Career Change Advice for Those Who Cannot Move


The career change advice you will find when searching usually starts with a set of questions. Something like:

  • Why do you want to change?
  • What are your values?
  • In what domain(s) are your skills?
  • What do you want to do?
  • etc.

These are all valid but a little transactional. And being transactional they lead you to think that you can reach your new career by following a set of steps. Like climbing a ladder.

That’s absurd.

Life doesn’t happen like that. It is full of twists and turns. People make decisions that affect us, that throw us off our predefined path. Others don’t make a decision in time for us to act and so we miss what we see as an opportunity.

So let’s pause a moment.

Sit back.

Look at the sky, see what the clouds are doing.

There are only two choices available to you. Stay where you are, or move.

Career Change Advice When Career Change is not an option

This page – and most of this site – addresses the former.

The advice you will read here concerns you if you cannot change your career but want to. Not desperately unhappy but certainly not content. Feeling a bit stuck.

Let’s call it career change advice when career change is not an option.

And, if you’re honest, there is an element of this floating around in the background.

So what can you do if you want to change your career but cannot?

This begs a different set of questions. Questions such as:

  • How do you take the characteristics of what you want to do and bring them into your current role?
  • What are the characteristics of your ideal role?
  • Can you see how they might apply to your current one?

You see how the landscape has changed?

We’re no longer talking about transactional steps, now we are looking at themes.

And themes apply to anything.

An example.

Artistic Advice

Suppose you are artistic in nature. You like painting or sculpting or, say, writing.

Now, a transactional career change discussion would look at what sort of artist you want to be. Then whether it is financially feasible, whether you want that as a career or just more time to pursue it as a hobby, etc.

A thematic discussion would be more like:

  • What would your current job look like if you approached it artistically?
  • How would your approach be different from what it is now?
  • How weird would people think you were?
  • If necessary, how would you mitigate that?

You see, being artistic and being an artist are quite different. You can be artistic in anything:

  • the way you dress (no need to be flamboyant),
  • how you speak (the turns of phrase you use),
  • the way you interact with people (nuances and give and take, or not).

The problem is that we conflate the two. Our thinking is linear. So if we are at all artistic, we must be an artist career-wise. Not true.

Same goes for a scientific bent.

Scientific Advice

If your pursuit of the truth in a situation is paramount, you could become a scientist. That would be the typical career change advice you’d receive.

Or you could be more scientific in your approach to your current job. Bring a little more discipline into your thinking, and the thinking of others.

Can you see how that might work for you?

How by introducing a new theme into your work you could make it more interesting?

And by making it more interesting – to you – you might find the fulfillment you seek in your current role. Rather than looking elsewhere?

It’s a tough call, to stay in a job you don’t particularly enjoy but cannot leave.

The trick is to make it palatable.

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