What to do when you feel you need to change your career

We all end up in frustrating situations at times, were we feel we just want to get out.

Have you ever been in a situation, where you feel so frustrated in your job that all you want is out? You feel like you have reached the end? It is not the end of the world! We all reach this point at times. Some of us reach it several times in our lives.

Take this as an opportunity! This is the chance to reassess where you are, where you want to go and what your next big goal is. Let me lay out a few steps I have successfully followed in this before:

1. Take a step back

Often when we are in this situation we are frustrated, feel worthless, ineffective or unsuccessful. This is a situation where you need a break! If you have leave, take at least a week off, more if you can. You need to relax and refresh your mind. Only then can you take a true step back and assess the situation carefully without the emotions.

Nature is the best healer

The first 2 days you simply relax. Don’t rush around doing chores or sorting out things. You need to relax. Nature is actually the best place to do this. Go for a hike, go for a walk in a forest, go on a short safari or road trip. Something totally different. During this time, purposely do NOT think about the situation. Just relax. Breath and treat yourself. Do some Yoga or practice mindfulness.

2. Analyze

When you have relaxed your brain, now you can sit down and analyze the situation carefully. You have created the relevant distance to be neutral and objective.

Think things through carefully, formulate goals, do a SWOT and fully analyze where you are and where you want to be.

I usually start with with a good analysis of the current situation:

  • What is making me frustrated in the situation?
  • How did I get there?
  • Why is it hurting me so? (There is always a reason when something affects you and that reason is inside you)
  • What could I have done differently?
  • What is my lesson learned?
  • Sometimes I do a SWOT of the different scenarios

I am sure you have noted these are all questions about myself. In a situation like this you need to focus on yourself. If you focus on the other person, you will only get angry and hurt and feel harmed. You end up with blame-game. However, if you focus on yourself you can analyze, define and get a lessons out of it. A threat becomes and opportunity.

Once I have analyzed the situation objectively I can now decide whether this is a time to learn, and persevere to come out stronger on the other side, or if it is a situation that is hurting me too much, not helping me and I need to get out.

3. Make a Decision & Plan

Once you have decided whether this is a situation that you need to persevere or move on, you need to make a plan. You can not just drop the pen and start acting.

Plan your next move carefully

Now you need to plan carefully to maneuver yourself out of the situation.

  • If you are staying you need to plan how to improve the situation –
    • do you need to get help?
    • Do you need a mentor or a Senior Managers help?
    • Do you need to move to a different position?
    • Will HR help you – don’t just dismiss them, they are actually there to help you and will often do more than you think
  • If you are planning to leave you also need to plan the next steps carefully
    • What kind of job will you look for?
    • How will you find it? Where?
    • What is your next career move?
    • How long can you still stay in the company without hurting your mental health too much? Sometimes you may need to move faster than you want to.
    • Decide what is more important: A good salary or a good work environment – but remember you are hurt at this time, so you will need to recover and you are not at your best
    • Do you need counselling?
    • Do you need time off before you look for a job? If so, how will you finance this?

I actually took 2 months off at the beginning of one year to recover from a very traumatic toxic work environment. This got me back into the right mental space and I was able to concentrate on my next venture.


Do not let money alone be the deciding factor! This is about your mental health and your professional growth. Yes, you do need a salary, but it is not worth sacrificing your mental health and your career for that well paying, but destructive job.

4. Get Help

When you realize you are stuck in certain destructive thought patterns, your thoughts are always resolving about the same issue without a way out, then you need outside help. This can happen to any of us, so do not feel like you are less successful, less strong, less worth or less resourceful. You can try any of the following:

  • Talk to a Coach to help you find your own solutions
  • Talk to a Mentor to learn from their experience
  • Use the help of a Counsellor to help you work through things
  • Talk to HR who can guide you on what to do
  • Get psychotherapy when you are in a hole you can’t get out of by yourself

Which solution of the above you need, depends on your situation as well as your personality and how deep you are stuck. For a good guidance you may need the help of a professional and that will most likely cost you money. Don’t think of it as a waste, this is an investment in your future. You are getting yourself unstuck and setting yourself up for future success.

5. Move on

Once you have made your decision it is time to move on.

Once you made your decision and got the help & input you needed, it is time to move on. Follow your decision and your laid out plan, don’t allow yourself to keep going back to the decision making. There is a big temptation and there will be doubts, but unless you have followed your laid out plan and tried it, you will never know if you are moving in the right decision. So focus on the way forward and take it 1 step at a time.

6. Mistakes to avoid

Here are a few mistakes many make, I have made some of them. Please avoid them and don’t fall in the trap, it will be detrimental.

  • Asking advice from friends only
  • Thinking you have to do it on your own
  • Feeling like you have failed
  • Thinking what happened is only the other person’s fault
  • Making rash decisions
  • Leaving before you have thought it through and analyzed the situation
  • Going back to the same employer you left
  • Staying on because the salary is good, even though you know the situation is toxic for you
  • Leaving without knowing how you will survive, or having a new job

These are all common mistakes, but they can totally derail your career and throw you back years. It is important to remain level headed and make wise decisions. Then once the decision is made stick to it. Even if you find after a bit that it may not have been perfectly right, please do not go back to where you came from.


All of us face situations at time that are difficult or toxic for us. That does not make you less worth or less successful. It is a time to regroup, analyze and find out what is going on and how do I move forward. It is actually an opportunity if you take it as one. Amazing things can come out of it.

Let’s keep analyzing our life and moving forward.

2 Replies to “What to do when you feel you need to change your career”

  1. This is such a great article. I am currently coaching a young woman and have shared your blog post with her. I especially like that in the section on Analyze – the questions are all about myself. We often focus so much on how the other person is at fault, we forget to take responsibility for our own actions, and our responses to other actions.
    Again, great article. I am sure I will share it with many others.

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