How to Tackle a Career Slump

It seems as though we spend our whole lives working towards a career end goal. We spent fourteen years in the public school system and then we progressed towards the undergraduate level and some, even further. Tens of thousands of dollars are spent committing ourselves to an education that we hope will help us to land our dream job.

However, what if this dream job isn’t all it’s made up to be? What if we aren’t even sure what our dream job is? Or what if we have sidelined our career to focus on other things in life such as motherhood?

Inevitably, many women face a career slump. They are unsure of what they want, they desperately need a change or they simply want to get back into the working world. So how do you tackle this career slump? The Busy Babe is going to show you how!

Overworked and tired young woman in front of computer

Image: Alyssa Carlos, Fitted Magazine

Students

As graduation approaches, many students are faced with a dilemma: what do I want to do next? 

Do I want to look for a job right after graduation or do I want to pursue post-graduate studies? This dilemma can be numbing. However, it can help to take a bigger picture look at your situation.

If your undergraduate allows you to get a job right out of school, there may be no need to pursue post-graduate. However, it can be useful if you want to advance in your field or possibly specialize.

On the other hand, are you simply considering post-graduate because you are unsure of what you want to do? If this is the case, there are many other options to consider. Post-graduate is expensive, it delays your entry into the workforce and it may not necessarily guarantee a better job.

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Image: Staci Zaretsky, Above The Law

Take for example the issue of underemployment, a measure of the percentage of the post-secondary educated individuals who are currently working at jobs that don’t require a degree, working part-time instead of full-time, or who want to work but are not actively in the job search. A study done by the Economic Policy Institute found that 1 in 8 students of the graduating class of 2016 are underemployed. If you are simply pursing post-grad because you are hoping it will help you come to this epiphany of what you want to do with your life, reconsider.

In the meantime, it can be useful to try your hand in the working world, figure out what you like or what you don’t like. You can also use this time of self-exploration to travel. Traveling allows you to expand your horizons and explore not only different parts of the world, but also different parts of yourself.

There is no straight and narrow line to success.

Take a look at this list of what 24 successful people were doing right out of college. Each person took a very different approach yet paved their own way to become successful in their current profession. For example, Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo, became the 20th Google employee while Martha Stewart started out modelling and Tina Fey worked odd jobs to make ends meet.

As a student, the most important thing to remember is that you have your whole life ahead of you. In the past, people typically stayed in one profession for their entire career. Now the trend is changing and it is common to have multiple shifts during your career. Use each opportunity during this time to explore.

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Image: Kaboom Pics, Pexels

Mothers

Your career may have been put on the back burner after giving birth. Although some mothers choose to stay home to care for their children as a full time job (which it no doubt is), others want to get back into the working world. Whether you are just returning from maternity leave or you want to begin working again after several years, there are a variety of options to suit your needs.

Having a child can change your whole perspective on life.

After giving birth, most women have the option of returning from maternity leave. However, some may want to use this time to re-evaluate their chosen career path. If this is the case, now would be the time to do it.

If you are not ready or do not want to return to the typical 9-5 workday, beginning your own side hustle may be another option. This side hustle usually stems from a passion and will allow you to work on your own terms, meaning your own time. It is an excellent option for mothers looking for something else to do while still caring for their children at home.

Dooce is an excellent example of a woman pursuing her side-hustle after giving birth. The blog chronicles the honest and raw life of mom Heather, who goes through everything from job loss, to marriage, to divorce, to children, to the psych ward and everything in between. Dubbed the “Queen of the Mommy Blogs” in the New York Times Magazine, Dooce gives other women and mothers the courage to tackle their dreams straight on and be open about the challenges that they face.

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Image: BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board, BabyCenter

Working Women

This point in your career is inevitable. The day to day of your office job may now seem too boring or the fast-paced travel life may prove too exhausting. For some, this is simply a hurdle that they will eventually conquer, but for others, it may signal a much needed change.

Considering a career change can be extremely daunting. You have worked so hard up until this point to get to where you are. You may question if it is truly worth it to throw it all away or step so far outside of your comfort zone.

Career consultant Jessica Manca advises women to focus on self-discovery when considering a career change.

She proposes that self-discovery, “allows you to better understand yourself by increasing your awareness on a particular topic.” In order to do this, you need to clear your mind and trust your instincts. Some advocate yoga or meditation as a form of self-discovery, but a simple walk to clear your head, journaling your thoughts or indulging in a good book can also work wonders.

At this point in your career, you have already amassed experience and expertise that you may be able to apply to a variety of jobs of your choosing. Sometimes these skills can be transferable, and other times they may not. If this is the case, are you willing to go back to school? Your career change may require a completely new degree or a simple refresher course during the evenings. Either way, this change will require a little bit more time and effort, so ensure you have thoroughly considered Manca’s advice.

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Image: Rachel Parcell, Pink Peonies

At the end of the day, it is important that you are doing what you love. When you love your job, you are more passionate about what you are doing, you are more willing to go above and beyond and you will ultimately achieve success.

This slump may seem terrifying, but trust me busy babe, you have the skills, the brains and the tools to get through this. A much happier, healthier and enjoyable career is on the other side waiting for you.

Header Image: Unsplash, Pexel

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