I’m Having a Career Crisis, Now What?

If you wake up in the morning dreading the idea of going to your job or just don’t know what you want to do with your career, you’re not alone. When you consider that 80 percent of Americans and 75 percent of Canadians are unhappy with their jobs, something’s gotta give.

There’s more:

A shocking 32 percent of workers said that they wanted to leave their jobs and 25

percent had no definite plans to leave but were apathetic and even more negative about their work than employees considering an exit.

Ouch!

All of these numbers are important because if people are happy at work, they tend to be happier in their personal lives. So, if people are unhappy at work, guess what? There’s a good chance they’re not going to be happy at home. This can lead to all types of problems like anxiety, depression, and heart disease, just to name a few.

Many people who are unhappy with their jobs often dream of leaving to do something they love. But that dream comes with the fear that they’ll end up poor and unsuccessful. So, it’s better to be wealthy and miserable, right? Wrong! Staying in a job you dislike is bad for everyone. It’s obviously doing nothing for you and it’s probably doing nothing for your boss.

When people aren’t happy at work, their productivity tends to suffer. I should know. I’ve been there before.

Right after college, I landed a marketing position at a large corporation. Everyone saw this as a huge success except for me because I was unhappy. I became depressed and would fall asleep at around 6 p.m. because I didn’t have the energy to do much else. I knew I had to do something but the thought of change was scary.

I was worried about what people would say when they realized I left a position after being on the job for less than a year. I was also worried about what I was going to do with my life if I didn’t do that job.

In the process, I realized that there weren’t many good tools available to help me choose what type of job I’d be happier in. I’d done extensive career testing that had said the corporate job was a good choice.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do exactly, but I still quit my job and set up my own self-education program. I shadowed at six different companies and learned as much as I could. It made me realize I wanted to launch a for-profit startup that helps people find and choose careers they’re passionate about.

Since my self-education program, I’ve done many things that I wouldn’t have been able to do if I’d stayed at a job where I was so unhappy. The difference was that now I was feeling like I was making a difference and I was making a positive contribution to the world.

While companies can do their part to promote positive working environments such as training managers on the importance of supporting progress as well as provide options for career-advancing work, we can’t place all the burden on employers. We all know there are things we can do and things we should avoid as we search for career bliss.

Here’s a quick list of things you can do to get on track:

Devote time to a new career. You can’t expect to snap your fingers for things to happen automatically. You have to put in the time and energy needed to find a new career.

Do it now. The longer you wait, the more excuses you’ll find not to do it.

Simple, right? Well, yes and no. Finding a new career takes time and some people may not want to jump into something new when they don’t know what that new is going to be. This is why some people prefer to hang on to their job (even if it’s not that great) while they figure out what will be better for them. That’s a personal choice to make.

As you decide which path to take, here are a couple of things you shouldn’t do in the process:

Don’t just blindly do what your parents tell you to do. They’re putting your financial stability first while the job that gets you there may not be making you happy.

Don’t believe the hype that you need to have experience to do what you love. Many of the most successful entrepreneurs had no experience in their field.

Don’t listen to anyone else except for yourself. At the end of the day, only you know what’s right for you. People will want to share their opinions, but they may not know what really makes you happy.

Remember, finding a new career that makes you happy may take you time and a lot of soul-searching. But, if you’re ready for the challenge, greatness is certainly on the horizon.

CEO @MakerKids . Author of new book “How to Figure Out What To Do With Your Life (Next)” available now http://amzn.to/3d2WwIh. Words @Forbes. Speaker.