I’d like to run across these office tables, singing no you won’t have me, no, no you won’t have me – I’ll keep running till I reach the sea. Martha Tilston – Artificial
Isn’t it the worst? You’ve invested months, maybe years of your life in a job or project. Maybe you’ve done an entire degree, poured thousands of pounds, hours, blood sweat and tears into getting to where you want to be. Then you get there and find it’s not where you want to be at all. The dream job you thought you wanted is more nightmare than fabulous fantasy. There can be a whole host of reasons why you’re not happy in your professional life. Perhaps you’re with the wrong company, maybe it’s the right job but the wrong subject matter, or external factors and worries are affecting your ability to focus.
But sometimes there’s that nagging voice in the back of your head that says “get me out of here – I want to be free of this.”
The problem is that the nagging voice (which, by the way, is probably your gut, who you should always trust unequivocally) is invariably followed by a series of other voices: “but you’ve put so much money / time / effort into this… don’t lose your investment…” or “what else will you do?” perhaps it’s “how will you support yourself?” or worst of all “what will everyone think if I cut my losses?”
Losing sleep over going back to your desk every Sunday night? It may be time for a change!
Five signs you’re ready to move on and find your passion
♥ You dread work. The thought of it makes your stomach knot. Turning on your computer is an ordeal, sitting at your desk is torture. You find your attention drifting just about every five seconds. Simply put, you just don’t want to be there.
♥ You’re out of ideas or inspiration. OK, so this doesn’t really apply if you’re a pilot or a carpenter, but if your job requires creative thinking or outside-the-box strategy and you’re coming up with a big pile of nothing, it could be a sign that you’ve come as far as you’re able to with the work that you’re doing.
♥ The stress from your job is spreading into other areas of your life. You can’t enjoy your time off, you’re tense and worried and think of your weekends as an all-too-short countdown until you have to be back at your desk.
♥ People are responding to your work with apathy. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that your lack of enthusiasm is palpable and people want to be inspired and have confidence in you. Your heart isn’t in it and they can tell.
♥ You spend more time complaining about work than actually doing it. All of your friends think of you as the one that hates their job.
Can you fix it?
Being dissatisfied with your work doesn’t always have to mean it’s the end for you and that career. Here are some things to consider before calling it quits:
♥ Is it you or them? Perhaps you don’t need a new career path, you need a new company, new colleagues or even *gulp* to set up shop on your own.
♥ Are you getting out enough? Sometimes if you work for yourself or for a small team, finding inspiration and staying motivated can be a chore. Perhaps an inspirational training course, networking event or talk could reignite that fire.
♥ Is there anything else wrong in your life? When my dad was ill I didn’t want to go anywhere near my job – it wasn’t that I didn’t like it, it was more that every second I was at my desk I was missing precious time with my dad. Even after he passed away, I needed time to heal and work out who I was again before I threw myself back into work. Maybe you don’t need to quit entirely, but you may need to take a break and focus on other things that are important.
How to successfully make the career leap
♥ Don’t be too impulsive. It can be easy to think that you can’t spend another minute in the situation that you’re in (I’ve always lived by impulse and most of the time it’s worked out, but I think I’ve been really lucky). Try to work out what it is you want to do before you burn all of your bridges. If you can’t find the space to think about what makes you tick while you’re stuck doing something you hate, then quit but don’t leap straight into something else you may get tired of quickly. Find another way to pay your bills while you work out what it is you love doing.
♥ Feel the fear and do it anyway. Trust in the universe and ask yourself what’s the worst that could happen if you leave the situation you’re in – then remember that you only die once!
♥ Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t have it all worked out right away. Your lightbulb moment will come to you when you’re ready for it. Also, don’t beat yourself up for time and money wasted on your previous career – you wouldn’t have got to the stage you are at without it – it was all there to teach you something important that you will undoubtedly use in the next stage of your life.
♥ If you’ve made up your mind about your next step, be really positive about your new venture. Don’t send it any negative or doubting energy, be really sure of yourself. If you feel negative about it, it’s probably not the right change of scene for you.
♥ When you start your new job or venture, start as you mean to go on. Evaluate your old working style or system and create one that works much better for you this time. This could be a process of trial and error but you’ll be thrilled with the results.