Out of Love with Your Job? 5 Tips for You.
Valentine’s Day has come and gone but finding the right mate is not the only search that strikes at your heart. Let’s face it, the reality of finding that one career that ignites your passion on a daily basis may be an overly idealistic view. Sure, it’s possible, but as the term “misemployment” gains traction, we see so many people in jobs that aren’t necessarily the best fit. With an uncertain economic climate, it is understandable how people may just feel that the best solution is to stay put. Just like love between people, sometimes it takes a bit of effort to remain committed when we don’t feel valued. If you think of your job as a partner that you may have drifted apart from over the years, some of same solutions may apply for a more harmonious union. Here are a 4 tips to consider:
1. Happiness is cultivated.
We don’t all have to aspire to be Will Ferrell’s “Buddy the Elf” character. Sometimes, people have an idea that happy is an energetic state of being that requires a completely different personality. But, maybe your happy is sitting quietly with jazz and a morning paper. Start by figuring out what makes you happy and make better use of your time away from work to cultivate it. If you haven’t had the time to explore things you enjoy, join a Meetup group to get some ideas. There are groups for hikers, knitters, for critical thinkers and even for straight up laughing.
One thing is for certain, it will be far easier to find the good parts in a 40-hour work week when you are able to enjoy life outside of work. It’s the old “live to work vs. work to live.”
2. Take a sabbatical . . .or at least a vacation.
Of course it’s not possible for everyone to take a lengthy break but with some very careful and long-term planning, people have been able to do just this. Just this past week, a news feature on a NYC TV channel featured a young couple (and their toddler), who quit their very demanding jobs to travel in Europe. Check out the video below. There are also several websites devoted to sabbatical resources that help people make the most effective use of their time away from work. A sabbatical is not about taking a vacation but, really, a means of exploring an interest and re-gaining some life mojo, so to speak. Check out YourSabbatical.com for some ideas.
If a sabbatical is not in your cards, consider taking a vacation. The majority of people have un-used vacation days. If you’re at a job you don’t love and don’t take time away from it, this may foster some resentment, even illness. Whether you plan an exotic getaway or a family-filled “staycation,” a break is not only helpful, but necessary. This is also true for people who love their jobs.
3. Nurture a side-business
Entrepreneurship is on the rise. If hand-knitted hats on Etsy isn’t your thing, worry not because turning your skills into a small business may be just the cure for your job blues. Not only will it earn you extra money but it just might lead to opportunities you hadn’t considered. While researching stories just like these for my book, we received more than 50 examples of people who had cultivated side businesses that reinvigorated them and, in some cases, yielded more income than their “day jobs.” Some examples were the teacher/home garden consultant, the firefighter who launched a junk hauling business and the engineer who developed a product that became so popular, he was able to retire.
4. Prep yourself for your next gig.
I know that sounds obvious but so many people who are unhappy in their jobs are not doing all they can do to find the next one, or should I say, “Be found”. Today, with tools like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, professionals can be putting their best face out there showcasing their skills, and interests. I tell every job seeking client today: the Job Search is no longer a “search”, it’s a self-promotion process. And, yes, while you are still employed and need to be discrete, writing a blog or engaging in knowledge -powered networking on LinkedIn are strategies that every professional should be considering as part of their regular career management process in this new economy.
5. Take Stock
Not to get too metaphysical, but as the Jon Kabbat-Zinn book says, “Wherever You Go, There You Are.” It’s a good idea to try and separate how you feel about work from how you feel about life. If there is depression, it’s not a bad idea to tackle that first otherwise any new job may lead to similar feelings once the novelty wears off.
With Valentine’s Day, along came increased talk of love and gratitude. As in any relationship, being happy and fulfilled makes you a better partner. So if it doesn’t come from your job, tap into other ways to make your heart sing. Chances are, other people will take notice.