Thursday, September 15, 2011

I Hate my Dream Job. What to Do When the Dream Becomes a Nightmare.

Studies show that the average adult will change careers – not just jobs – five to seven times in their life. Obviously, this number fluctuates by individual and based upon circumstances. I can honestly say, I have never had a dream of what I wanted to be “when I grew up.” However, if you told me 10 years ago that I would own a successful resume writing and career services business, I probably would have thought you were crazy.

I was speaking with a friend yesterday whose good friend sold everything, relocated his family and made a complete life change because he always dreamed of being a police officer. Fast-forward 8 months later and it turns out he absolutely loathes being a police officer. Hating your job, dreading getting out of your car in the parking lot, is no way to spend the majority of your time. Here are some things to think about if you ever land your dream job, and find it to be less – or more – than you expected.

Why are you unhappy?
It is difficult to make the right change unless you know what is bothering you. Organize your thoughts and feelings about what you like and dislike in the career. Once you complete this exercise, you can decide if you need to make another career change or just a change of employers.

Do you dislike the career, or is it just the company, job or supervisor?
People often confuse disliking their boss or the environment in which they work for hating their career. Do you like what you are doing, but don’t like the people you work for or with? Does the current company for which you work expect you to compromise your values? Sometimes you just need to look for a different place to work, or a different person to work for, without leaving your career field.

How can you combine the parts of your dream job you love with another career field?
The new police officer I told you about earlier did not like arresting people and did not like having to work overnight shifts as a new police officer. He enjoyed serving the public, liked the investigative work and felt good about upholding the law. Assess your values and your personality and define what you like about your current career field. Look for opportunities where you can combine the best parts of your career with your values and personality to find the right fit.

Research before you leap the next time.
Always conduct as much real-world research as possible. Perform informational interviews, talk to people in the career field and ask them what it is really like to have the job. Make good decisions based on your research and analysis before you jump in with both feet.

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