Signs you might be unhappy in your career
There’s a difference between having a bad day or week at work and totally hating your career. Getting slammed with a deadline or being stuck with a project you don’t like might make you feel unhappy for a short time.
But when we’re truly unhappy in our career, we’ll notice the following signs on a consistent basis:
We worry about work all the time—even on our off days!
Our loved ones are tired of hearing us complain about our job.
Our physical health is on the decline—even if we do our best to follow workplace wellness tips.
Everything bugs us while we’re on the job, from coworkers to customers to simply the constant whirring of the printer.
Most importantly—we feel like our job is pointless, a waste of time, or we aren’t making any difference in the world.
Many people erroneously assume everybody hates their job and that’s normal. But that’s simply not true—many people love their jobs and are excited and inspired to begin work each day.
If you’re scratching your head like “Wait, some people like their job?!” 🤔… it may be time for a professional refresh to help you get back on track with living and working your best life!
6 steps for building a fulfilling + intentional career
Ready to turn the spotlight inward? Building the career of your dreams takes some planning and introspection. But when you get it right, a fulfilling career can truly make your life happier and healthier.
Try the following steps to get on a career path you’re truly happy to be on:
1. Think about what you enjoy doing
First, think about and get in touch with things or activities that bring you joy.
What do you enjoy doing?
What would you do even if you weren’t paid for it?
What do people say you’re good at?
Jot down your answers to these questions. You don’t need to think in terms of specific occupations yet. This exercise is just to let you stretch your brain and think about what you enjoy and what you have to give to the world—what gives you meaning and purpose in life.
Feeling stuck? You may want to try a meditation session. Meditation has many health benefits and can help you focus your mind on a set intention—in this case, honing in on a career you love.
2. Imagine your ideal work day
Once you establish the things you love doing, now think about how you’d actually like to spend your time doing them. What do you envision your work days being like?
Some people like working in an office environment with a team. Others like working by themselves. You may even want to work outside or in a new place everyday.
Don’t forget about dress code, too. Is dressed up or casual more your style?
We spend many hours each day at our jobs, so finding the right environment is crucial to cultivating a career we love.
3. Brainstorm careers that let you follow your dreams
Now it’s time to translate your career purpose into a job title! 🙌 What careers allow you to follow your dreams?
This might require you to visit your trusted friend Google to see your options. You can also browse job sites like Indeed, Idealist or LinkedIn to look at job postings and read job descriptions. Don’t worry—we aren’t applying for anything yet. This is all still research!
Start exploring to see what’s out there and pay attention to what feels oooh exciting as you come across it. Often, your gut instinct will guide you as you read a job description: does it light you up to consider yourself in that role, or does it bring up feelings of gloom and doom? This is all a helpful part of your ideal career research!
4. Consider barriers along the way
Once you have a working list of potential jobs, narrow them down. Meaning, find which options are feasible for you, on the timeline and resources you’re working with.
What are the “barriers to entry” of different positions? Are there any educational requirements or certifications you’ll need? Maybe a certain job would require moving to a new location, or other lifestyle change?
Career path roadblocks aren’t necessarily un-crossable. Some of the barriers to entry you may encounter could reasonably be overcome with a little creativity and the resources you have available. And others are perhaps a far stretch for this lifetime.
But, try not to let these barriers get discouraging. The trick is to be conscious of potential barriers upfront, so you can determine if they’re something you have the means and desire to work through, or if they’re perhaps a sign that’s not your ideal career path after all.
5. Get advice from others in the field
It can be hugely helpful to learn from others who have done what you’re trying to do.
Find successful people in the field you’d like to break into, and invite them out for a coffee so you can pick their brain. How did they get into their career? Would they recommend working at their current job? What type of training did they have, or what jobs did they have before this one? What lessons have they learned along the way?
Everyone is different, so keep in mind that their experience may be different from yours. (Maybe they loved something you’ll hate, or vice versa.)
Still, gleaning insider knowledge from someone in your desired field or role is a great way to learn more about the ins and outs of a particular career—and perhaps gain a new supporter who can help you along the way!
6. Create an actionable timeline
Once you have this background information about your dream career and some practical steps needed to get there… visualize it!
Part of visualizing is to lay out an actionable timeline to get from where you are to where you’d like to be.
What steps need to be taken to prepare for your dream job?
How will these steps fit into your lifestyle?
What can you do to prepare mentally or physically?
Write down everything you’ll need from start to finish. Then cross it off as you get there. New professional certificate? Check. References from a previous employer? Check. Financial planning to build savings for a career switch? Check.
This road map you create will guide your actions and help you get just where you need to be. That way, you’ll know when it’s time to take the leap and finally snag your new position.
Good luck—you’ve got this! 🔥