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Why You Should Celebrate Feeling Confused in Your Career

By the Ignite Career Center of JCS

Confusion can feel uncomfortable and even scary. But, if you are at a point in your career where you are feeling confused, that might actually be a good thing! What it means is that you are ready for something new, something different, and that you are on the cusp of change, growth, and evolution.  

Feeling confused can mean you are being an active participant in your life. Confusion sometimes happens when you try to reconcile new pieces of information or realizations with your existing knowledge and/or biases. Tension between these pieces can create uncertainty, fear, and doubt; however, as NPR noted several years ago, this tension, if managed productively, can lead to learning, revelation, and excitement. 

Here are some questions to ask yourself during this stage of career confusion. 

  • Am I happy at my job right now? 
  • Does the office culture still suit me? 
  • Do my values align with the company’s mission and actions? 
  • Do I want to grow in my current career? 
  • If I switch careers, what would I want to pursue? 
  • Is my degree helping me find the work I want? 
  • Is salary or passion my driving force in choosing a job? 
  • Am I concerned that my family or peers will judge my career choices? 
  • Are my career goals realistic?  
  • Do I need help in navigating my career path? 

Consider each of these questions. Get curious, and without judgement, observe where your thoughts take you. Pay attention to your honest, gut reaction as you answer each question.  For instance, when you ask yourself whether you want to grow in your current career and are ready to assume more responsibility, is the answer immediately ‘yes,’ or are you only considering it because you feel like you should? 

Allow yourself to play with new ideas when it comes to your career. Give yourself permission to experiment with possibilities in your mind or to talk through those possibilities with people you trust. It does not mean you have to act on anything immediately and it certainly does not mean you are planning to quit your current job right now. You are simply entertaining the possibility of a different reality and considering how it might feel. After you do that, you can decide if you want to do anything about it and plan what steps to take.  

By asking yourself the right questions and being honest with yourself about the answers, the possible outcomes are limitless. You might discover you:  

  • Really love your job and company 
  • Are ready to ask for a promotion 
  • Want to pursue a passion project outside of your job 
  • Would like to obtain a certification that will help you do your job better 
  • Need to find a side gig to expedite your financial goals 
  • Think it is best to stay put for now while making a realistic plan to switch career paths later 

Too often we focus on results rather than the process. Whatever path ends up being right for you, the journey will be meaningful, even if it feels a little confusing at first.

 

Whether you are new to the job market or a seasoned professional, the Ignite Career Center, a program of Jewish Community Services, can help you go further and get there faster. Our highly experienced Career Coaches provide individuals of all backgrounds and abilities with the customized services and tools they need to stand out from the competition. To learn more, visit ignitecareercenter.com or call 410-466-9200.

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