If you find yourself unhappy with your current job, examining your career and becoming your own career coach is a smart step. By looking at your situation methodically, the path to career contentment will become more clear.
Discover What's Missing
What do you want from your career that your current job isn't giving you? There are many factors that affect your workday, any or all of which could be the source of your discontent. Perhaps it is solely your physical environment, your co-workers or your commute that is making you question your job. If that's the case, you may only need to change locations or departments to feel back on track. Or, you may be feeling a larger dissatisfaction, centered on a true dislike for all of your daily duties. You may have come to realize that it's not just your particular job, but your entire career than needs re-examining.
Know Your Priorities
As much as the current working generation of women want to believe that they can have it all--an abundant amount of family time, the thriving career, a large and secure income--it isn't always true. To start thinking of a career change, you must first understand your own priorities. What in your life is most important to you? You might have a job that pays well, but does not give you enough time to spend with your children. This will cause you misery every day because your heart is back home with your family. Conversely, a lower-impact job may leave you feeling useless and lacking in pride (if you have a fierce work ethic). You must find the right fit for you and be willing to compromise on the things that matter less.
Examine Your Strengths
What is it about your current job that you like? Maybe the best part of your day is the time spent working with people. Maybe you love that you get to create projects without a supervisor looking over your shoulder. These feelings will guide you to understand what you'll prosper at. Allow yourself to daydream. What kinds of jobs have you seen that maximize the work you enjoy while minimizing the drudgery? Follow that daydreaming with research. Visit the workplaces, explore online and talk to people already in those careers. Find out what it takes to get and hold that job.
Consider Your Finances
Changing careers is almost always a costly endeavor. You will lose the security of your current job and the standing you've gained from your time working there. You may need to pay for more education, or start at an entry level position in your newly chosen career. It is not necessary to look at these challenges as pitfalls. On the contrary, the monetary sacrifices involved in a career change might help you decide how badly you really want to do it. If you realize you would rather cut your household budget by 30% than spend another month working where you are now, that is a good indicator that you're commited to changing careers.
In the case of deciding on a new career path, you are your own wisest counsel. No one knows your needs and abilities better than you do. More importantly, no one can ensure your own success but you.