Often people talk about what happens when you pick the wrong job, but what about when you pick the wrong career?
1. Your tenacity may be what got you there.
Picture yourself in high school and college. Maybe you were the straight A student studying late into the night. Or, maybe you were the jack of all trades with As, Bs, a varsity letter, a seat on the student counsel, and an after school job. You wouldn’t let anything get in the way of your goals, even if it was your own conscience trying to warn you. You excelled at the hard classes that would land you a stable career, even if the subject matter was dull.
You justified hating your industry relevant internship by telling yourself things will be different once you land your first “real job.” Then you graduated and realized that real job is just that internship you hated multiplied by 40 years. You can use your tenacity to grit it out and bear it, or you can use that drive to find a career you’re actually passionate about.
2. It’s ok to feel overwhelmed.
If you were anything like me, the moment you finally admitted this to yourself you broke down in tears. I cried about the years I “wasted” in school training for seemingly the most specific non-transferable skillset in the world. I cried about the golden-handcuffs shackling me to this career so that I can pay off my mortgage of student loans. And, I cried about everything else I found wrong with my career. Figuring out that what you do at least 8 hours a day 5 days a week isn’t the right fit is a big deal. Work is a lot of your time and effort.
Embrace your feelings and understand there will be an inevitable period of overwhelm, but don’t let your feelings consume you. What helped rebalance me was realizing how many positives in my life came from this mistake. I also feel freer now that I don’t have to lie to myself about how I feel about my career, and can take steps towards finding one that is a better fit.
3. What you hate about your career is telling you a lot about yourself.
I find the extremely repetitive nature of my work very boring. What all of the repetition has taught me is that someday at my dream job someone will hand me a problem and blank page and tell me to figure something out. I want to bring into existence what wasn’t there before. I want to create; I don’t simply want to become more efficient at the same thing. What’s the sore spot for you in your career?
If the dislike for your current career goes beyond the setting, or your coworkers and boss, or your commute then you have a sore spot. There’s something fundamental to your current career that you just do not like. The opposite of that is where you start building your dream career.
Go find yourself a job you’re passionate about, and turn that into a career you’re passionate about. There is no sense wasting an extensive amount time in a career you can’t stand, and trying to squish and mold and bend it into something you might be able to tolerate someday.