What to do when your career isn’t going to plan



Sometimes, no matter how much preparation and organisation you do, your career doesn’t move forward the way you want it to. It could be for a variety of reasons – maybe you’re working in a declining industry, or there are no growth opportunities in your field. But you can change that.

Here are four examples of situations where things may not be going as you’d planned, and how you can address them.

  1. Working in a declining industry. Thanks to technological advancements, opportunities have opened up like never before. But this has also meant some jobs and industries have fallen by the wayside. So what do you do if you find your role one of the casualties? Utilise your transferable skills. For example, if you’re a newspaper journalist who discovers falling advertising revenue is affecting your promotion prospects, you could use your transferable skills in persuasive writing to move into marketing or advertising.
  2. Feeling unfulfilled by your work. Whether you followed your parents into the family business or were simply offered a role right out of university, sometimes it’s easy to fall into an available job. Unfortunately this can result in you realising, years later, that you’re unfulfilled by your work. This could be because you never felt like you got a chance to fully explore your options or felt an obligation to pursue a certain career path. If you find yourself in this position, take some time to identify your passion and find a way to pursue it. This might require a complete career change, or simply working with your manager to alter your current job description to include duties that make you happy. Either way, look into deciding on a career path you feel passionate about.
  3. No growth opportunities in your current organisation. Sometimes businesses shrink, whether due to industry changes, outsourcing or restructuring. If your workplace is downsizing and you feel like your role is stagnating, you should open yourself up to other opportunities. Connect with people at similar companies online and at events, to start building your network. This way you can hear about other positions when they open up, either at your contacts’ companies or others. Being open and building relationships with your peers can reap rewards, if you’re willing to take that leap.
  4. Your colleagues are being promoted ahead of you. Are you finding that those around you are being given new roles and you’re left static in the same role? It can often feel like favouritism or bias, but more realistically your competition may be demonstrating other crucial skills that you lack. Have you considered seeking feedback on your performance? Perhaps there is something you could develop that would improve your chances for promotion. Are you up-to-date on all the necessary software and technology used in your field? And do you get along well with your colleagues and managers? Any of these things could mean you get overlooked for a promotion, so assess your situation and decide if it’s worthwhile tackling any issues, or if you’d be better seeking a new role elsewhere.

As long as you can identify whether you’re facing one of these situations, you can find a way to address it. The important thing is to have the confidence to change your situation to make it a good one. Now is a good time to give it a go, and go after the career you want.