Research has shown a whopping 87% of people don’t feel satisfied at work, with many saying they’re stuck in a job they hate. With a figure this high, it’s not surprising so many people have bought into the belief that job satisfaction is a myth. But the fact that 13% of people are very happy in their job means, unlike the tooth fairy or Donald Trump’s chances of becoming president, job satisfaction really does exist. And if other people can find a job they love, you can too. If you’re feeling stuck in a job you hate, here are 5 questions to help you get unstuck:
1) What specifically don’t I like about my job?
Is it your boss? The company? The location? The working hours? The job itself? Go into specifics and create a list of all the things you don’t like about each one. This will help you pinpoint everything you don’t want in your career. And once you have this, by simply looking at the opposite, you can figure out exactly what you do want.
So for example, “I don’t like my job because I’m not using the creative side of my brain, I spend 80% of my day doing admin which I hate, and I have nobody to mentor me”. This essentially is a list of what you don’t want in your career. So, what do you want instead? Looking at the opposite of each: “I want a job where I can use my creative talents, where I spend most of my time designing or building concepts which I love, with a company that recognises my potential and is willing to invest in my personal development”.
Doing this, you can start build a list of criteria for your next job. And then you can take it to a deeper level: e.g. what kinds of jobs will allow me to be more creative? Which companies have good Learning and Development programmes? Etc. Think about what you’re good at, what you enjoy and what jobs will incorporate both.
2) What am I good at?
Now’s not the time to be modest. Go back over all of the jobs you have had, or even as far back as school or university, and think of all the things you were really good at or performed really well in. We’re not looking for perfection here – a rating of 7 or 8 out of 10 is good enough. Think of all the times you received positive feedback from someone about your performance and make a note of them. If your modesty gets the best of you, simply write down all the things you have enjoyed about your jobs, past and present – or even what you enjoyed at school and university. In general terms, we tend to enjoy what we’re good at, so it’s a way of helping you to become more aware of your skills and talents.
3) What are my values?
Feeling unfulfilled in a job is often because you are working in a job, company or industry that is not aligned with your values. Our values are what are most important to us. So for example, if you’ve become increasingly passionate about environmental issues but you’re working for a company that doesn’t care about their carbon footprint, then this could stir up feelings of discomfort and being unfulfilled.
My own personal experience of this was working in recruitment. You see, my biggest value is helping people. No matter what personality profile or psychometric test I do, helping people comes up as my number one driver. When I finally realised recruitment is not really about helping people (to find a job), but more about sales, targets and money, I began to feel lost and unfulfilled. So I explored what careers would allow me to live by my biggest value, et voila. I became a coach.
Write down a list of what’s really important to you in your career (e.g. helping people, recognition, respect, good salary, professionalism, a structured environment, fun, creativity etc.) and think about jobs, companies and industries that embody the same values.
4) What am I passionate about?
Being passionate about what you do is important for two reasons: 1) when you work, it doesn’t feel like work and 2) passion sells. If you go down the entrepreneur route, this will play a big role in your business development. The more passionate you are about your product or service, the more your customers will buy into it. If you decide to work for someone else, being noticeably passionate about what you do will impress and delight most employers, and you could be up for promotion sooner than you think! Write down everything you’re passionate about (art, architecture, humanitarian causes etc.) and what jobs/careers would allow you to fulfil that passion.
5) What do I need to do to make this happen?
Once you have some clarity on what you want, you then need to think about what steps you need to take to get there. Can you achieve what you want with your current employer? If so, how? Do you need to start looking for another job? How will you approach it? When will you start? Do you need to update your CV? Who will you target, or aim to speak to? Do you need to brush up on your interview skills? Do you need to go back to school and get another qualification? Do you need to quit and start your own business? Do you need to stay in your current job for another year to save money for college or a new business license? Get clear on what steps you need to take and create your action plan.
The final step? Take action! While getting clarity on what you want is really important, it’s committing to taking action that is the crucial step. Having a plan is great but, unless you execute it, it’s useless. If you find yourself not taking action, chances are you are focusing on the potential pain of leaving your current role (the stress of job-hunting, lack of certainty, scary panel interviews etc). Write down all the positive things this new job or career will bring you and focus on those instead to keep you moving towards your goal.
Want to know the real reason you’re stuck? Read this The Real Reason You’re Stuck – and How to Get Moving Again
About the Author
Zeta Yarwood is recognised as a leading Career Coach and NLP Life Coach in Dubai, helping individuals across the world to achieve success in all areas of their lives. With a degree in Psychology and over 10 years’ experience in coaching, management and recruitment – working for multinational companies and award-winning recruitment firms – Zeta is an expert in unlocking human potential. Passionate about helping people discover their strengths, talents and motivation, Zeta lives to inspire others to dream big and create the life and career they really want.