Career Strategies 101: Are You Falling Out of Love With Your Job?

February 10, 2017

This February, JEVS Career Strategies takes a look at being in love…or not…with your job. When you think the romance is gone, what should you do? What kind of research is needed before making a decision about your next career? Finally, just how transferrable are your skills - and what can you do to strengthen your case for a career change? Maxine Katz, former JEVS Career Advisor, returns to help, should you be rethinking your relationship…with your job.

It might just be this time of year. Clients tell me that they’re no longer in love…with their job.

It’s easy to find similarities between dating and the job search process. Both involve putting one’s best foot forward.  Participants should know their priorities, their needs and recognize that compromise will always be part of the deal. And sometimes, despite all good intentions, a long-term partnership suddenly sours.

In my capacity as a career advisor, I have often been told, “I just hate being a teller/in sales/a lawyer/a cook/in administration. And I want to leave it behind.”

Sometimes this is followed by the job that they’d rather have (more on that in Part II), but usually it’s just a blanket statement of frustration over a changed role, assignment, relationship with a manager, or general dissatisfaction with the working environment or conditions.

At JEVS Career Strategies, a key part of my job involves helping clients determine what about their current job is causing pain. Sometimes, I’ll start by asking them to list what they like and dislike about their present position.

“I like flexible hours, but I don’t feel like I’m learning anything.”

“I feel fulfilled in what I do, but the money is really an issue. I have to support my family.”

"I thought I liked working with people, but realized that I feel more successful when I can work on a project on my own."

Through this process, the client begins to really think about preferences. You think about the things you need out of a career, and what you’d like to have, if possible. Sort of like selecting the perfect person, right?

Well, yes. But no.

Because in truth, people aren’t 100% perfect. And in most cases, neither are careers. But both may be able to fulfill your needs, wants, and expectations – at least a good portion of the time. That’s why determining what’s important to you should always be the first step before deciding to take a career leap!

Circumstances may dictate that you must take a particular job at some point or another – to pay the bills, for instance. But it doesn’t mean that we give up on our life’s plan – and a life plan involves more than a career; it could involve family, volunteerism, work/life balance, and personal goals. Finding the mix that works best for us – and deciding what we can deal with (valuing love and loyalty while tolerating, say, snoring or working in a cube) – is an essential part of keeping that career-loving feeling going.

Next up: What to research when you feel a career change is in order, and how to ask for help!

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