaps you can find fulfillment in a start-up or an entrepreneurial environment where money is time and there is no time to waste.

Another sign that you are probably in the right career but wrong company is if you feel like you have become stagnant in your skill and growth. Many people who have been with organizations 5, 10 or 15 years or longer become complacent and are okay with the status quo. They will ride with their job right into retirement with no real need for innovation or skill development. That doesn’t mean you have to take on this behavior; however, if it hinders you from using your skills to advance the mission of the company, you are in the wrong place.

Lastly, if you have a leader who has a different vision for your growth than you do, it is definitely time to move on. No one should ever set the course of your life. That is your responsibility! They can provide input but if it is a direction that you don’t see for your life, you have to use your voice and express your concerns. If they hear you, great! If not, that is a red flag and you need to begin your exit strategy.

When you focus on tying your career and finding your purpose together, the decisions needed to establish your new path becomes much more natural.  Whether it is to make a career change or a company change, is totally up to you. Yes, you could randomly pick a way forward. However, it’s more likely you will succeed when you fit your new career with who you are or who you want to become.

So…are you trying or have you tried to make the right shoes fit the wrong feet? 

Tags : developing skills for careersgrowth in careerhow a career can fulfill purposehow to make a career movehow to pursue a career changehow to switch careersstarting a career searchstarting a job searching
Kesha Holloway

The author Kesha Holloway

Kesha Holloway is the founder of Living in Your Sweet Spot. She is passionate about being a wife and mother and desires to align herself with women equally passionate about their families. She believes the woman is the backbone of the family unit and it's her mission to help lift women to achieve their purpose.

36 Comments

  1. “If you are a go-getter and like brainstorming and executing, then a company that has a reputation of taking six months to a year to see a project to completion may not be for you” – I have felt this one big time. I think that with generation differences those of us in our 30s and 20s are a little more impatient with the speed of things – especially cultural change.

    1. This is very true! So many companies take awhile to get things done because of budgets. If the current year’s budget wasn’t approved in the previous year, it could be quite difficult to get a budget modification for major changes or implementation of a new product.

  2. I have outgrown my current shoes. I have made a career change before and it is time to do so again. I have been in the process of finding new shoes and have set a deadline to make this happen before I go on vacation at the end of August. That’s not a very long time, but I know I can make it happen.

  3. So very true Lakesha and sometimes when we’re stuck in the wrong company it becomes difficult to recognize it so you can actually do something about. Or we think things will change or get better. And then like you said there’s that comfort zone thing.

    1. This is one thing I stay on top of. I love my current job but I don’t want to get comfortable. You just never know. They can decide to outsource your role, consolidate or simply let you go. You can never get comfortable. You must always be learning and looking.

  4. I once had a job of which I worked long hours but I stayed because of the paycheck. I would work both on Saturdays and Sundays. I knew I needed to stop when I overhead a statement saying that brother was once spiritual but now he doesn’t even come to church on Sundays!

    1. Yea, I never put a job in front of my spiritual walk. God knows we need to work and work is good for us. We just need boundaries. Employers can push boundaries but we all have this capability. We have to establish what’s good and healthy for us and our families.

  5. I’m sure it’s difficult to be on one path for so many years and then make a change based on a feeling!! I bet it’s scary and uncertain but I can imagine one would be a lot happier following their gut feeling and happiness goals! I wasn’t in the work force for long before I had my son, when I switched to staying home to be his mama. It was a perfect fit for me!

    1. So good! It has to be the best thing for you and your family. Otherwise, you will be miserable and making everyone else miserable. LOL!

  6. I am self employed and although it may not be easy, I cherish my independence every single day. It’s not for everyone though

  7. Really good thoughts here. I know I’ve been doing my job for years mostly because of the perks (working from home, flexibility, good pay), but it’s certainly not my passion. To fill that I’ve been blogging on the side – and having so much fun doing it!

  8. Ugh. I’ve changed jobs too many times and I’m at it again. This article was great! Very motivating! Thank you!!!

  9. I definitely felt burned out in my last position as a Nurse Practitioner. When we relocated for my husband’s job, I had to really evaluate: do I start from scratch, or is there something else within my field that is less stressful. I found a more administrative position that uses my degree and training, just at a significant reduction in stress. The pay decreased some too, but it has been so worth it to me.

  10. I’m on a project that is absolute chaos right now. I love my career and the thought of switching to a new organization saddens me. The challenge I faced up to 2 months ago was that I was letting the project I’m on impact too many other aspects of my life. I was burned out, stressed out and unhappy. So what did I do to change that state from present tense to past tense? I started a blog! I’m able to focus on the things in my life that are really important and let the chaotic state of the project be chaotic without pulling my hair out. If the right opportunity comes along, I am willing to switch organizations, but I don’t need to for my mental health. Your article points out how important being in the right place is.

  11. I got one like that, the right career but wrong company, but I just try to be grateful for what I got until I find the right career for me. It was actually so much fun to try different career at different situation, so much to learn!

  12. I’ve felt that way at past jobs. Now I just work for myself! 🙂 Even then, sometimes you can feel the job is not right for you. Great tips for someone struggling in this area.

  13. Great post, I feel like I’m going through this right now! I like how you said your career is just your career, and can still have another purpose in life. I’ve compartmentalized my “job” and have found other outlets that are much more fulfilling for me. It has been working!

  14. Just made a career change and am loving where it is taking me. It’s not easy, certainly requires hard work….but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I finally found the shoes that fit.

  15. Lots of really great things to ponder over. There are so many factors as to why a career isn’t working. Sometimes a career change is necessary, sometimes just a new company. Thanks for giving us all a lot of good things to chew on.

  16. I have had a combination of the right career in the wrong place and the wrong career, but with each I learned to bring me to the right career at the right place.

  17. Great advice in this article! I have changed careers in my life and especially in this day and age, people will probably do so several times in their lives.

  18. Your article is so interesting (as usual) especially for me who am approaching age 40. I have paused my career to be a full time mom. I had my children late and my youngest is 3 now, so I’m ready for some changes in my life and this has been a very helpful reading¨!

  19. These are some great tips. I’ve been lucky enough to find my calling and have a job I love, but I see my kids struggling to figure it out.

  20. Nice post. I’ve been trying to figure out how to get out of a rut I feel I’m in. I have been implementing some ideas, like my blog, so I am optimistic. Thanks for these ideas to consider in your post.

  21. I love your post. My favorite quote was, “You should keep in mind that your career is not necessarily your purpose in life.” This has been hard for me to grapple with as I figure out my new path in life.

  22. Nice analogy. Changing shoes is hard…but so rewarding when you really put your feet into it! Nice article and well written.

  23. I just realise that your advice is applicable to relationship too. Making the right shoes fit the wrong feet… It somehow sort out and pieces some thoughts that I have in my mind. So glad that I’ve read this article.

  24. Great post! It makes me sad to hear of friends unhappy in their current job. I LOVE my job and I want everyone to love what they do. When you do your life is full and wonderful. 🙂

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