How to figure out what job you’d love to do (when you’re stuck in one you hate)
If you’re stuck in a job you don’t like it can be painful. That sickly Sunday night feeling in your stomach, dread for the week ahead, hating that you’re wishing part of your life away as something to ‘get through’.
You dream of doing something else, but you’re not sure what, or how to get there. You need your salary and you’ve got friends at work who make you laugh, so you stick it out… until something happens and the pain flares up again.
I spent years like this; loved aspects of my job, loved some of the people I worked with, but was deeply unhappy and lost as to what to do next.
Having moved through all that, let’s help you get some clarity to find out where to go next.
Control Your Frustration
The frustration or anger you’re feeling is probably the loudest thing you hear right now. You want to move from where you are, get away from it as quickly as you can. Now, you may see a thousand ways to potentially do that or none at all – either makes us freeze – we don’t know where to begin so stay where we are.
The first thing to do is to sit down, centre yourself and imagine dialling down your pain, anger, frustration; literally imagine turning a dial down on it.
Now write out what is actually causing the pain; is it a difficult boss or colleague, work that you find tedious, not enough work so you’re clock watching all day? Do you feel undervalued?
Get really specific on what you don’t like about your current job. Any time you start to spiral up in frustration again, take a deep breath and dial it back down. Capture the specific thought & let it go.
When it comes to working out what you do want, it’s incredibly valuable to work out what you don’t.
Hate commuting? Your ideal job would be better nearer home, or you may want to explore working from home.
Feel frustrated that you can’t make significant decisions at work? You’re looking for more autonomy.
Find your Genius Zone
Now let’s look at the much more fun aspect of what you’re being pulled to!
If you’ve never looked at this before, this might be pretty alien to you, but stick with it and give it some thought.
The things we do fall into different types of capability. Some things we’re good at, some we’re not great, but some literally make us feel like we’re flying. We love doing them, they give us a lightness of spirit, we could do them all day – these are when we’re in our genius zone.
They’re often the things you can lose hours doing, or the things that others might ask you to help them with, as they see you shining and ask for advice around how they could get better.
Start noticing what you love doing – capture it all down – and see what trends start to emerge.
Figure out your ‘Why’
If you want to find a job or create a business that will really fulfil you, work out your why. What are you absolutely passionate about, what gets you fired up, what lights you up?
Have a look at this TED talk with Simon Sinek on finding your why – it’s 18 minutes long and may help change the direction of your life. Yes, really! I know many who’ve changed what they do and the direction of their life inspired by video – myself included.
You might not figure this out overnight. Sinek suggests writing out 5 – 10 key stories in your life where you’ve been happiest or most fulfilled and talking through what happened and how they made you feel. In doing so, you may see trends emerge. Make notes and let it sit with you.
My favourite way to work out anything big is to go for a walk outdoors – somewhere green where you can fill your lungs, let yourself relax and think from a place of being centered. Then talk it over, mull it over, and start to get some clarity.
If you figure out your why, it becomes the centre of what you do.
Clarity is key when it comes to making a big change. If you only focus on moving away from a painful situation, it will change the original problem, but it will be pot-luck on whether you end up in something significantly better.
Rather than leaving it to chance, spend a little time working out what you don’t want, what you’re drawn to, and your why, and you’ll be in a much better place to narrow down and decide on your next steps.
Look at the list you’ve created; do you already start to see the direction you may be headed?
Our conversations happen in our free Creative Adventure Tribe community (we’re a friendly bunch), so come and say hello! I’d love to hear from you – what’s the biggest thing you’ve discovered through doing these exercises?
Further reading: ‘Start with Why’, Simon Sinek (this is a referral link, but only because I think the book’s worth reading!)
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