Growing up, my dad always told me, “Never turn what you do in your off time into your full-time job.” It made sense to my young, naive, inexperienced mind. If you love to do something, you’d probably start hating it the moment you absolutely had to do it, right? I love my dad. He loved me, raised me, and supported me through some very rough times. But dad, if you’re reading this, I want you to know: you were 100% wrong.
The reality is, doing something you love, even if you have to do it, is a thousand times better than doing something you hate. I know. In eight years, I bounced between six different jobs. It wasn’t that I didn’t work hard or didn’t get along with my coworkers. It was that I was doing things that I had no interest in, that didn’t make me happy, simply because I got paid. I got sick of spending so much of my life doing something I absolutely despised.
I’m not alone either. A study published by Gettysburg College showed that human beings will spend about a third of their lives, or around 90,000 hours, at work. That’s a lot of time to spend being miserable. I made the decision to break away and start doing what I really wanted to do, which was blogging. I’ve met plenty of others who’ve shared similar experiences. If you’re ready for a change, then this post is for you.
Think About What It is You Hate About Your Job
Before you do anything else, you need to determine what it is that bugs you so much about your job. Being miserable is bad enough, but if you can’t determine the root cause, that’s going to make your next steps much harder.
Give yourself a chance to step away from your job. Get to a calm state of mind where you can think objectively. Once you can, ask yourself:
- Do I hate the work I’m doing?
- Would I enjoy doing it somewhere else?
- Do I feel like I don’t get paid enough?
- Is my boss a complete jerk?
- Do my coworkers bother me?
- Do I not get enough time off?
It’s important that you know the answer to these and other questions related to your job. If your misery stems from the fact that your company sucks, that makes things easier. If the problem lies in the nature of your work, that can potentially make things more complicated.
If Your Company/Boss/Coworkers Are the Issue, Start Job-Hunting
So long as the reasons you’re not happy at your job are external, odds are you simply need to move to a different company. The job market’s in a weird spot right now. Tech jobs are in high demand, as are healthcare positions. Other positions are advertised so infrequently it’s like they don’t even exist. Whatever the case is for your job field, bear the following in mind as you start your job search.
Update Your Resume Now
Before you forget all the wonderful things you’ve done (and all the numbers to back them up) update your resume. You may despise the work you’re doing but if you don’t use your experiences to showcase what you can do, then it really was a waste of your life. Plus, the more time you spend refining your resume now, the more time you can devote to practicing for job interviews.
Keep Your Search a Secret for Now
We can say it’s illegal all we want. The reality is there plenty of ways to fire someone without any real cause. If employers know that one of their employees aren’t happy and want to quit, many will be keen to show them the door themselves.
Continue to Tolerate, but Not at the Expense of Your Health
Ideally, you should never quit your job until you already have another lined up. The simple reason is that you need money to survive. However, your mental health is critical as well. If your job is literally making you depressed, to the point that you’re thinking about harming yourself, you need to leave immediately.
If The Problem is the Job Itself
This is where things can get a little tricky. If the job you do is the issue, it probably won’t matter where you do it, how much you get paid, or how great your boss is. You’ll just keep being miserable. Making a career change can be one of the hardest experiences that anyone can endure. Fortunately, we’ve got plenty of resources now that previous generations didn’t have.
Look for Another Role Within Your Company
Did you know that 80% of the jobs companies need to fill are never opened to the public? I didn’t either until recently but it’s true. Most companies tend to fill their open positions with the employees they already have. That’s great news for you. If you’re already established in your company and have the recommendations of your supervisor and coworkers, see if there’s another role you can hop into.
Companies love to retain people whenever they can. Hiring new employees takes time. They have to find them, train them, orient them and hope they live up to the claims they made on their resume. If you’ve done your job well, then a company will be far more willing to give you another position, even if you’re not a 100% match to the position.
Start Your Own Online Business
Want a guaranteed way to get a job you love that doesn’t require a college degree? Become your own boss. E-commerce is quickly becoming the default way that people buy goods and services. Operating purely in the digital domain means you can run your business from anywhere, engage clients from all over the world, and not limit yourself to a certain career field.
Get Your Degree in a New Field
As much as the prospect of getting another degree may suck, or getting one if you’ve never had one, the reality is that it’s almost always necessary. Georgetown University reported that 65% of open jobs require either an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree, at a minimum. The advantage you have is that, since you’re already employed, you have a steady stream of income to sustain you while you do night classes.