More and more people have approached me recently about wanting to change jobs or are unsatisfied in their current role.
I ask do you wake up in the morning full of excitement and enthusiasm about your day or do you dread going to work? If your job is sapping the life out of you then its time to re-assess your life and your work.
Ask yourself questions like?
- What keeps you in your current job even though you are unhappy?
- What skills do you have that are unused?
- What dreams have you buried because they weren’t practical?
- What would the dream job look like to you?
- What are you willing to sacrifice in terms of your choices in relation to your career?
Work is as natural to human beings as breathing. We feel bored, dissatisfied if we cannot contribute to the world in some meaningful way.
I don’t think it’s realistic to expect to jump into your dream job straight away from school, college or apprenticeship. You do need to spend time in a new job learning the ropes and making connections. This shouldn’t be confused with “serving time” as this kind of thinking encourages staying in a job that may not really suit you. You should expect to be excited and energised about going into work each day.
Some staff in the workplace grew up in a different culture where perhaps work might be a solely to fund pastimes and enjoyment outside of work. Many may have sacrificed dreams. For you it may be that an old dream is stirring and just won’t go away, then it may be time to discover and pursue your calling.
Mature staff might consider being a mentor to someone getting started, or finding an opportunity to share the wisdom of older years.
A positive is to focus on the principle of service, and particularly jobs that have a strong element of service in them. Consider how can you use your gifts and talents to serve others? What issues in the community, in business in society do you care about? In order to be of service to others we first have to find what brings us meaning and fulfilment, sometimes it is just enough to know that if you do what brings you joy, even if it is not of service to anyone else, the world is a better place. The world and workplace could certainly do with a little more joy.
So what to do?
Make your dream real in some concrete way. Tell other people about your dream job. Make sure you are paying attention to opportunities.
Remember the rule of the bumblebee. According to the laws of maths and aerodynamics, it is physically impossible for bumblebees to fly. Keep in mind that most really successful people were frequently told that what they wanted to do was impossible.
In order to follow your calling there are always necessary sacrifices that must be made. Think about what is absolutely necessary in your life and work. Is it high earnings, or are you interested in earning less money to do more meaningful work? Is it essential that you have a steady income, or are you excited about risk and can you afford to take one? Is it essential that you are working with people or can you work alone? What things are absolutely essential for you in your work and what can you let go?
There’s an old saying “if you can’t be with the one you love then love the one you're with.” This can apply to our jobs. Many people cannot easily leave there current job or working situation. The challenge is then how can you see your current work as your calling. Once again the principle of service can be very helpful. If you need to stay with your current job then write yourself a brief reminder about how the work you do is of service to others.
Many people think their dream jobs actually exist and they just have to look hard enough to find it. The truth is that many people who have found their dream job, have worked tirelessly, have networked, have taken risks, have persevered, have had set-backs, and told others of their dream job.
When you begin to follow your calling there will of course be people who will tell you it’s impractical, naïve, unrealistic, idealistic. They are the people who want to tell the bumblebee it can’t fly. Remember just because it hasn’t been done doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Sometimes people get too attached to their idea of their dream job, or perfect job would be. Keep an open mind but at the same time don’t settle for something that doesn’t fit with your values or that doesn’t use your skills or talents.
Taking charge of your career is increasingly important at a time when traditional loyalty is much reduced, and when employers and employees must show greater flexibility. Cradle to grave employment and automatic promotions are now a thing of the past.
Here are a few points to consider :
- Understand, value and develop your own skills
- Recognise all the factors that are important to you: geographical mobility, work life balance, vocational work
- Discuss your plans with trusted others or a career coach who can provide a useful sounding board
- Remember the importance of a good fit between the job, employer and personal values
- Plan your career, see opportunities and cope with change, positive and negative.
- The responsibility for acting or reacting to changing circumstances is yours.
- Be confident of your ability to achieve and succeed.
- Value what you have.