If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance that you’re unhappy at work. Most people are; in fact, more than 60% of employees are actively looking for new jobs due to unhappiness at their current one. If you feel the same way, keep reading for some advice on how to get out of that funk and back into a career with meaning and satisfaction.
If your job makes you miserable, it’s time to start looking for new opportunities. But convincing your current boss to let you go can be challenging. Unless you have other job offers on the table, many employees fear leaving because they worry about future employment prospects in today’s economy.
How to Be Happy at Work
There are a few ways you can get a clearer sense of what you want in your next job. First of all, you can be mindful of how you spend your free time. What do you spend your time doing when you’re not working? What hobbies and interests do you have? Which ones are most satisfying? What kinds of people do you spend time with and why?
Where do you volunteer or give back? All of these answers can give you clues as to what kind of work you might be happiest doing. Another exercise you can try is to create a detailed vision of the kind of work environment you would thrive in. Here are some questions you could ask yourself:
- What does the office look like?
- What kinds of people work there?
- What are they doing?
- What are the energy levels like?
- What time of day is it?
- What kind of mission statement do they have in terms of who they’re serving, how they’re serving them, how they’re contributing to the world?
If you can create a detailed picture of the kind of work environment you want to be in, it’s easier to start looking for it. You can also talk to your friends, family, and mentors about what they see your strengths being. They might have insights into fields you’ve overlooked.
Find a job you actually care about
You might be surprised to learn that the most important thing in finding a job you love is to not aim too high. Very few people land jobs they’re truly passionate about right out of the gate. It takes time and experience to figure out what you like and dislike in a career. If you aim too high and end up in a job you hate, it’s going to create unnecessary stress and unhappiness in your life.
If you aim too low and end up in an unexciting but stable field, you’re not giving your career enough of a chance to grow and mature. Most people find their dream jobs in the middle of these two extremes, so don’t expect to start and end your career in the same field. Be patient and flexible and willing to change fields when the time comes.
Set clear expectations with your boss
If you’ve decided that you need to quit your job but don’t have other employment options lined up, you’ll have to be extra careful and delicate with the way you communicate your decision to your boss. First, find out if your company has an employee assistance program (EAP). These are private, confidential counseling and coaching services that can help you sort out any issues you’re having at work and with the people you work with. Most EAPs have you sign a paper that says you won’t sue your company in the future for any work-related issues. If you end up quitting (and having legal issues with your company), a lawyer can help you remove that paper from your file.
There’s nothing wrong with switching careers. In fact, people are doing this more often than ever before. The economy is changing rapidly and job security is extremely low. If you’ve been unhappy at your job for a while and don’t see any way to improve the situation, it may be time to start looking for a new career. Finding a job or a career you love is difficult, but the journey is worth it. You’ll feel more fulfilled and less stressed. And you’ll be happier in the long run!