Dear Dr. Lisa
I am not happy with my work and I have no idea of what I want to do. My manager is supportive and knows this is not the right job for me. We have had several conversations about what would be a good fit, but I just don’t know. How can I figure this out?
I Just Don’t Know
Dear I Just Don’t Know:
Please know you are not alone. So many folks have the same dilemma. Let’s start by acknowledging that you have a great manager. She can see you and wants to help you. Too often I am responding to folks who have bad managers. It is great you have that support.
If you find yourself in a place where you have no idea what’s next, it is a good indication that you do not have enough information yet. The only way to get more information is to go out and seek it. Speak with everyone you can about their work and listen for things that interest you. The more people you talk to the more information you’ll gather about different types of opportunities that might be a good fit for you. Keep track of what you like, what you don’t like and why. This will help you make sense of the information you are gathering.
Once you have gathered a fair amount of data, you must choose something. Don’t wait for the planets to align and for everything to be perfect. Make a choice. Making a choice creates forward momentum. It helps you see what you otherwise couldn’t. Your likes and dislikes will become more defined. You will move from not knowing to creating a plan to get the job that’s right for you. More importantly, once you’ve made a choice, others, such as your manager, will be able to help because you can tell them what you’re looking for.
In addition to speaking with others, I also recommend taking an interest test. Interest tests can be found online. Your employer may offer an interest test as well through the Employee Assistance Program. I have found interest tests helpful in identifying careers that match one’s interests.
Let’s get after it, I Don’t Know. Time’s a wastin’!
P.S. Your theme song is, “How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston.