You know when you spend your whole life, a significant amount of money and years of education only to successful arrive at a career you hate? You wake up with dread and panic because you feel trapped by your enviable career and can’t see your way out? Do you feel heart palpitations every Sunday afternoon because the thought of going to your 9-5 literally makes you ill?
Well the good news is that I’ve been and you’re not alone. A 2017 Gallup Poll reported that 85% of people hate their jobs and feel “emotionally disconnected fro their workplace.” The four main culprits often cited are (a) lack of advancement opportunities, (b) company culture, (c) being underpaid, and (d) horrible bosses and co-workers. However for many these are just societally acceptable excuses for, “I choose the wrong career,” or “I don’t know exactly what I want to do, but this ain’t it.”
I’ve Been There Too
Today I absolutely LOVE what I do. I help successful professional women transition into their life’s work and to unapologetically do what they were meant to do. However, it didn’t start that way.
Years ago, when I was in college I struggled deciding upon a major. In fact, I changed my major so many times my school refused to let me declare one for at least a year. That should have been my first sign. However, being raised by parents of the Great Depression, I focused on majoring in something that would help me become gainfully employed. I took a business law class in college that I loved and the rest, as they say, is history.
However, after years of school, law school loans and taking that beast of a bar exam, I finally became a lawyer. But I was completely unhappy and unsatisfied with that work. When I moved out of state it was the perfect excuse to stop practicing. From there I became an organizational and management consultant. While I actually was pretty good at that work, it still didn’t feel right. What I did enjoy, however, was education and learning. So after receiving my Ph.D. I lived in the world of academia as a professor, program director and ultimately associate dean. But I quickly learned that while I loved academia, it was from the student side and not the faculty side. Again, I was miserable and felt trapped by the accolades, prestige and income. Having switched careers a few times already, how could I possible do it again?
Never Feel Trapped By a Decision You Made Years Ago
There a quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald that has become the mantra for my life.
It’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over.
The beautiful thing about life is that you can always start over. You never have to feel trapped by a decision you made years ago. When you look at life as a journey, then everything you do is in preparation of your life’s work. In fact, I believe that everything I’ve done in the past has prepared me for what I’m doing today. But to get to that place you have to ask yourself some tough questions.
If you’re considering making a change in your career the first step is not to figure out what you want, but to get clarity on what you don’t want.
Taking stock of the activities and environments you hate can lead you to greater clarity on the things you love. What is it about your current job, career, or industry that is frustrating you? What feels like it’s missing from your job? Are there things you drag your feet on or procrastinate doing? Why?
It’s important to take time to reflect upon and ask yourself these and other questions. Just because you no longer love what you’re doing doesn’t mean you’re not good at it. This is probably why you’ve stayed in your job or career for so long. However, if you don’t do this work you’re more likely to convince yourself that you’re just tired, need a break, or just buckle down and focus on the job or career you have now. Remember time is your friend, so please don’t rush this process. In the end, you’ll be closer to doing what you’re meant to do rather then feeling trapped doing something just because you’re good at it and it pays the bills.
After you take a deep look at what you don’t like, then you can take stock of the good stuff. People often confusion passion for purpose. What you’re passionate about and even love doing may not be what you’re meant to do in this world. By focusing in on what you dislike to do will keep you from making this mistake.
Are you struggling with your current job or career and want out? Do you want to discover your life’s work? Let’s set up a time to chat and determine what’s right for you.
Live, laugh, and unapologetically shine!