“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” - Theodore Roosevelt
Miserable at work? Stop accepting that... immediately.
First off, if you’re stuck where you are in the short term, try and make the most of it. According to The Mayo Clinic, if you can’t think of your work as a calling, then at least think of it as a career and not a job. Even if you want better or different, you can still be fully invested in the tasks at hand. When you move on, you’ll give the next endeavor 100%, but slacking off and feeling grumpy about today’s work isn’t helping you or anyone else. Look for needs and fill them, find ways to learn new skills, lift up the people around you and stay positive. These efforts will add huge value to any “job.”
Secondly, get a side gig that feeds your passion. We know. You’re busy. We’re all busy. But you’re on FaceBook and you’re maybe even catching the latest series on Netflix. Build just 20-30 minutes into everyday to plan and work towards your calling. It could be 1 year or 5 years in the making, but once you begin, you’ll see what needs to happen to add more time to what matters. Do you consume less to work less and give more time to the passion? Do you cut out unsatisfying relationships? Do you learn to say no to obligations that don’t matter? Get started and find out how to hack away at the unessential.
Finally, make the move to change careers. Whether it’s going full time with the side gig, or incrementally transitioning closer to your calling, work on shelving your fears to make the move. Remember, if you don’t anything, you risk more.
If you’re worried about money, and we all are, understand and accept that a shift in pay may be part of a shift in career. It doesn’t mean you’re doomed to poverty. Oftentimes, the right opportunity will save money in other places. As in, take a pay cut, but work closer to home, which means riding a bike to work, selling the car and canceling the gym membership. Look at what you consume and you may be surprised at how you can manage with less for the sake of your happiness.
If you’re worried about failing at a new career, start making connections in the field and educating yourself until you realize it’s viable -- volunteer, go to networking events, and reach out to friends of friends who can mentor you. If you make genuine connections, they’ll teach you what you need to know and may even help you later on.
- If you’re not sure where to go next, ask yourself:
What do I love to do in my current job? Examples include: Work with people. Work alone. Help people [in what way?]. Tackle large projects. Complete small projects. Find solutions. Implement solutions. Organize things. Inspire people. There’s no wrong answer, there’s only the wrong answer for you.
What am I good at doing? What you love and what you do well, usually correlate, but not always, so be honest. Your job is to tease out the connections between your capabilities and your motivation, so you can find daily satisfaction at work.
What am I excited to learn to do better? The next job should challenge as well as complement skills. So, what do you want to learn to do well? If you could be an expert, a mentor, in something, what would it be? How will you become a lifelong learner?
What does the world need and want from me? It’s not just about you. Purposeful work means contributing in a way that other people want and need. You can be an amazing juggler who loves to make people laugh, and while not everyone will be thrilled about that, someone will! So find the need you meet, the place you’ll be appreciated, and then go there without fear of consequence.