9 Things You Can Do When You’re Feeling Totally Lost In Your Career
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9 Things You Can Do When You’re Feeling Totally Lost In Your Career

Gone are the days when employees stayed with a single company for decades. Today’s careers include a rollercoaster of twists and turns that often includes job hopping along with an occasional side hustle or freelance work. But, with all the options available, figuring out the next steps in your career can be overwhelming and confusing as hell.

So, where do you start? What do you do when you’re feeling totally lost in your career? Here’s a handy checklist for where to begin.

Here’s how to find a career path that works for you

Take a fun quiz to see if you’re on track

Let’s start with something simple. Remember how in high school you had to take a “career test” to see what professional fields were the best fit for you? Okay, even if you didn’t take a quiz then, you can still take one today. To find a career path that works for you now, spend 15 minutes taking an online assessment on your skills and other potential careers. Try this career quiz from the Princeton Review here, or one from the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation here.

Set up coffee dates with past coworkers to learn what’s new

When you’re stuck in your day-to-day routines it’s easy to tell yourself you’re too busy to catch up with old friends and colleagues. But take some time to schedule a coffee or lunch date with a few of your accomplished old coworkers, friends, or college buddies. Not only is it fun to reconnect it can be an easy way to start thinking of your career path from a new angle.

Use the opportunity to talk about your career and what projects you’ve been most excited to work on. You’ll immediately notice what topics get you most excited about—and that’s a starting point for sorting what it is you’re most passionate about. In turn, you’ll also get the opportunity to hear how they’re doing and get a glimpse into a real look at other potential positions.

Host a dinner party with people from different fields

If arranging one-on-ones with various high-achieving friends and former co-workers seems too time-consuming, why not host a get-together for everyone? Make it informal to help put people at ease and lead to more relaxed conversations without the pressures of having to “talk shop.” Be prepared with a few questions so you and your guests can learn about other job fields, projects you can take on, and perhaps even get re-inspired by your own work.

Go to a networking event

If, however, you do want to talk shop try looking up local networking events. You can usually find local chapters for national professional organizations with a quick online search. Contact them and ask about any upcoming networking events, and how you can attend or get involved. You can also check out local professional events that are public on sites like Facebook or Meetup. Sign up for a few and start shmoozing for that next job opportunity.

Attend a conference with other ambitious professionals

Sometimes you need an immersive experience to help shake up your professional ambitions. That’s where a big professional conference comes in. And, while we don’t mean to toot our own horn (but it is pretty amazing), the Girlboss Rally is one place where you can meet a ton of other ambitious women looking to network, and lift each other up. Plus, you can learn and ask questions from a slate of successful women who’ve carved out careers doing what they love.

To make the experience even better—the Girlboss Rally NYC is two days this year! Get your ticket here before they sell out.

Watch an inspiring TED Talk to remind you to think big

Let’s be real—you’ve likely made some time to watch some Netflix lately. While we’re all for decompressing and finding time for some much-needed self-care, why not squeeze in a 30-minute TED Talk sesh? There are currently more than 2,900 videos of talks online on hundreds of subjects. We’ve rounded up some of our favorites here to give you a dose of career inspiration.

Cue up a list of the best career-boosting self-help books and podcasts

We won’t lie—the self-help book market is massive and knowing where to start can be overwhelming. To make things easier, we’ve rounded up some of the best self-help books that make it easier to freelance full-time, that help you hit ‘refresh,’ and that simply inspire you to be a better you.

If podcasts are more your thing, we’ve also rounded up lists of the best ones for career advice, personal development, and ones that simply make adulting a little easier.

Spend a weekend doing what you loved most as a kid

Okay—it’s easy to idealize our childhoods. (Nap time? Yes, please!). In all seriousness, though, if you’ve been feeling a little lost in your career, it’s time to go back to basics. Spend some time, one night a week, or a weekend, doing something you completely loved doing as a child. Maybe it was painting animals. Or, maybe you liked building legos. Maybe it was playing sports.

It sounds silly, but each of those activities can hold the key to a passion or even a skillset  you’ve been neglecting. Think about what it is you enjoy about the experience. Was it the ability to create something? Do you enjoy solving problems? Did you enjoy being outdoors? Then, ask yourself: Am I doing this in my current role? If not, look for how you can add that in your career or next job move.