I came across a television interview from August of this year, 2012. They were discussing a survey conducted by PARADE magazine and Yahoo! Finance of 26,000 Americans on job satisfaction and job happiness. The survey found that almost 60 percent would choose a different career if they had it to do all over again. This makes sense to me when I see the number of people in my consulting work that feel ill suited for what they do every day, and the number of college students that I teach each semester who seem confused about what they really want to do for a living.
Imagine a world where we all enjoyed what we get out of bed to do for 8 or more hours every day. I am fascinated by who likes their jobs and who doesn’t. When I travel, which I do quite a bit, I inquire with the hotel clerk, the limo driver, the waitress, and everyone else I encounter about how much they enjoy what they do. Many people in the service business respond enthusiastically that they love what they do, but are they saying that to me as a customer or are they being sincere? How many people have found their career bliss?
As we grow and change, our interests, passions and aptitudes sometimes change along with us. Something what we enjoyed in our 20s may not be as enjoyable in our 40s or 50s, or the job itself changes. In many firms, the job someone took ten years ago isn’t the job they have today. They are doing more with less, doing new things they aren’t as skilled at, or being asked to change their approach in order to be successful. In some companies, large or small, change is the only constant.
What if you could go back to the beginning? What if you could have a fresh start and choose an entirely different career? Would you do it? Most of us wouldn’t – and don’t – because we feel stuck. We may have paid our dues and climbed the ladder and we don’t want to start at the bottom rung again. Maybe we are afraid of losing our income or having to use a nest egg to pay our way for additional education. There are many obstacles to taking an entirely different direction, but for a moment suspend these and consider some steps you could take to find a more meaningful career. What should you think about when pursuing a new career? Let’s examine five key ideas:
As you read this list, I hope you find something that may spur an interest in finding other opportunities for a career or job that interests you, engages you and makes you happier than you are right now.