What next?

Danielle Rubensteinby Danielle Rubenstein
Senior Associate Director of Alumni Career Services
Goizueta Business School
February 2012

We’ve all been there. That stage in your career when you aren’t sure what to do next.  It’s not that you hate your job (or maybe you do).  You just no longer feel challenged, don’t see upward mobility and feel underutilized and undervalued.  But, you have no idea what to do next.

It’s a difficult situation to be in.  So how can you change it?

The first step is to do an honest evaluation of why you are not happy.  Ask yourself questions (such as the ones listed below) and examine what might have recently changed in your environment – or in you. Write down your answers.

Once you have more insight into what is causing your restlessness, the next step is to use that information to determine what could make you feel more fulfilled.  For example, if the leadership recently changed in your company and you don’t like the direction it’s heading, you will most likely need to look outside your current organization.  But, if you don’t see upward mobility within your team but like the overall work environment, look around the entire company to see if there are other areas that could use your skill set.  Don’t automatically assume that you need to leave your company to regain satisfaction.

If you determine you do need to leave for a variety of reasons, again, look back at your answers to the questions posed.  Flip them around to get the answers for what will make you happier.  If there are tasks you no longer enjoy, ask yourself what responsibilities you have that DO still bring you satisfaction.  Do you have friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. who really seem happy with their jobs?  Speak with them and find out what they do…or what they are doing differently in their lives to find that joy.

This is not an easy process.  The questions posed do not provoke simple answers.  But, if you are feeling stuck and truly unhappy with your situation, this is one way to start moving forward.  And you don’t have to do it alone.  Career coaches are a great resource to assist you.  Tap into resources available through your school or the Alumni Association.  Ask friends and family if they have a referral. If they don’t, visit the National Career Development Association website (www.ncda.org) to find a qualified career counselor.

The answers to “what next” are waiting to be uncovered…all it takes is one step forward to begin your new journey.

Danielle Rubenstein, a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC), is the Senior Associate Director of Alumni Career Services at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. In this role, she provides guidance to Goizueta alumni on career direction, job search strategy, resume writing, interviewing and networking. Goizueta alumni may email Contact_ACS@bus.emory.edu for further career services assistance.