Your job is making you absolutely miserable. But, wait just one minute. Is it actually your job—or is it your employer?
There’s no doubt about it—the two can be easily confused. However, before you become convinced that you’re in need of a total career 180, you’ll want to press the pause button and take some time to evaluate. Is it what you’re doing that you dislike so strongly, or is it who you’re doing it for?
Believe me, I know that figuring that out isn’t always easy. So, ask yourself these four questions and you’re sure to gain some clarity and determine your best course of action.
1. What’s My Favorite Part of My Current Job? What’s My Absolute Least Favorite Part?
First, let’s take a magnifying glass to your existing gig. This is crucial for determining what’s working for you, as well as what isn’t.
Sit down, think through your day-to-day, and zone on the thing you love the absolute most about what you’re doing right now. Perhaps it’s a key responsibility you have or a big project you’ve been working on. Whatever it is, find that one thing that you adore the most about your current job.
On the flipside, you’ll also want to take some time to identify the thing you undeniably loathe. What part of your position makes you groan uncontrollably and heave endless exasperated sighs? Thinking that through definitely isn’t as much fun, but it’s still important.
So, where exactly is this question getting you? Let’s break it down. If you have no trouble thinking of an aspect of your position that really makes you feel fulfilled, that’s probably a good indicator that you’re on the right path in your career. And, on the other side of that coin? If you’re really racking your brain only to eventually land on your decent dental plan as the very best part of your job? It might be time to make some changes.
The question about your least favorite aspect works the same way. Are those dreadful parts of your job more employer-based—such as too few vacation days or gossipy, rude co-workers? Or, is it something specifically tied to your position? That too can shine some light on what you need to do next.
2. What Three Words Would I Use to Describe My Boss? What About My Co-workers?
I know what it’s like to have your brain feel so clouded that you have no idea which way is up. And, needless to say, that confused state of mind can only make your situation that much tougher.
So, now, instead of focusing solely on what you’re doing, it’s time to turn the spotlight on who you’re doing it with. Grab a notepad and jot down the first three words that spring to mind when you think of your supervisor, and then do the exact same thing for your colleagues.
Take a look at what you wrote down. Do you see mostly positive words, like “supportive” or “motivating?” Or, did you mainly list things like “overbearing” or “untrustworthy?”
The environment you work in can have a huge impact on how you feel about your career overall. So, taking the time to evaluate what you truly think about the people you work with will help you to focus in on what’s actually bothering you about your current position.
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