Tell Me About It: I told my boss I was moving abroad but I’m still here and unemployed
PROBLEM: I am a 25-year old female in Dublin. I was unhappy at my job, it just got a bit boring, but it was fine. My boss was okay, but I wasn’t working in what I wanted to work in and what I had studied for. I resigned last month and they even had a nice going-away party for me. I told my boss I was leaving to try living abroad for a little while, but the truth is I am now unemployed and still here in Dublin and only told them I was moving because I was afraid to tell him it was because I didn’t find the job satisfying.
I might have been a bit rash, should I ask for my job back?
ADVICE: You are 25 and the idea of settling for a job at this age that you have no real interest in is a very sad prospect. Of course, quitting that job does not mean your dream position falls into your hands but you made a decision and now you must put some substance behind it. The danger is that you are drifting and this brings with it a kind of lethargy so that any motivation or drive becomes almost impossible.
The first thing to do is to change that energy – you don’t necessarily have to find the ‘right’ thing to do in your life right now but there is a need for action. You were bored and clearly there is a need for challenge now but, of course, this requires courage and initiative. You told your boss you were going to try living abroad for a while and you could make this true. It can often seem daunting to make such a big change and excuses for not doing it can run from lack of finances to fear of being alone, but even within these restrictions there are still options.
The option of volunteering is worth considering; many organisations train groups of similarly aged young people and send them to far-flung places for certain periods of time. They even help you fundraise for the project so it may not cost you a lot. You could try all the major charities but one that might suit you is SUAS (suas.ie); they work with educational disadvantage in many countries and draw on the collective energy of a determined group of supporters, volunteers and staff.
Once you have widened your scope by changing your circumstances, you can then consider how you might create a working life that suits you. You say your job was not related to what you were trained for and this is the first thing that needs to be addressed. It may be that you need to gain some experience or further training in an area that might allow you to blossom. To help you with some self-belief, it is worth finding someone who has the job you’d be interested in and contact them and ask if they would meet you for coffee or indeed they may be interested in mentoring you. This will help you to figure out a pathway to where you’d like to be and they may even know of a position that could be of help to you – it may be that you could fill in a short-term vacancy or even shadow someone for a while so that you can gain some experience for your CV.
We often shy away from contacting someone for fear of rejection, but most people like to be helpful and if they are too busy, they may suggest someone else to you. You can also go to a recruitment agency and ask them what is lacking in your CV in terms of getting into your industry of choice. These agencies know the job market intimately and can hone in on the details you need very quickly.
Any change or development is going to require self-confidence and the ability to push through your own blocks – these can be bad past experiences or continuous negative or self-critical thoughts. These blocks can feel impossible to shift, but remember that you did not always have these blocks and the aim is to identify them and let them go. Real confidence is being yourself and having faith and courage in your abilities. Aware offers an excellent online life skills course that you could start straightaway and this will begin to shift the self-limiting beliefs.
It might seem hard to see your current situation as an opportunity, but this is exactly what it is. If you use your current feeling of dissatisfaction as a motivation for pushing you into action in your life, you will benefit immediately. Go and extend your life experience, take some risks before focusing on a career and work on letting go the blocks and limits to your horizons. Then be willing to do the research and hard graft that might be required in following your chosen direction.
The main thing is not to let fear get in your way.