I’ve always had a strong sense for what inspires me, for what I want to do with my time. The key constraints in my life, once upon a time, were time and energy. This was fundamentally why I decided to do my own thing a few years ago. What has become clearer to me over the years as a coach however, is how not everyone has a clear sense of what they would rather be doing! Such individuals might need a different approach to work altogether.

A different approach to work

If you don’t have something that pulls you, questions around career change and what work to do can feel tricky. You may find yourself in a kind of limbo, with no real direction, even when you want change. But, all is not lost. Just because something that calls you has not emerged (yet!), does not mean that you must stagnate. Especially, if you feel the need to move and to change, to try something different.

Rather than seeking the ultimate vocation, the different approach to work lies in avoiding what you definitely don’t want to do. This is the path of finding (fulfilling) work through negation. For example, I know that I definitely don’t want a bureaucratic desk job that involves a lot of paper work, presentations etc. In fact, I am not sure I could ever hold a corporate white-collar role again  — I don’t feel I have the stomach for pseudo-intellectual analysis, office politics and mediocre bosses. I would rather do something physical, perhaps become a fork-lift operator or a barista. I may be paid less, but it would be much better for my wellbeing.

Change doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’

So, if you want a career change, but feel stuck about what to do, consider what you’d rather not do. By having a clearer sense of what you don’t want to subject yourself to, you can find work that is neutral, if not positive. At the very least, you will not have to subject yourself to work that makes your stomach churn and head explode. Because that may be the current situation which you wish to escape from. And, you don’t have to remain stuck there only because you haven’t found the ‘perfect’ thing! Simply finding something that is less-worse can free-up all sorts of psychological and creative energy.

Not having a clear calling is more common than you think. Don’t worry about it. Such things can’t be forced. However, you can still create a more fertile space from which to explore possibilities. Consider more deeply what you definitely don’t want to do and a clearer path will begin to emerge.


Harsha PereraHarsha is a 1:1 coach and independent thinker based in London. He empowers people to find more clarity, confidence and focus in their lives — to cut through the noise, in a world so full of it. Harsha’s new book, Machine Ego: Tragedy of the Modern Mind, is now available in paperback and Kindle through Amazon.

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