In this counseling answer:
• Ask yourself what you want in a career.
• Determine your preferred career path.
• Set short-term and long-term goals.
• Celebrate making goals.
• Identify personal areas with room for improvement such as communication skills.
• Don’t let the opinions of others stop you on this path of growth.
Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullah wabarakatu,
Thank you for writing in and trusting us with this situation. It is my understanding that you are a divorcee who did not pursue your career after college and are currently seeking to become financially independent and inshallah stronger psychologically.
It seems you are at a crossroads in life, a turning point where you will inshallah find yourself more than you ever have before. This can be difficult and is not uncommon for people in these situations to have a lot of questions and doubts.
Sister, you stated, “Now I feel like I won’t be able to do anything in my life and whatever I decide to do I get confused and doubtful about whether I am doing it right or not Islamically”. First off, it is a good sign that you are concerned about ensuring you do things correctly and with God-consciousness. Mashallah, this is a good thing, sister! It shows that your heart wants to make the best decisions.
To begin with, financial independence requires an income. You don’t necessarily have to work in the same field you previously studied although you can if this is what you want.
Selecting Your Career
Before you make choice on your career, you need to assess yourself. Think about your interests and make a list of those. For example, if you are good at communicating with people or skilled with technology, then write this down. You can use a career aptitude test online to get a better idea of what career paths fit you.
Ask yourself a very important question. What do you want? Not what your family wants, but what YOU want. What do you need from your career to make you happy and provide the level of income you seek?
Write down all the careers you are considering. Alongside the job, include the education requirements, average income and any pertinent information. For example, if you want to be an engineer then you will need an engineering degree. This visualization will help you compare the different career options.
As you are coming up with career options that fit your preferences, keep in mind you should select a career, which is halal and will provide clean money. You don’t want to work with beer breweries or industries that cater to immoral behaviors.
Career Selection Continued
Once you have a list, it is time to narrow it down more. If you don’t want to spend more years in college, then delete anything you are not already qualified for education wise. Compare all of your remaining options and try to narrow your selection down.
You can also consider reaching out and talking to people in those professions to get a better idea of what it entails. You might find out it entails more than you realized and had duties that you don’t like.
Use websites like LinkedIn to find others in your career field and look at the places they have worked. You can then search those specific companies to get a good idea of the work culture.
Once you have picked your career path, pray istikhara. This is a great sunnah that was encouraged by the Prophet Mohamed (Peace, blessings and mercy of Allah upon him) for any decisions we make. As you are concerned about making the best decision for not just your financial independence but your faith, don’t forget to pray.
“’If any one of you is deliberating about a decision he has to make, then let him pray two Rak’ahs of non-obligatory prayer…” [Sunan Al-Nasa’i]
This is an important decision that will inshallah impact your future. Don’t rush the process and make sure your final decision makes you happy.
Once you have decided on a career path, it is time to make goals. I suggest making short-term goals on the way to the long-term goal. This helps you stay motivated. You mentioned you were goal-oriented, alhamdulillah this is great.
Determine the short as well as long term goals and write them down so you have a visual aid. Such as, creating a new resume and gaining an interview with a company. These could be two short term goals, and the long-term goal is to become a Creative Director with that company. As you reach your short-term goals, take a moment to feel proud of your efforts and congratulate yourself.
It takes time to heal after a divorce, but you will inshallah and you can become even stronger than you ever were before.
Check out this counseling video:
If you change your perspective on this situation, it will change how you feel about it. Instead of looking at this as losing your relationship, look at it as a relationship that was only meant to last temporarily and now is your time to shine.
You can make your own decisions and pursue a career path that helps you feel fulfilled and purposeful. When we do this, it does help your Afterlife as you contribute towards the society in a good way and ensure you are able to take care of yourself.
Think of your past marriage as a way to learn and grow. Identify areas that you want to improve on with yourself. For example, you may realize that both of you did not communicate very well and this led to problems. If so then work on your communications skills such as active listening and repeating back to someone what they say to confirm for them you listen, and you care.
If you realize that your marriage lacked any fun or exciting moments and you need that, commit to go out more often and take up a fun hobby which you enjoy. This will help you heal inshallah and improve your own psychological health.
You can consider doing counseling online or in person. This can be a temporary way to vent your emotions, work through them and identify your own areas with room for improvement.
Stop Listening to Others
Unfortunately, sister, some people put a lot of weight into cultural expectations instead of realistic expectations. When you hear or feel people judging you due to the divorce, it is best to try and ignore this while pushing forward with your own growth.
Visualize in your head what it will feel like when you are successful and financially thriving, inshallah. Visualize what that career looks like for you and how accomplished it will make you feel. Hold onto that visualization and work towards it. Once you become successful, the same people who judged you previously might look up to you as a positive role model.
Please, remember this is your life, not theirs. Make decisions that will make you happy and help you work towards achieving your goals. The more you accomplish on this path, the more others will see your success and you will feel motivated to keep going.
To summarize your steps moving forward:
Ask yourself what you want in a career.
Determine your preferred career path.
Set short-term and long-term goals.
Celebrate making goals.
Identify personal areas with room for improvement such as communication skills.
Don’t let the opinions of others stop you on this path of growth.
Dear Sister, a divorce is never easy, but you are past the hardest part and now is when you can focus on your personal growth. May Allah (most honored, most revered) make it easy on you and guide your decisions,
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.