A career is like a shoe. It doesn’t really matter how good it looks; if it doesn’t fit, sooner or later, it is going to hurt you. Naturally, we’re not talking blisters here. When your career is not suited to your interests and personality, the damages run deep under the skin. It might start with a general sense of dissatisfaction that can evolve in resentment, anger, and depression. Ultimately, even though we’ve all heard the saying ‘it’s just a job’, when you don’t identify with your career choice anymore, your day-to-day job becomes an emotional burden. And despite the recommendations of many, you can never leave your feelings at the door when you go to work. You carry them with you.
Nevertheless, there is a big difference between knowing that the shoe doesn’t fit and knowing which shoes would fit instead. And as you can’t test careers as easily as you can try out shoes, your best hope of guidance is to listen to your internal voice. What does your instinct say about your career?
Have you hit a point when you can’t go back anymore?
There are career paths – in academia, for instance – where the only way up is to become your boss. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for promotion-based careers to take you away from your favourite tasks and replace these with new responsibilities you don’t like. And, it’s fair to say that if you dread even the thought of it, now is probably a good time to look for a position that can let you grow and do what you like most. Admittedly, for anyone who’s spent a long time in a career path they don’t enjoy anymore, the emotions can be too raw to figure out what you really want to do. Instead, you can try to think of the elements of your current job you wish to endure less of in future, whether it’s the administrative side, poor work/life balance, or even the lack of social purpose.
How about going international?
As you start thinking about what you like and what you dislike in your current career, you might come to the realisation that you feel trapped within a team and that affects your perception of your work. Perhaps, you could consider expanding your career abroad to meet new teams and new ways of thinking. You can give your self-confidence a boost with the Effortless English lessons, if you’re worried about your language skills as a non-native, for instance. When you work with a foreign team, you can experience the thrill of bringing a new eye to their strategy and debates, giving you more flexibility and control over your career development.
Want to embrace your dream finally?
If you’ve always had a dream career that you’ve pushed aside, it’s time to embrace it and make it happen. Not fulfilling your dreams affects your job satisfaction. Check out this interview, for inspiration, that explains how Jenny Quintero and Lucy Brown quit their jobs to open a restaurant. It was a bold and risky move, but nothing beats the sheer happiness of launching your own business.
From acknowledging your burnout negativity to making your dream come true, the path to a career revival or a career change is not all smooth and rosy. But, when you think about it, nothing beats the feeling of being one with your job. It’s job satisfaction from within!