What to do if you’re dissatisfied with your career
Do you dread the alarm clock going off each morning? Do you find yourself walking slower and slower the closer you get to the office? Or have you been contemplating a radical career change, for example from software developer to nonprofit manager?
If you’ve answered, “Yes!” to any of these questions, you might be unhappy with your career. But why exactly are you unhappy? Is it because you’re not advancing? Because you don’t like your company? Or because you’d rather be doing something else entirely? Let’s take a closer look at each reason, as well as some small steps you can take to begin to change your situation for the better.
Reason #1: You’re not making any progress in your career.
Feeling stuck in your career is undoubtedly frustrating — and when that feeling lasts for a long time, it can even be depressing. To accurately assess whether your career is really stalled, consider when you last made a move that challenged you to further develop your abilities, whether that was a stretch assignment or a promotion. If you’re really not growing, it can be for three reasons. First, you might not be performing well enough, in which case you need to step up your game. If necessary, ask your supervisor for guidance. Second, your supervisor might not be taking an active role in developing you — so you should have a conversation with him or her about your aspirations. And third, your company might not offer advancement opportunities at the moment. If this is the case, assess whether it’s a temporary situation or whether you need to look for an employer that offers more opportunities.
Reason #2: You don’t like your work environment.
As Katie Douthwaite Wolf points out in her article “What to Do When You Realize You’re in the Wrong Career” for The Muse, your team, supervisor or company might simply not be a good fit. Remember: Companies are dynamic organizations. People come and go; objectives and projects change. In addition, you personally develop and grow over time. If your work environment is no longer a match for you, then doing the same kind of work but in a different setting — i.e. in a different department or at a different company — might be the solution.
Reason # 3: Your passion lies elsewhere.
If you’ve found a career you’re more passionate about and want to pursue, you need to make a good plan before simply quitting your current job and trying to get a position in your new field. Determine which of your skills can be transferred to your new profession. It’s also advisable to see if you need to go back to school or acquire any additional experience before you can make the switch.
If you’re truly dissatisfied with your career, the worst thing you can do is to let the negative feelings fester without doing anything to improve your situation. So take some time out to determine why you’re not satisfied, and then begin taking small steps to start moving in the direction you want to go.
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