Do you ever feel like life just happens to you? One job leads to another and now you find yourself five, 10, or 20 years later in a career that is not especially fulfilling. Maybe you feel like you arrived there by accident—never making time to deliberately think about what you’d like to do or how to get there.
Essentially you feel stuck. Sometimes this is the result of what career theorists call “career compromise.” One theory, Gottfredson’s career theory of circumscription and compromise, suggests that for a variety of reasons, people may wind up in careers that they perceive as compromises.
What makes people view their careers this way includes a complex combination of factors including gender, upbringing, socioeconomic status, academic performance, expectations set by others, and one’s ambition and need for achievement. If you feel like you’ve gone down the wrong career path, it’s not too late to make a change. Here are some steps to break free once and for all.