We’ve all run full speed ahead in the hamster wheel of work-exhaustion and discontent, at times. Job dissatisfaction can bring you down and effect all areas of your life, if it is not addressed. People often feel burned out and under-appreciated at work. “I feel so disrespected.”, “I’m bored with my job and I deserve a promotion.”, “I’m overwhelmed, I don’t enjoy my work anymore.”, are pretty common expressions of burn out. These are obvious indicators that it’s time for a career make-over. If you put in the time, effort, and soul searching required, you can create the career you want! It seems like a daunting task, but the alternative is not an option. How does one turn that formidable rodent wheel of work exhaustion into the grand Ferris Wheel of job and life fulfillment? Here are a few tips for re-defining your professional self and getting on your way to a purposeful and inspiring career.
Name Your Talents:
What are your special skills and strengths? Everyone has strengths! What are yours? Notice the challenges and tasks that you enjoy. Identify the activities that give you energy, and a sense of satisfaction. Shift your focus to the responsibilities you savor. What are the small successes within each of those that you’ve mastered? Use this information to develop the job description you want. Consider industries in which those assets are valued and sought out. “Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?” – Benjamin Franklin.
Identify a few options. Based on your answers to the previous questions, what can you do differently today? Leverage your successes to ask for what you want. Here are a few ideas for how to do so. Talk to your boss about gaining more responsibility, or peruse the internal job postings in other departments. Consider starting your own business, or begin the task of updating your resume and exploring external options. Perhaps your interests lie in a different industry altogether. Whatever your direction, stay true to yourself. The more you enjoy your job, the less it will feel like work! “Use what talents you possess, the woods will be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.” – Henry van Dyke.
What do you need to know? You’ve completed the first steps of career exploration. Now that you’ve identified what’s important to you, search out industries and companies that match those preferences. Make a list of your top five target organizations. Begin researching their history, mission, and products. Go to networking activities, such as industry conferences or business networking groups. Speak with people in those businesses. Do your homework to avoid jumping from the frying pan into the fire!
Training and Education:
Is there a certification or license that would push you over the next hurdle in your career? Find out what is required to achieve it. If you’re planning to pursue a different field, explore the education and credentialing requirements for those jobs. Collect informational packets from professional schools and universities with programs in your area of interest. Remember, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”, Lao Tzu.
Choose a Deadline:
This is a crucial factor in the process of self discovery and change. Creating a deadline helps you stay on track in defining and aligning your path in career development. It keeps the journey time limited, focused, and easier to manage by breaking down the steps into weekly, monthly, and/or annual goals. What do you want to accomplish by the end of this week, this month, or this year? Write it down. Share your intentions with others. Accountability to yourself and those you love will provide the structure and support necessary to follow through on your plans.
Throughout the process, be good to yourself. Job hunting and career development can be overwhelming! Maintain life balance. Establish healthy boundaries. Spend time with friends, family, exercise, and have fun. Be patient. In the words of Buddha, “There is no path to happiness: happiness is the path.” So continue to embrace and be grateful for the things you cherish.