Three Ways to Break Free of Your Career Funk blog header

By Anissa Ljanta

Are you struggling to get up on weekday mornings?

Feeling of dread settling in your gut every Sunday night at the thought of the work week ahead?

Feel you need to up your work game, earn more, work less?

Or feel like you have lost your spark?

The new year is a great time to take stock, review your career and have a think about whether your work life is working for you – and where it’s not.

If you’re dissatisfied at work, there may be changes you can make in your existing role, opportunities to sidestep into a different department in your organisation. Or maybe it is time to move on.

But will swapping one organisation for another help? Do you need to change careers completely? Do you want to retrain, or can you bridge your skillset to another type of work? How do you level up? How do you become the best version of you at work?

If you have these kinds of questions floating around in your head, it sounds like you might need to do a bit of a career assessment! It can feel daunting to know where to start assessing your career –  but like with all big projects – breaking it into small, achievable steps helps.




1. Do it DIY style

Ask others what they see your strengths are. A good starting point might be messaging five friends asking them three things they see as your strengths and what career/roles they see you flourishing in. Sometimes a fresh perspective is just what’s needed.

Ask the hard questions. Make time in your diary and pose a series of questions exploring what your strengths, challenges, aptitudes and work goals are. Just the process of clearing time and energy to reflect on your career to date can be illuminating.

Learn about it. Hunt out books and podcasts that will have you thinking creatively about who you are, what you have to offer and how to create a work-life that ticks all your boxes– as well as creating the positive change you want to see in the world. We quite like the book “How to Find Fulfilling Work” – a book about how to take your working life in new directions, and ultimately how to take concrete steps to finding a fulfilling career.  Read more here:

Learn from those who have been there. Talking with friends or colleagues who have gone through a career change can be useful. What tools, resources or coaches do they recommend?

Andrew Tui (Careers Coach, Professional CDANZ member, Marketing Specialist at Media Design School, and creator of the Careers Coffee Chat podcast) suggests these questions and shares some guidance as a starting point: 

  • What is it about your current job / organisation that isn’t working?
  • What skills have you enjoyed using / learning?
  • What skills would you like to step away from?
  • What things will be important to you in your future career? (reflect on your values!)
  • What interests you? In other words, what puts the “fire in your belly”?

“The key is to self-reflect and to spend time exploring WHO you are and HOW you envisage your future self to be.   Give yourself ample time and space to review your career from different angles, acknowledging the good and the bad, without fear of judgement during this initial phase.”


2. Do a course or workshop

Consult google and find a career assessment course – online or in-person – depending on how you roll.

Wellington-based careers coach Alyson Garrido has a free 6-week email course to identify your strengths and launch a new career, a great option for those a little cash strapped or as a pre-cursor to one-on-one coaching.


3. Hire the big-guns. Get a coach!

I know some folks cringe at the thought of airing their dirty career laundry and shortcomings with a careers coach – hello introverts! – but these folks are experts at teasing out the best in you. Investing in your future career by hiring a career coach can be a game changer.

Get clear on your coaching needs and goals before you start.  Careers coaches offer targeted support and insights on your career, and there are life coaches for a general life overhaul or counselling/therapy to help you work through the inevitable curveballs life delivers most of us.

Ask around for recommendations from people you trust. Many coaches are fabulous, but a meh one can do more damage than good. Be smart about who you hire onto your team.


Finally, making big life changes is no walk in the park!

Starting a new job, or changing career, both make it into the top ten list for stressful life events, so if you are embarking on a career assessment and potential change, check in and ask yourself if you have the emotional fortitude to take it on.

If you’re nursing a sick parent, in the middle of a divorce and are looking at moving house it might not be wise to change up your work life. Sometimes the status quo is bearable in the short term, even if it’s not ideal, if you know you’re moving on after that time.

If you share your decision to retrain as a counsellor or go for a management position and this is greeted with a carefully blank face, or a long pause – and by several people – you might want to reconsider. If people consistently light up when you disclose your plans to retrain or embark on a new career trajectory, you’re likely onto a winner.



About Anissa Ljanta

Anissa is an online content and comms specialist with a long history in the not-for-profit sector both here in NZ and internationally.   She is on the board of her small local community library, is part of a delightful book club, several writers’ groups, and her idea of a fun Saturday night involves writing and wine. Words, social change and deep ecology are at the centre of her life.

Anissa can be found (and hired for word geekery) at

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