You’ve had a few jobs throughout your career. And, while you like them all (at least somewhat) to begin with, the same thing always starts to happen after a certain amount of time.
Slowly but surely, you begin to detest that job of yours. Sure, things go along pretty swimmingly in the beginning. But, you can never seem to stay totally happy—regardless of your particular circumstances.
Maybe you have a hard time relating to your co-workers. Perhaps you think your boss is an overbearing micromanager. Or, perhaps the mere thought of trudging into the office and checking your inbox makes getting out of bed in the morning feel like a feat of superhuman strength.
Yep, after a few months—or maybe even a few years—you feel an itch. Your job makes you miserable, so you jump ship and move onto something new. But, sure enough—just like clockwork—sooner or later you feel that same way all over again.
So, what’s the deal? Why can you never seem to stay content with a job for longer than a year or two?
Believe it or not, this is a common problem. We can all get a little restless in our careers. And, we’ve likely all heard the old clichés about the grass always looking greener on the other side.
But, you don’t need me to tell you that changing jobs every year or so isn’t necessarily a recommended strategy for professional development. Sometimes, it’s good to plant roots somewhere. However, that’s undoubtedly difficult to do if you can never seem to stay happy where you are.
What can you do? Don’t panic yet. Instead, it’s time for a little bit of self-reflection.
It’s Not Them, It’s You
First things first, let’s start with a little reality check. While it’s easy to think that your no-good, terrible employers are the sole reason for your constant career unhappiness, have you ever stopped to shift the spotlight to yourself? Could the problem actually be you?
Well, to be brutally honest, yes. Chances are, you’re having a hard time feeling happy in your career because you’re still relatively uncertain about what exactly you want. And, it’s pretty challenging to feel satisfied or fulfilled if you have no idea what you’re actually looking for.
In fact, more often than not, that’ll lead you to jump from the frying pan right into the fire—much like what you’ve been doing up until now.
So, while you might be tempted to constantly shift blame to all of the external circumstances that could be causing your dissatisfaction, don’t forget to be a little introspective. We all have way more control over our own happiness than we often even realize.
How to Move Forward
Now that you’ve swallowed that brutal reality pill, what’s next for you? How can you move on in a way that’s actually helpful and productive—rather than continuing to hop around from unlikable job to unlikable job?
1. Make a List
The first thing you need to do is gain some clarity. What exactly is making you so unhappy job after job? What are you missing? What are you looking for?
I recommend making a two-column list to help you really narrow your focus. In one column, list the positives—these are the things you’re actively looking for in a new job or a new employer. Perhaps it’s an entirely different set of responsibilities. Or, maybe it’s a flexible work schedule. The sky’s the limit. Jot down everything that you think would make you truly happy in your career.
In the other column, list the negatives—or, the things that you absolutely don’t want in your next role. Maybe you hate your boss’ management style. Or, perhaps you want to get out of a specific industry. Whatever it is, list those things in this column.
Now, you have a helpful checklist of sorts to help you better evaluate any new opportunities that present themselves. You can use that criterion to ensure that you don’t end up in yet another short-term situation.
2. Seek Outside Fulfillment
There’s no denying that your career makes up a large portion of your life. You spend at least 40 hours per week in the office, and you often see your co-workers more than any of your friends and family members.
However, if you find yourself continuously wrapped up in a spiral of being unhappy with your job, it might be time that you try to find some happiness outside the four walls of your office. Find a hobby or interest that you’re passionate about. Or, start up a side hustle to utilize some of the skills you think are otherwise untapped. Do what you can to try to find some satisfaction in your life that isn’t completely tied to your job.
Your personal life and your overall attitude can have an immense impact on the way you perceive your work. So, finding some fulfillment and interest outside of your career can give you a much sunnier outlook inside the office!
We all want a career that makes us happy. But, many of us fall into the trap of becoming dissatisfied with our positions after a certain amount of time.
If you find yourself falling victim to this over and over again, it might be time that you take a close look at your situation—rather than continuously moving around in search of greener pastures. Use this post as your guide, make your list, and prepare to finally feel a little more content with your employment situation