I had a conversation today with someone who isn’t feeling very happy with her job. She voiced a lot of frustrations about her manager, her team, and about being a bit bored. It sounded like she was struggling with what to do about it, as she just started the job less than a year ago. She felt that her frustrations were relatively minor, but that she was also itching for something new. So, what should she do?
I think a lot of people exist in this place, sometimes for their whole careers. Of tolerating things, or people, that frankly, you don’t have to tolerate. Mind you, sometimes you will be working with these people on a certain project relatively short term, so everything could change again and be very much to your liking in your current job. Or maybe not? What if this is how it will be for good and you don’t like it? How do you know when it’s time to throw in the towel and leave?
It’s completely individual as to how bad you will let things get, or how miserable a situation is before you will look for a way out of it. Mind you, this has a lot to do with self-love and self-worth, and it probably looks similar to other areas of your life as well. But like anything in your life, it’s your call as to how you want to live, what you will tolerate, and when you need to go out and seek more joy in your life.
Figure out what YOU want
Everyone has different likes and dislikes. Different situations they thrive in, while others feel they couldn’t tolerate it. For example, I have worked from home for over 20 years now, and you can’t believe how many people say they could NEVER do that. Meanwhile I could NEVER go back to an office again! No way! But that’s a simple example of the differences in people. We all want something very different. And while everyone may tell you that you are SO lucky to have a certain job, you might be miserable in it. It might not be the right fit for you.
So, keeping that in mind, I don’t think you can consult others so much on what would be the right job for you. You have to figure that one out for yourself, at least for the most part. You have to figure out what you like and don’t like. Which moments at work give you joy, and which ones you dread. What are you good at? What things that people come to you for? Are you the expert on something, the counselor at work, or the respected leader? What do you enjoy doing most at work? What would your ideal job look like? No, petting dogs is not a job. Be serious here. Look at your current skillset and what you are good at, and figure out how you can apply that in a job situation.
As I told this woman today – look through the job postings and see what triggers your interest. Or for that matter, google different ideas and see what comes up on different job sites. But start to investigate. Start to get curious about what is out there. Do some exploring. Go on a career search adventure of sorts. And by all means take some notes on your current job – ooh, that was fun – oh man, I hated that. And start to create an ideal job list for yourself.
When Change is Needed
Once you realize that you need a change at work, here’s some ideas on how to begin:
- Look at your job itself – do you like it? If you like your current job, but there are other circumstances you don’t like, can they be changed? Maybe you need more flexibility in your job for childcare? Perhaps see if they will let you leave a few hours early and work from home in the evenings? Look at ideas you can propose. See if there are ways you can make changes to keep your job that you are already pretty happy with.
- Explore other options at your company. Many companies want to keep you there and will be happy to move you to another job or another department if that’s what you want. If that’s the case, and you’re happy with your company, but perhaps bored with your job – look at the company job listings. Talk to people in other departments about their jobs. Start to explore a little, make connections and collect ideas on what else you could do there.
- What if you’re miserable at your company?Well if you like your job but not your company, it’s time to find another company that can appreciate your already acquired skillset. If you’ve been doing your job for a bit, it’s very likely another company will jump at the chance to hire someone they don’t have to train much. Figure out which companies you’d like to work for, start sending out resumes, and see what happens.
- What if you don’t like your job at all, but you can’t figure out what to do next? In that case it’s time to do some soul-searching. It’s time to dig deep and figure out why. Maybe it’s obvious to you why you don’t like it – but is it obvious to you what you want to do next? This is where some people get stuck. They want to get out of the misery but have no idea what to do, so they feel trapped. Don’t ever let yourself feel trapped. There are so many jobs you can do! You just need to figure out what you WANT to do. What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? Take your current skillset and figure out where it can be applied in a job that you will enjoy. Explore lots of different options too. I’ve even known a nurse who got a job on cruise ship! So, think outside the box if you really want a big change.
You Deserve a Great Job
The bottom line is that we spend so much of our time at work, so it’s important that we enjoy what we are doing, as well as the people we work with. We should not be self-sacrificing, dreading work, or even downright miserable. It’s bad enough to be bored, but if it goes that far, you need to start searching for that new job right away. Do this in the most loving, positive, self-supportive way you can. Believe that you can get that great new job. Have confidence in yourself. Don’t give in and take another job you will hate just because you don’t think you can do better. You can. I personally have walked out of interviews because I knew I wouldn’t like the job based on how they were answering my questions. Don’t settle. Go out there and find the best job for YOU!
A great book I can recommend is Inspired and Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work by Tama Kieves.