Your job doesn’t have to suck.
Really, it doesn’t.
Here are some tips about how to assess your current job and, if needed, how to manifest your next bold move. Disclaimer: This is not about making you more money, this is about making your job matter to you.
- How bad is it?
Do all jobs have challenges? Sure. Badly facilitated meetings, office gossip, stressful parts of the year, these are some of the common challenges you will face in any job. Start noticing how much of the challenging stuff is happening to you on a daily basis. How is your health? How is your mood? When you wake up in the morning, are you looking forward to anything at work?
If your job’s challenges start out weighing the interesting, engaging, and good-feeling parts of the job, it may be time to start manifesting your next, sometimes bold, move.
- Can you change it?
Often challenges with work can be adjusted or relieved by asking for help from your supervisor or co-workers. It helps to know specifically what you need to make things shift. Are badly facilitated meetings driving you up a wall? Try asking for a clear agenda or rotating who facilitates. Are you being treated badly by co-workers or your boss? Have the tough conversation, directly name what is happening, and how you need them to change their behavior.
- Don’t let your parents/friends panic you!
Your career not will likely mirror your parents’ 30-year career in the same place. It is way more common that folks are manifesting their own diverse career path by staying in starter jobs for shorter periods of time, and crossing job sectors as they move up the career ladder. Many professions have cross-applicable skills, so don’t worry about your college degree keeping you in one field.
- Figure out what matters for you right now.
If you know your job is crushing your soul and that you have tried, but change is impossible, it is time for you to take control of your career. Think of your work life as a journey about learning what really matters for you, right now. Do you need flexibility? Do you like working on a team? What work style do you need right now? What you do in your 20s will likely be different than what you do in your 30s. What you learn along the way, including how to assess a job for its impact on you, are critical tools you will use for life.
- Take a calculated leap.
No matter what your situation, don’t be afraid to take a calculated leap. Spoiler: You can’t just quit tomorrow. That will be fleeting happiness. What you can do tomorrow is start mapping out your quit date. Network, job hunt, save a little extra, pick up a small side gig to test out ideas and interests—all while you are still at the sucky job. Once you have some good leads, enough saved, and a clear-eyed vision of what you want next, take that leap.
Work that matters to you, is work that will make you feel good, day in and out.
Interim Executive Director, Outright Vermont
UVM, 2011 (M.Ed. Interdisciplinary Studies)