If you’re like us, not a day goes by where you don’t feel some sort of guilt or dissatisfaction with your work life. Gloria Martinez shares her tips on how to be happier in your current job and/or find a new career that better suits your skills, lifestyle, and personality.
“How To Be Happier In Your Job”
Not everyone gets the opportunity to find their dream job.
For some people, the very idea of a “dream job” is actually an oxymoron—for them, work is a means to a pay check, not a path to self-actualization. But, wouldn’t it be nice to land the perfect job that appeases your passions and satisfies your life’s desires?
There’s a big difference between work that’s pleasant enough, even if it doesn’t define you—and a job that takes more than it gives. So, if your work is leaving you unfulfilled and unhappy, perhaps it’s time to look for something different.
What makes you happy at work?
If you’re like me, you’ve probably had your share of unsatisfying jobs. Like most people, at some point in their lives, you may have settled for a lower paycheck because you’ve been told the grass is not always greener on the other side. Or, you may have stayed in a position longer than necessary to appease a boss, your colleagues, or your partner at home.
Money does talk, but is it worth your sanity or health? It’s a common tale. Maybe your job isn’t all that bad, but it’s not exactly what you want to spend your time doing 10-12 hours a day.
I’m here to say that you don’t have to put up with a toxic boss, a difficult job, or a long commute just to justify a career change. Here are a few things you can do to live a more satisfying life
Make a list: If you can’t pinpoint why you’re so unhappy in your job, make a list of the tasks you enjoy at work and which ones you don’t. It’s okay if your “dislikes” are longer than your “likes.”
Identify common threads: Next, review your list and identify common threads (tasks versus logistics etc.) As you do this, take note of your “likes” column in particular. Is it filled with collaborative tasks while solo work tends to fall in the “dislikes”? Perhaps this means you relish opportunities to interact with the public, but find yourself bored with behind-the-scenes work.
What does this say about you?
Most people realize that the things they like at work match their values outside the office. For example, if you’re an extrovert who loves lending a hand to friends, you’ll most likely find your place in a public-facing profession where you can make a difference in the lives of others.
If you’re insatiably curious and love jumping from one hobby to the next, you’ll probably thrive in a project-based role where you get to see the results of your hard work almost instantaneously.
There are many resources out there that are willing to help you make big decisions. For instance, Careershifters has a lot of advice on finding a career that syncs with your personality. “We help bright, motivated people who feel stuck in the wrong career find and move into more fulfilling work. We’ve done it ourselves and want to help you do the same.”
Thinking about a career change?
Translating your personality into a job isn’t easy, so you’ll need to consider what’s feasible with your educational background, income needs, and lifestyle preferences. To get you started, here are some unique career options that may suit you.
Keep in mind, while some require formal schooling, all jobs offer a wide range of skills and personalities to be successful. After all, you deserve to feel good about the work you do five days a week.
If you like helping people…
Correctional counsellor: While correctional officers supervise prison inmates, correctional counsellors help inmates navigate the transition out of prison. A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, social work, or psychology is required for this career path.
Speech pathologist: Speech pathologists help people who suffer from communication and swallowing disorders. This career requires a master’s degree, however, specific online graduate programs in this area provide wonderful opportunities to complete everything (except for clinical hours) while maintaining your current job.
Massage therapist: Do you like to work with your hands? Massage therapists don’t need a university degree, but most states/provinces require certificate training and proper licensing before practicing as a massage therapist.
If you value achievement…
Restauranteur/Chef: Many chefs find that the fast-paced, creative nature of their work makes up for the long hours. Culinary school isn’t a requirement (experience goes a long way). Many chefs make their way up the restaurant food chain, but formal training gives you a leg up.
Risk management specialist: Risk management professionals document and mitigate risks. If you appreciate data and measurable outcomes, pivoting to a risk management role in your current industry could be a great fit. It’s a good idea to refresh your analysis and business administration skills to prepare for this career shift.
If you prefer to work behind-the-scenes…
Paralegal: Paralegals are the professionals behind the research that goes into building legal cases. Most paralegals complete a two- or four-year degree or certificate program in paralegal studies. Can be very interesting work if you are organized and like to make a difference. What would lawyers do without paralegals?
Lab technician: Love science? This stable career might just satisfy your curiosity while bringing in a comfortable salary. Medical lab tech careers require a certificate or an associate degree in clinical laboratory science or medical laboratory technology.
Remember, the most important thing is that you feel a sense of satisfaction in what you are doing. Most people think they have to change the world during the day, but this is simply not the case. You want your work to be fulfilling, but if your current work isn’t checking all your boxes, you should take steps to find a job that does.
In other words, your inspiring passion projects (outside of the daily 9-5 grind) will be fuelled with more love and attention after hours if you feel you are making a difference during the day.
About the Author: Gloria Martinez started to WomenLed.org to celebrate the advancements women have made in the business world; and to inspire women to become entrepreneurs by living their truth and seeking promotions in the workforce.
Editor’s note: If you like this article on work-life, you might want to check out “Building Better Boundaries“.