Career coach Anna Kmetova explains the reasons people get stuck in unfulfilling jobs and what could be the way out.

Over six years of working with hundreds of expats at their professional crossroads, I have encountered many clients who send dozens of job applications and express their frustration at not landing a job. But when asked, it turns out many of them didn’t feel genuinely interested in the positions they applied for. They believe applying for specific jobs that are usually related to their previous career is the only possible, “logical” step because it just feels like something they “ended up having as their career.” Therefore, they “should” stick to it.

Looking at your career from a different angleFor most people, their job is, first of all, a source of income; expats arriving in a new country are no exception. But considering the number of hours we spend at work, doing something we feel like we genuinely chose might bring our overall quality of life to the next level. The challenge for people for whom work has always been “just work” is to think of looking for a job that matches their values, interests, and lifestyle, and brings a sense of fulfilment and financially sustains them, instead of feeling this is a very naive, utopist idea, or a massive project that is impossible to accomplish.

Taking charge of one’s career does not necessarily mean ditching all the corporate jobs and spending our savings on starting a goat farm. It is more about knowing ourselves, our values, knowing what feels rewarding and fulfilling – creating our own vision and definition of success instead of following the ones defined by society and the people around us.

Knowing and using our strengthsOnce we know ourselves, it is much easier to take control of our career – to make a change or stay exactly where we are while knowing exactly why and what’s next. As a result, we don’t feel like a victim of circumstances, trapped for decades in unsatisfactory jobs that feel pointless. It enables us to know our strengths and use them rather than spending all our energy trying to overcome our weaknesses.

If we are clear on what we want, changing our direction feels natural. It’s not effortless, but spending energy on something that matters tends to be much less exhausting than going nowhere.

A little introspectionSo, if you feel stuck in a rut and send job applications just to land “a job,” a little introspection might be something you need – not only to land a job faster but to start taking conscious steps towards a career that sparks your excitement. If you don’t know where to start, these questions might help you to begin the process:

1. What would you do with your career if you couldn’t fail, and if you knew it would give you financial security? What would your definition of “success” be?This question unleashes your imagination and allows you to imagine your ideal job if there were no obstacles.

2. What makes you want to do that specific work?This question clarifies what values are “hidden” behind your idea of an ideal job and what impact you would ideally like to have.

3. What would it take to bring your values and your desired impact to your next career step? This question will make you creative and explore possible “tweaks” in your job hunt and career plan.

Of course, these questions are not always easy to answer on the spot. It might be beneficial to allow for some time to observe yourself and your reactions and perhaps hire a great coach to help you uncover your potential blind spots and limiting beliefs.

Take chargeEveryone has a unique set of values, and everyone longs for a sense of purpose. I promise you that you can have a job that you find meaningful and rewarding and that that job might not be too far from where you are looking right now. All it takes is to know yourself, sharpen your focus, and take charge.

Are you ready to take charge of your career? Get in touch with Anna and explore your possibilities!

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