A few days ago, I was talking with daughter about choosing a career. I explained to her that I feel fortunate to enjoy what I do for a living. But that doesn’t mean I have liked every job I have held.
Let’s face it, many American workers are in the right profession, just the wrong job. Or they are in jobs they used to be enthused about, but just aren’t that into it anymore. When most of us spend more time at work than at home, it really makes a difference when we like what we’re doing, rather than dread going to work.
“What do you do if you’re in a job that you’re not happy in?” my daughter asked me.
“That depends,” I replied.
I went on to explain to her that there are ways to find more satisfaction from your job – whether or not it’s your dream job. I outlined some ideas:
- Brainstorm what you like about your job, what you don’t like, what tasks make you feel motivated.
- Make a plan for how you might improve your job situation. The plan could include expanding on the things you currently enjoy about your job. Or, it could include moving to a different department, taking on a task that requires stretching your skills, or seeking a different manager who challenges you in a rewarding way.
- Make small changes such as participating in different meetings, or volunteering to take on a new client or new responsibility. Before you know it your job could begin to tilt in a different direction.
“If you try to like your job again and just can’t make it work, then it’s time to move on,” I explained to my daughter. “But when you do move on, know what aspect of the job you enjoy so you make the smartest move possible.”
And then, I told my daughter something I might not have said a decade ago. I told her that workers today are leaving jobs, even leaving professions, all the time and while it often works out well for them, I cautioned her about jumping too fast. I suggested taking a different approach with an existing job first. “It’s really worth a try to shift your job description into something that’s more enjoyable.”
At one point, I was burned out on the beat I was assigned. I asked my editor to change my beat from covering one industry to writing about work life balance. It was the best move I have ever made and I think it shows it is possible to figure out how to like your existing job more rather than changing jobs.
My daughter nodded and I think she heard me, or at least I hope she did.
I am sure there are other examples out there like mine. If you have shifted your job description and made an existing job more enjoyable, please share your experience. I believe it’s doable but would love to hear from others!