Dear Lifehacker, I’m finding that increasingly I am not enjoying my job. I don’t hate it but there is rarely a day where I’m not watching the clock or struggling through the last hour of the work day in anticipation of getting out. It recently occurred to me that I should start looking for another job but I’m unsure of where to begin.
This may seem silly but I’m not sure what my skillset really is. I’m not uneducated — in fact I have two degrees — but I’m not sure that I want to work in either field. I wouldn’t know what to search for on a job site. Where do I start? Thanks, Moving On
I’d start by compiling a list of all the things you dislike about your current job. Which day-to-day tasks or responsibilities are the least enjoyable? If you find it difficult to identify specific examples, it could be that your life/word balance is out of whack, in which case a new job might not be the answer.
Achieving work/life balance wont cause you to magically love your job, but it can improve your professional outlook which will make any job more tolerable. Popular ‘harmonisation’ techniques include /”switching off” at the end of the work day, getting more exercise, cancelling unimportant meetings and asking for more flexible work hours.
The key is to make the working week less stressful via small, strategic changes. In the below TED talk, author, CEO and Earth Hour co-founder Nigel Marsh explains the basics to achieving work/life balance:
On the other hand, if your list of job niggles is bigger than War and Peace, it’s probably time to move on like you suggest. According to economist Neil Howe, only five per cent of people pick the right job on the first try so you’re definitely not alone in this regard.
If you haven’t done so already, sign up to LinkedIn and see what jobs it recommends. Naturally, this will largely be based on your qualifications and work history, but you might still receive some intriguing suggestions outside your traditional sector. You can also join skill-based groups on LinkedIn in a bid to attract recruiters. If you’re lucky, the ideal job could find you instead of the other way around.
Besides your skills and passions, one important guideline for choosing the right career is your motivational fit. This involves identifying whether you’re a ‘promotion-focused’ or ‘prevention-focused’ individual and tailoring your job search accordingly. This online diagnostic tool will help to point you in the right direction.
It also pays to take risks and experiment. A job is like anything else in life: you need to try different stuff to see what makes you happy. If any readers have additional suggestions, feel free to advise MO in the comments section below.
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