The whirlwind of the holidays has finally settled, and you wake up in 2016 to a familiar feeling: dread. This horrible, sinking feeling has haunted you since the beginning of 2015, and it continues today with the nagging sound of your alarm clock.
Dread follows you out the door to your unfulfilling job. Most days you spend daydreaming about changing careers, but these thoughts are derailed by self-doubt. After all, stepping out of your comfort zone is a huge undertaking.
These are understandable concerns, but isn’t there more to life than dragging yourself to work to do something you loathe? Everyone deserves a job that ignites their passions.
This year, take the time to assess the state of your career. If you love the actual tasks and responsibilities of your job, maybe you are just in the wrong company. However, if you hate every aspect of your job, you probably would be just as unhappy in the same position elsewhere.
If the four statements below describe your current situation, you definitely need a new career. For each statement that resonates with you, read about the possible solution to begin your journey to career happiness. Here we go — and please be honest:
- Your tasks at work do not match your passions.
If your passion is writing and you are an accountant, you are forced to endure rigid, repetitive tasks all day. Your creative tendencies will never shine in this type of role. On the other hand, if you are an accountant who is a writer, you’ll wish every letter you type were a number.
It’s important for you to excel in your field, but it’s more important that the areas in which you excel are ones that you are passionate about. Just because you excel at something doesn’t always mean you love it.
Nothing suffocates ambition and motivation like being unable to follow your dreams and denied the opportunity to perform at your full potential.
Possible solution: Work on your skill sets and credentials for your dream career. Enroll in a certificate program that reflects a passion you would like to pursue further. This can be your first step toward determining what passion you want to make your career.
- You’ve achieved numerous accomplishments, yet feel empty and unfulfilled.
If you’ve been feeling downtrodden at work, whether it’s caused by stress or boredom, there could be pessimism seeping into your thoughts. It might not be immediately apparent to you, but your family and friends have probably already noticed that your light has dimmed in recent months or even years.
When you’re stuck in the wrong career, your achievements feel meaningless because you couldn’t care less about them. You need to feel attached and excited about your responsibilities.
Possible solution: Seek out volunteer opportunities in a field of interest. After a few projects, if you are fulfilled and excited by what you are doing, you know you are on the path to the right career choice.
- Your motivation for going to work is a paycheck.
We all know bills will never disappear, and our job is the means to afford a quality lifestyle. However, if your paycheck is your only motivation to get out of bed on weekday mornings, you might be sacrificing your passions and new opportunities because you value your paycheck more than your job satisfaction.
Possible solution: Create a list of things your job should do for you. For example: “My job should stimulate my mind, make me feel like I’m serving a greater purpose, etc.” This list will help remind you that a paycheck is not the only thing you should receive from a job.
- You have a vision of your dream job and it doesn’t line up with your current career path.
One of the worst realizations in life is finding out you chose the wrong career path. Whether your interests have changed, your parents forced you into a certain career, or you went into a career just because of the high income potential, you can fix your unhappy situation once you have your dream job in mind.
Figuring out what makes you happy is the most difficult part of changing careers. Without being overly idealistic, everyone should pursue their dreams and ambitions.
Possible solution: If you already know what your dream job consists of, attend networking events to make connections with people who work in that industry. Finding a mentor can be the key to breaking into a new line of work.
Now that you know some signs to look for to identify a less-than-fulfilling career, you can begin to take steps to improve your career happiness. Look at the bright side: Beyond the life-draining fluorescent lighting that beats down on your cubicle for more than half of your day, there are opportunities on the horizon — and there’s no better time than now to make a career change that will improve your professional and personal life.