What Color Is Your Hamster Wheel?


Laura Simms


Many of the people who come to work with me have been trying to figure out the right career for a long time. And during that time, they’ve earnestly tried to fix their career on their own. And just about every single one of them has found themselves caught on the career change hamster wheel. They’re doing stuff! There’s a lot of effort…but it has them going around and around in circles instead of in a clear direction that leads somewhere they’d like to go.

I want to share what some of these destructive patterns look like, because chances are that you’re trapped in one (or more) of these loops. 

What color is your career change hamster wheel? 

Here are some common hues: 

  1. Bouncing between creative careers and “practical” ones
  2. Settling for jobs that are “good enough” 
  3. Repeating a family pattern of playing it safe
  4. Being excited to start something new, but once the novelty wears off you realize you’re repeating the same disaster with a new set of characters
  5. Chronic dabbling: Taking courses in things that interest you, doing some informational interviews, doing a handful of sessions with a career counselor, sort-of starting a business
  6. Putting off making a change until a work project or life milestone is complete (but there’s always another one) 
  7. Giving so much at work that you burnout, get resentful, quit, and do it all over again someplace new
  8. Accepting whatever gets offered instead of intentionally choosing a direction
  9. Applying for the kinds of jobs you already know you won’t like 
  10. Choosing what will make other people happy (like your parents) instead of what will make you happy
  11. Staying too long at a place that’s not a good fit because you don’t want to let people down
  12. Applying for what you’ve already done because you don’t know what else you’d be qualified for
  13. Choosing roles for their prestige
  14. Hoping that someone will hire you for a role that you don’t even feel confident you could do
  15. Applying for jobs because they’re low hanging fruit, not because they’d fulfill you

Any of those sounds familiar? You might be repeating or or more of the examples above, or you may have your own special sauce.

Getting off the hamster wheel

Despite your effort and intention, no number of spins around these wheels will get you into a meaningful career. There’s value in knowing what hamster wheel you’re on, but just knowing what NOT to do is not enough. You need to know what behaviors and strategies to replace it with. 

If you’re ready to get off the career change hamster wheel, I invite you to watch my free training, “The 5 Keys My Clients Use to Discover Their Meaningful Careers.” It’ll talk you through the exact steps that are taking my clients from spinning to moving forward with direction and confidence. 

The 5 Keys My Clients Use to Discover Their Meaningful Careers

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