4 Ways to Find Your Ideal Career While Maintaining a Job

Work- a recent topic in pop songs and a theme in many conversations we have with those close to us. Understandably so, seeing as how many people spend forty plus hours a week at their place of employment. So, are you happy with how you are spending your time?

Job satisfaction was a term I heard on numerous occasions in college, grad school, and as I entered my first “big kid,” job. However, I never understood what that truly meant, nor did I realize the impact that job dissatisfaction could have on a person and those around them. For those of you experiencing burn out, fatigue, morning dread, or frustration related to that 40-hour work week- read on. I’ve got 4 ideas to help you maintain your sanity, keep your hair on your head, and potentially save your marriage.

To put it briefly, job satisfaction is the level of contentment a person feels regarding his or her work. For those that feel satisfied, they are known to perform better, look for additional ways to excel in their environment, and have positive relationships with co-workers. However, for those on the other side of the spectrum, they are likely to be experiencing a number of not-so-fun symptoms. Irritability, boredom, lower productivity, and the all too famous Monday Morning blues and Sunday Scaries are typical.  

So just how widespread is job dissatisfaction? Now, I’m no statistician, but from super official, recent polls (including friends, family members, and colleagues) it appears as though people are finding themselves dissatisfied and in a rut. They have employment, it pays the bills, it fills the time, but it doesn’t feed their souls. I know- pretty statement but what do I mean by that? I mean that they feel like they could be doing something more, something better, and something more meaningful. Maybe this something would make them more money, give them more flexibility, or all of the above.

The question is how do we get this something when we are already working? How do we honor our passion and drive for something better when we have to maintain what is maintaining our livelihood?

1.   Get Specific on What You Want

All of those something’s I mentioned before- that won’t cut it. You must define WHAT that thing is. Once you have that ideal career in mind, make it feel real. Creating a vision board or simply writing out what this change would look like and feel like in your body and mind is an excellent way of changing the pathways in your brain. Doing this will shift your energy to thinking of how you can make this visualization become a reality. Look at your vision board or read through your statement at least two times a day- ideally in the morning and evening- to really let things simmer.

2.   Start the Search

Some of you may be thinking, “Start the search? When?! I have a job, Marina!” I know, I know. But this is important. Look at your schedule and make time. A few hours is all you need and you can split it up throughout the week. This is important because you want to have information about how many of these opportunities are out there. You want to know the names of major companies and start looking at qualifications needed for the job. You are simply gathering information to see if you would be able to support your current lifestyle if you were to make the jump from your job to your ideal career.

3.    Seek Weak Ties

Author, Meg Jay, PhD, of The Defining Decade, describes this in great detail. Weak ties are the people you meet through your stronger ties. They are the names you get when you ask people, “Is there anyone else you think I should talk to?” These weak ties become vital as you make your way into a new world because they can provide you with introductions that could ultimately lead to your ideal career- because as the saying goes, it's all about connections. Once have names on your weak ties list, it’s time to ask them for an informational interview. These can be brief, fifteen minute chats on the phone, or you can make it more official by treating them to coffee. This will give you an insiders look into what your ideal career is for those in it you are building relationships with the hopes that they can help you bridge the gap between mundane job and soul-fulfilling career.

4.    Create Your Plan A, B and C

YAY! Now you know what you want, you’ve assessed the job market, and have some contacts. If you ask me, you’re pretty golden. And, I’m going to take a shot in the dark and guess that going to work doesn’t feel as awful and you are finding more time in your schedule for job searches and coffee dates. This is all in thanks to the beauty of momentum and being proactive. From here, it is time to get out your notebook, calculator, calendar, and pencil and start thinking through logistics of when you will start applying, when your new start date could realistically be, and how you will financially make this shift. Start with your ideal world and then create back-up plans because life doesn’t always work out like Plan A. Setting dates and realistic goals throughout this process will help to hold you accountable and to go back to the first step- start sharing your vision with others. Telling people what you want is releasing your intention to the universe and you never know, maybe someone you tell could introduce you to an important weak tie!

 Feeling stuck is a crummy feeling. The good news is, you have a choice in how long you stay where you are at. Taking charge of your work world is empowering and creates positive ripple effects to those around you. Life is short, work can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. You have the power to create and love the life you want- SO GO DO IT!