Advice  ·  Careers

Unhappy at Work? 3 Steps You Can Take for Change

By Steve Conway    10-Apr-2019 20:41 UTC+02:00

In the ideal world, you would have the job of your dreams and have developed a career that you find both satisfying and fulfilling; however, the reality can be very different. Life has a habit of throwing up challenges and obstacles that shape the direction of life, and it is all too easy to find yourself in a job that you do merely to pay your bills, to fulfill your financial obligations rather than your soul.

If you are in a role now that you feel unhappy in, you will be all too familiar with how it impacts the rest of your life. You feel consistently tired and stressed,and your relationships begin to suffer as you struggle to find a work-life balance, and you feel stagnant. If this resonates with you, you need to think about the moves you can take to make a change.

1. Set yourself some new goals

Goals are essential to give your life direction, so it’s vital that you invest some time in establishing where you want to be, and what type of career would be your ideal. Get out a pen and paper and dig down deep into the detail and set yourself some new goals. Think about the following:

  • Industry
  • Role
  • Responsibilities
  • Salary
  • Business culture
  • Hours

Prioritize your list starting with what is most important to you. If you don’t know exactly what your dream job is, how can you look for it? Do you want to remain in the same field, or are you open to exploring a career change? Be honest with yourself, and don’t limit your potential by thinking that a role is beyond your abilities.

2. Take daily steps to get you to your dream job

Your dream job may feel like a world away, but if you have an idea about what you would prefer to be doing, set yourself the challenge of taking steps towards it every day. If you want to start your own business, find a book on the topic, and commit to reading a chapter a day. If you take daily steps to land your dream job, you’ll feel empowered and realize that your current malaise is temporary and there are real solutions.

You may need to complete further studies, so read up on courses that will fulfill your requirements. The rise of the internet has meant that you can complete accredited courses online without impacting your ability to work your usual role. There’s a whole world of opportunities that you can access; everything from an online criminology degree through to a Master’s in computer science. You can earn while you learn!

3. Update your CV

While updating your CV is necessary for you to seek another role, it also serves another purpose, even if you don’t want to leave your company. It helps you to identify which parts of your job you don’t like. Establishing which aspects of your role that you don’t like is as important as knowing which parts you do. Use different colours to highlight the parts of the role that you do like and those that you don’t.

You may be surprised by the outcome of this simple exercise, but it can be a great tool to help you understand why you feel like you do. Things to look out for:

  • Training needs – there may be a gap in your skill set that could be remedied through further training.
  • Too much workload – are the demands on your time excessive? Are you working too much overtime?
  • Unchallenging work – do you need more responsibility in the workplace?

If you have identified areas that are making you unhappy, you can speak to your line manager and negotiate changes to your work. The idea of this may cause you to feel uncomfortable, but if you can have an open and honest conversation with your boss, they may be open to helping you, especially if you have identified the issue and can provide a solution.

Most employers will want to avoid the upheaval and recruiting costs of replacing you and should be responsive to your requests. They may delegate work to other people, transfer you to a new department or even promote you. Something must change; you cannot continue as you are. If they are not receptive to helping you, your CV is ready to look for another job; it’s a win-win situation.

Recognizing that you are unhappy at work is the first step towards change. Change is always unsettling, but you must go out of your comfort zone to achieve results. Identify your dream job and work backward to establish the steps you need to take to help you achieve it. Good luck!

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