As a career coach, I don’t feel like I should ever admit to career misery. But it happened. I had returned to working a traditional job after years of consulting and freelancing. It was during a time in my life where I needed a steady paycheck and some stability.

My first mistake was not standing my ground during my salary negotiation. After that, the only way for me to make the money I deserved was to change jobs within the organization. Well, unfortunately for me that meant using skills I didn’t enjoy and tossing out the ones I did. I went from creating a training department using all of my favorite skills to doing IT work. I got my bump in pay but became very depressed in the process. Here’s how I took my career back. I hope it’s helpful to you.

Know What Is Making You Miserable

Sure, we all know what we don’t like at our jobs, but to figure out the exact misery triggers and whether or not those are going to change in the near future is something to look at. Not everyone has the same career happiness formula. For some, it’s all about the money. Others seek connection with coworkers and don’t care if they enjoy the work they are doing. And still others need to be really engaged in the work itself. There are many factors that go into job satisfaction. For me, it was figuring out that I needed to like the work I was doing and the people I was doing it with. In this instance, that meant time for a change. Figure out the biggest pain points and what you can do to change them now.

Don’t Settle for Less

Some people think they will never find anything better than the crummy job they have right now. They suffer through and are miserable because they ultimately feel this is as good as it’s going to get. You would never have this kind of thinking with regard to a life partner, so why would you have it about your career? The truth is, you spend at least as much time at your job as you do with your spouse, so why would you settle for something less than great? Don’t fall prey to limited thinking, especially when it concerns how you spend a great deal of your lifetime. You can do something else and in many cases you can change what isn’t working now into something much better.

Invest In Yourself

It’s so funny how people will spend money on their kids and even on their pets, but when it comes to spending it on themselves, they get cheap. I think being cheap with your career is probably one of the biggest mistakes you can make. When we focus on saving money on the thing that is going to make us money, we are missing the boat. My dad always says, “Don’t put good money after bad”. What I’d like to say is don’t be one of the people who won’t put good money for their own good. Take the time to figure out what you want to do or how this current situation needs to change. Make the investment whether that be in coaching, counseling or additional education. 

Take Some Dream Time

Sure, I believe a LOT in being practical. No job is perfect and there is dysfunction everywhere, BUT that is no excuse for living out a miserable career existence. You need to get in touch with your own interests, favorite skills, desires, and needs to put together a career that works for you. Is there a way to start incorporating some of those things into your current position? A lot of people are scared to make changes at their job or pursue anything that resembles a passion, but if it is something you are truly excited about, your chances for success are mighty indeed. Give yourself permission to fantasize about what could be. Once you get in touch with that, then you can put your practicality hat back on. Don’t jump head first into practicality. Heart first, then head.

Get a Career Plan

Once you’ve figured out what you really want to do or what needs to change at your current position, take the necessary steps to move forward. Have that meeting, write that business plan, get your resume in order, start networking. You need a goal that you are working toward so you can be focused during your quest. If you are not focused, another year is going to go by and you might be sitting in that same chair (scary thought, right?) A plan puts you into action and directs your activities. A plan makes you accountable. A plan helps to ensure your success. A plan you are excited about brings you the joy you really want to experience.

Your happiness is calling. Right now it is in the form of misery. I got so unhappy in my job before I made the change back to starting my business. I am grateful for my misery because it got me here.

I would love to help you do the same. Contact me at Careerfulness for a free coaching session. 

Written by Pam Farone.