If necessity is the mother of invention, misery might be the mother of reinvention. When you're not happy at work, that unhappiness can cloud not only your 9-5 workday, but also your evenings and weekends.
Financial responsibilities may make it difficult to up and quit your job, but that doesn't mean you have to stay in an unsatisfying career. Follow these six steps below to reinvent yourself:
1. Accept That You'll Need to Take a Step Backwards
It's not easy to walk away from a healthy paycheck or the solid professional reputation you spent years cultivating. To see if taking a temporary hit is worth it, complete a cost-benefit analysis of staying where you are vs. making a change. Don't be shortsighted. Consider the long-term gains.
2. Look Into Programs That Can Help You Find Training and Employment
Training programs such as General Assembly or Lynda.com offer extensive training and certification in a variety of disciplines, including in-demand skill sets like coding, online marketing, and user experience design. Many of these training programs also offer career placement assistance.
3. Make a Plan and Commit to It
The lure of change can cloud your judgement. If you're not sure where you want to go, you may not be ready to make a change. Do some soul-searching to determine if you're capable of committing to the hard work of making a change. If the answer is "yes," make a plan of attack, and stick to it to ensure your desired changes become reality.
4. Surround Yourself With Support
The people in your life may not share a unanimous consensus on your desire to make a professional change. For every person who tells you to go after what you really want, four others will share all the reasons you shouldn't make a change.
Keep in mind that everyone likely means well. Your friends and family members who are discouraging you may have many valid points. However, if you've decided that you're willing to go through a period of struggle to come out happier on the other side, stay strong. You will get through it. Keep a list of how the long-term benefits will outweigh the short-term struggle so you can reference it when need be. Surround yourself with people who energize and support you. You will need all the energy you have to focus on creating a professional life you love.
5. Find a Mentor
The best support often comes from people who have been in your shoes. Use your networking skills to connect with people who have traveled similar paths of reinvention. Ask for their advice.
If you're lucky, you'll find someone who really gets you and is ready to be a mentor. Having an impartial party to act as your sounding board goes a long way. A mentor will improve your mood and help you stay focused, even during times of doubt.
6. Become What You Want to Be
We label ourselves, and those labels shape what we see as possible. In reality, we're more than any single label or job title.
If you're an accountant longing to be a writer, start writing; call yourself "a writer working as an accountant." Make the mental shift to start owning who you are and who you want to be. You'll find it freeing to identify as what you want to be instead of what you just so happen to be.
A version of this article originally appeared on the Atrium Staffing blog.
Michele Mavi is Atrium Staffing's resident career expert.