Tuesday, November 6, 2018

What To Do When You're Not Happy With Your Job

Quick disclaimer before I even get into the nitty gritty of this post: this is not about my current job. I’m thinking most of y’all know that based on my excitement and level of happiness in my Step Into My Week posts. If not then now you know that I am far from unhappy at my new job. A little background for any of you who may have discovered my blog through this post. I went to Furman University where I majored in Elementary Education (graduated in 2017) and also got my master’s degree in Early Childhood Education (graduated in 2018). Long story short, I decided that teaching was not what I was overly passionate about at the time, so I took a risk and decided not to sign my contract to teach another year. Out of pride, I’d like to say it’s not that I wasn’t capable of the job or “good” at it but instead boiled down to me not finding a lot of joy in what I was doing. 

*I was probably counting down the number of months left in the school year in this photo.*

Fast forward to now, two months into my job as an Editorial Assistant at a magazine in Birmingham, Alabama and I am excited on my way to work each day. It wasn’t until I started this experience that I realized how unhappy I was in my previous job. Ever since bringing y’all in on this life change I’ve gotten so many messages from people about how I figured out that I wanted to do something else/what to do to work toward a job you like/ or how to figure out what you want to do. While I love that y’all come to me for advice I know that this scenario is so different for everyone. Because of that. I thought I’d attempt to cover what I can by sharing 5 different things that I’d recommend (from experience) to do when you find that you’re not happy with your job.

Attempt to discover what it is that is making you unhappy

Definitely easier said than done. While I don’t think I’d boil it down to one specific thing, my eyes were really opened to what was making me unhappy when I had to turn down cool blog collaborations or ideas I had because I didn’t have time to work on them. While this doesn’t fully pertain to unhappiness in teaching, it did help me to realize that I was more interested in what was happening in the blog/creative realm than creating lessons and lesson planning. Because teaching was my job, it came first, but it became clearer that I wanted to be blogging or doing something along those lines instead. 

While I could list different things about teaching that I didn’t necessarily agree with I’m not going to list those here. I will say that when you are trying to pinpoint what is making you unhappy, be sure that the instances listed aren’t one time events. Being unhappy with a situation is different than being unhappy with a job, and that’s important to remember since there will more than likely be situations in any given job that may make you unhappy without being unhappy with the job itself. 

Find a hobby

You’re looking at mine. I think I would have gone crazy if I didn’t have some sort of outlet from work and school last year. Fortunately, my blog allowed me to escape work for a bit and focus creative energy on something I enjoyed. If you hate writing then blogging isn’t going to be a smart choice for you, but maybe that hobby is working out, crafting, or cooking. Whatever it may be, make it something you look forward to. There are times when my hobby turns into a to-do, and that’s ok but remember that you don’t necessarily have to be good at a hobby for it to be a hobby.

Talk about it with family and/or trusted friends (and only trusted friends)

One thing that I think a lot of people (myself included at times) get caught up in when they realize that they are unhappy with their job is keeping it to themselves. Taking on the mentality that maybe if I don’t say out loud that I’m unhappy that it won’t be true. I’m a perfectionist by nature, so this is how I felt for a while, but eventually, I realized that I was adding to my own unhappiness by doing this. 

It’s important to talk to people about this whether they are just there to listen or maybe share some of their own insight with you. My family and a few trusted friends were my go/to people when I was feeling so bogged down with work. It wasn’t until moving to Birmingham and starting my new job that my parents mentioned that it was nice to get phone calls from me where I wasn’t stressed and sounded happy. In hindsight maybe I should’ve added a bit of positivity to those times when I vented to my parents but more than anything it was necessary to get those thoughts out of my head. I would definitely air on the side of caution with who you choose to talk about this with as you’d hate for someone to share this personal information with others. I am lucky that the friends I chose to talk to about being unhappy were nothing but supportive and kept their mouths closed, haha. 

Read a career book

For those of you that have read my blog for a while, you know that I am not one to steer clear of self-help style books. In fact, I like to alternate them with psychological thrillers which makes my bookshelf laughable thanks to the combination of these two genres. While a career book won’t switch a flip and make you happy in your job, it may give you some ideas on how to work towards that happiness or give insight on what you’d rather be doing. I just scrolled through my Amazon orders from the last year, and it became clear pretty quickly that I was using these books to do the latter. Below are some of the career books I read and would recommend.

Do y’all think I’m crazy yet? 

Make a list of ways you can start working toward a career you’re interested in

If you are realizing that you really are unhappy in your job, making a list of ways you can start working toward a career you’re interested in. Even if you don’t know what exactly that career is, coming up with a game plan can definitely add some optimism to your days when you’re unhappy. For me, that was researching jobs and creating a long list on my phone of companies I’d be interested in working for. LinkedIn is a great place to do this. I also reached out to people doing what I was interested in. By doing that I happened to land a remote role managing the social media for a boutique PR firm. Now looking back I think doing that and making connections with the owner was how I landed the role I am currently in since she works with many of the people at the company I work for. Regardless of whether you are putting this list into action right away or gaining a sense of encouragement from it nothing is too big or small to write down! 

Even though it’s hard to be concrete in this type of post with people doing different careers and having varied interest, I hope that this post helped any of you that may be feeling unsure if the career you are in is the right fit for you. I’ve been there and can relate so never hesitate to reach out!

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