How to bring a dead-end job back to life
Do you ever feel like your career is limping along on life-support, or that you’re trapped in an unrewarding, dead-end job with little or no prospect of improvement? Well, you’re not alone. Recent research has shown that around half of us would like to trade in our current job for another, and two-thirds of young people want to leave their position in order to satisfy their career ambitions.
But these statistics alone should be enough to suggest that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and that sometimes the key to improving your work life lies not in jumping ship, but staying put and taking responsibility for reviving your career. In fact, most of the time, professional discontent is the result of unrealistic expectations about what we hope to get from our job.
Here are four tips which will help breathe new life into your role, allowing you to focus on building your career, rather than job-hopping in the misguided pursuit of happiness:
Don’t focus on money
Sure, we would all like a raise, and we all need to earn enough to make ends meet, but if money is the be-all and end-all, you will never be satisfied. The problem is that wealth is relative, and after the initial buzz of making more money, your mentality and lifestyle will quickly adjust, leaving you yearning for another raise, and in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction. If you learn to appreciate the other more inherently rewarding aspects of your job, not only will you feel more fulfilled, but it’s more likely that your performance will improve, and you will be receive the financial compensation you deserve as a result.
Don’t live just to work, and don’t work just to live
Your job shouldn’t just be what puts food on the table, it should also be what makes you raring to go in the morning, but there needs to be a healthy balance. Your job is a huge part of your life, and if you treat it simply as something to be tolerated for eight hours each day so that you can enjoy the rest of your free-time, it’s inevitable that you will be left feeling dissatisfied with your life overall. Likewise, if you work obsessively and allow your job to take over other areas of your life, professional setbacks or slower-than-expected progress can have a disproportional effect on your general wellbeing.
Don’t take shortcuts
A truly rewarding career is about the journey rather than the destination, so don’t take shortcuts in an attempt to race your way the “top”. Much like pay rises, the positive psychological impact of receiving a promotion is very short-lived, with many managers actually reporting feeling less satisfied with their job just one year of receiving their promotion, as the afterglow wears off and the longer hours, extra stress, and added responsibilities take their toll. Instead of unsettling yourself by slinging your hook every time a seemingly better position opens up elsewhere, sometimes the best thing for your career may be to stay where you are and get the experience you need to achieve in the long-run. If you learn to view your current role as more than a mere stepping stone to somewhere else you’d rather be, you will come to appreciate it much more.
Identify realistic targets that will make you happy
Professionally speaking, it is the act of expressing ourselves and utilising our talents that makes us happy, as opposed to “success” in and of itself, or the financial and status rewards that come with it as a by-product. This is because working towards personal development goals provides real meaning to your day-to-day schedule and helps cultivate a sense of purpose which is absolutely essential for long-term satisfaction. It’s possible to find real meaning in any job, no matter how dreary it may seem, if you approach it from a different angle and focus on the opportunities it gives you to build friendships with colleagues, fund university studies, develop new individual skills, or provide for your family.