Many people struggle to find a career they truly love. A lot of people simply fall into a career straight out of university or college and stick at it for a few years before realising it’s not for them. This leaves people in a tricky situation because they’re torn between carrying on in an industry they hate, but where they can earn good money, or taking the plunge and starting all over again doing something else. This problem is more common than you might think, with more than half of American workers unhappy with their jobs according to Forbes. So, how can you either learn to love the job you have, or find a new one that will make you happy?
Seek better pay
Money can’t buy you happiness, but if you feel like you’re being undervalued financially at work that can have an impact on how much enjoyment you get from your job. This negative feeling can be compounded if you know that colleagues who have a similar job role are paid much more than you. Additionally, if you earn below a certain amount, you’re much more likely to be unhappy generally, regardless of how fulfilling your job otherwise is. This is because a lack of money can create stress, for example, if you are struggling to pay your rent and bills. Even if you are covering your bills with ease, you still might not earn enough. You need to have some disposable income too, to be able to truly enjoy your downtime with friends and family. If you don’t have this kind of social interaction due to money concerns, this can become a source of unhappiness.
Do some research and find out how much someone in your job role should be getting paid. If your salary is lower, either renegotiate it with your current employer or apply for other roles where you can be compensated better.
To get your dream career you may have to go to university and retrain. Becoming a doctor, pilot or lawyer is a dream for many, but the cold hard reality is that you may have to get new qualifications – at a great personal expense – to get where you want. Vet jobs, for example, will require you to have a veterinary science or medicine degree, but they are some of the most rewarding ways you can earn money. By looking after people’s beloved animals, you get the dual benefit of helping animals that can’t help themselves and making their owners extremely happy. You can’t put a price on happiness, so if the cost of a university course is what it takes to make you happier in your job, it’s a price that’s well worth paying.
Build relationships with your colleagues
Most people don’t go to work to make friends. However, having positive relationships with colleagues can take elevate a job from an average one to an enjoyable one, or an unbearable job to one that is just about tolerable. We all get stressed at work sometimes, and it’s great to vent to your partner, parents, or friends every once in a while. However, venting to colleagues is one of the most cathartic ways of relieving work stress, as they truly understand what you’ve gone through. Equally, having positive relationships with your colleagues means they’ll be more willing to come to your aid if you’re in a bind, and give you the benefit of the doubt if you make a mistake. Simply put, coming into work is just more enjoyable when you know that you get on with your co-workers, and they’ll have your back if you find yourself in a tight spot.
Do more diverse tasks
Are you stuck in a job where you do the same task, hour after hour, day after day, chances are you find it quite miserable. Yes, there is certainly some enjoyment and mindfulness to be found in doing repetitive tasks occasionally, but if it’s your daily existence it’s not much fun. People who are satisfied in their jobs tend to have a more diverse range of tasks to work on throughout the day. Being trusted by your manager to undertake a range of different tasks and execute them well is also something that will contribute to a positive working environment. Poor management is one of the main reasons people leave their jobs, and being micromanaged or not trusted is often a big push for people to resign. Working on a variety of different things and being trusted to do so can help boost your job satisfaction exponentially.
Find something you excel at
Many people find a sense of satisfaction in doing a job they are good at. This isn’t necessarily the same thing as doing something you’re passionate about – although you may well be good at doing that too. It’s more about something you just instinctively understand. Something you took to with ease, without the need for much training. It might be something you never expected to do before you started your career, or something you weren’t even aware existed.
Think about your job, and your duties, as well as jobs and responsibilities you’ve had in the past. Is there anything you have done that you are exceptionally good at? It doesn’t have to be the main part of your role, it could just be something that you do now and then. Whatever that might be, why not try and make a career of it? People who are good at what they do tend to have high job satisfaction and, as you might expect, tend to go further in their career too.
Find something relaxed
Some people thrive on pressure. Others really, really don’t. If you’re part of the latter group, is it possible that your current role is just a bit too high pressure? If that’s the case, there’s no shame in looking around for a role that isn’t as intense. If it’s the industry itself that’s intense, rather than the specific role you could decide to leave the industry altogether. Some industries are all-encompassing, and people who aren’t willing to give over every waking hour of their lives are doomed to fail. If this sounds familiar, a change of industry could help you find happiness at work.
Don’t be afraid to move sideways (or down!)
If you’re in a job where you’re earning great wages, but want to move on to another career, the reality of that decision can be daunting. You may be trying to get into another industry and having the slow painful realisation that you’ll have to take a cut in pay. At best, you may have to make a sideways move and take a similar salary to the one you’re on now. However, don’t be put off by this. This is a short term sacrifice you have to make to be happier in both the short and long term. The alternative is to stay in the industry you’re in now and keep earning more money. Since you’re reading this article, chances are that’s not what you want. So take that pay cut, and start a career you’ll enjoy.
Find a job where you care for others
Doctors, psychologists, hairdressers, and beauticians all report high levels of job satisfaction because they get paid to help others. It’s a known psychological phenomenon that human beings feel good when they get to help others. Therefore, if you make it your life’s work, it stands to reason that you’ll be much happier as a result.