Career Crisis (2)

  Share by Email   Print this article   More sharing options  

By Melanie Allen

If you know you must do something about your work situation, you’ve scanned the papers and websites for jobs, but you haven’t got beyond that, use your time at work to do some research. It may keep you motivated on days when you can barely haul yourself out of bed.

Speak to your manager

  • You may feel that being unhappy and not making the most of your opportunities is a personal isn't!
  • Superstition: if you get it into the open, it will become real...if you're reading this article, it already is!
  • You may feel that it's too soon to show your hand, or that you have to present your manager with a fait accompli, you don't!
  • Your manager is the problem. The best thing you can do is to discuss it with him or her - adult to adult. Failing that, contact your HR department, if there is one, or another manager to discuss how you might approach him or her. You may be able to sort it out between you - then you won't have to leave.

Do this before you do anything else. You need to bring your concerns into the open and out of your head, where it can fester. Another perspective can shed light on the situation. Ask about sideways moves, secondments, other opportunities within the organisation where you may be able to work to your strengths. Don't wait for your appraisal or review.

Research project no. 1: analysing your daily activities

Build a picture of exactly what you want your future working day to look like by logging your current daily work activities and rating them. Divide the time into 1 or ½ hour blocks on a page.

For each activity, ask yourself

  • How much/little did I you enjoy it?
  • Would I like more of it, less of it or the same amount in a new job?

For example:



Rating: Enjoyable 1-2-3-4-5 Not enjoyable

Less of? More of? Keep the same? (in the future)

9 - 9.30

paperwork, emails


less of

9.30 - 10.30



more of

This will give you a clearer idea of what you want from your work.

Research project no. 2: SWOT yourself

Use a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. This is a simple way of collecting information and analysing your position for a future possibility. Once you've generated a SWOT, you can use it to plot an action plan or make a decision.

  • First, be clear about the focus and purpose of your SWOT - otherwise it won't work. You're analysing yourself in a particular position; for example, your current position or a very specific job opportunity.
  • Draw a grid (see the example on the next page). Use a whole page.
  • Start with your strengths and weaknesses. These quadrants are about you in relation to the position.
  • Get feedback. Ask colleagues, your manager, your team members or students for their ideas on your strengths and weaknesses. The results can be illuminating.
  • Next, list the positive opportunities, followed by the external threats that may block success. These quadrants are about the position relating to you.


Don't lose focus - keep checking the purpose of the SWOT.

Ash is an FE teacher of 38, analysing her position in relation to a training job she's seen.



  • enthusiastic and inspiring
  • creative/innovative
  • outgoing and competitive
  • sees the ‘big picture'
  • good at working alone
  • flexible
  • excellent communication skills
  • good people/task organisation skills (delegation)
  • co-operative and collaborative
  • calm in a crisis
  • able to think on my feet
  • thorough subject preparation/research
  • good teaching experience and qualifications
  • mature, experienced, but not too old



  • poor paperwork/personal organisation
  • poor detailed planning skills (ie. prefer to outline lesson plans, then wing it)
  • poor typing/computer skills
  • can be difficult to manage (rebellious, need autonomy)
  • easily bored with routine work



  • new career direction
  • new challenges
  • wider career prospects
  • experience in a different environment
  • fewer restraints
  • no rigid career progression
  • better earning prospects
  • more autonomy



  • no specific training qualifications
  • little experience of training adults
  • no commercial experience
  • no experience of private sector
  • no long holidays
  • too many trainers going for the job?
  • no management experience
  • unused to working in a variety of environments


Other related articles:

To view the article 'Taking control of your career' please click here.

To view the article 'Sideways moves - the pros and cons' please click here.

Other related articles: 

Career Crisis

Career Crisis (3)

Career Crisis (4)

Share this article:

  Share by Email   Print this article   More sharing options  

What do you think about this article? Email your thoughts and feedback to us

Connect with us