Feeling stuck?  How to decide your next career move

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No job is perfect but if you’re dreading going to work each day then something’s got to change.  We spend about a third of our adult lives at work so we might as well try and enjoy it.  The most important thing is to make sure you don’t feel ‘stuck’ in a job you aren’t happy in. There are always options, it’s just a matter of which one works best for you in your current situation.

Option 1: Leave your job – this can sometimes seem like the only option available and when something is not working out, quitting might be tempting.  But it’s not always that simple.  For starters you need to either be in a financial position where you can afford to not work for a while, or have another job lined up, otherwise you can end up putting more stress on yourself.  If you decide to find another job, make sure it suits your priorities.  For example, if work-life balance is important to you, you obviously don’t want to start a new job where the culture and expectation is to work long hours.  And if you love working in a team, make sure the job is one where you get to interact with others each day.

Option 2: Stay at your current job and change your perspective.  Sometimes the best solution is to accept your current situation and look at it from a different angle, focusing on the parts of your job you do like.  This option might be best if there are just a few minor things you don’t like about your job but on the whole it suits your situation well.

Option 3: Think about what you could do differently to make your job more enjoyable day to day.  It might be a matter of socialising more with your colleagues at morning tea and lunch, or could be thinking about how you can redesign your job to fit with your skills and interests more.  Often you can create a win-win situation for you and your employer if you think about what you could offer to your role that isn’t currently part of your job description.  It might mean adding to your workload slightly but sometimes this might be worth it to do a little more of what you enjoy each day.  Or there may be ways to remove other tasks from your job by delegating or designing more efficient processes to give you time to do more of the things you love.

Option 4: Talk to a career coach to get some advice and help you work out what it is you really want to do.  If you aren’t sure what it is you should be doing with your life, it might be time to take a step back and look at the options.  One question we often use in coaching is ‘If you won lotto, what would you do?’ (Once you’ve finished travelling the world and shopping of course!) This can help us identify our true values and passions, thinking about what we would do if money wasn’t a factor, and could lead us towards finding out what kind of job fits with that. If you can’t afford to see a career coach, Careers NZ offer free advice over their helpline as well as a full online database of job options and online quizzes.

Life’s too short to wait until later to be happy.  As Steve Jobs said, ‘your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work… And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.  If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.  Don’t settle.’

Good luck!

Lx

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