So, you’ve been out of college for a couple of years now and grinding hard at the office. But you don’t feel fulfilled. If you feel like you’re dragging every time you get out of bed to catch the subway to work, you’re not alone. Us, millennials, are perhaps the most conscious generation out there that really cares about the work we do. Unlike the boomers who were cool with making some cash and saving up as quickly as possible so they could sip Margaritas in Barbados, we actually want to love what we do and find meaning in it.
So, how can you tell if you’re in the wrong industry and what do you do to fix it?
The Problem: You don’t find any pleasure in what you do
Maybe your parents or grandparents tell you: “hey, work’s not supposed to be fun,” but they’re wrong. While the point of having a job is to support yourself (meaning dinners with friends, trips abroad, and that yoga class that makes you feel as zenned out as Buddha), it indeed can feel great. In fact, many people enjoy their jobs. If you keep running into those who dread getting out of bed every morning, you’re just not talking to the right people. I know this because it happened to me.
I used to work for a big bank in the heart of Boston and woke up with a headache each morning, loathing the ride to the office and having to physically handle stacks of cash all day. Speaking to my colleagues, I thought that everyone felt the same. That was until I met another group of friends and to my shock and awe – they all loved their jobs. One person was a writer, another an illustrator, and a third was a chef.
The Solution: Understand that those mythical creatures who enjoy their jobs are in fact regular people like you and me, who have just placed themselves on the right career track. This could be you, too. The first step is to recognize that you’re in the wrong industry. Don’t panic; this is easily fixed. What you need to do is take a good look at your resume. In 99% of the cases, you’re just emphasizing the wrong skills. What you need to do is use a good resume builder and fix your information. Put emphasis on the skills you have that you enjoy using to make sure you don’t make the same mistake again.
The Problem: You don’t care to be promoted
Millennials love to be recognized at work. We’re fierce competitors and would take any chance to shine. So if you don’t care about being promoted at work, we’ve got a problem. Wouldn’t you want to be the best at something you love? Isn’t this why you spend hours perfecting that handstand in yoga class or patiently sitting in front of the mirror until that smoky eye looks straight out of Glamour Mag?
The Solution: The easiest way to tell what you genuinely enjoy is by looking at how much time you spend on things. What gets you in the zone? What can you do for hours without noticing the time pass by? What do you want to be the best at? Make a list of those things and see how you can make money off of them either by working for someone or freelancing. Sure, changes can feel scary at the beginning, but the average millennial changes jobs every three to four years, so you’re not alone.
The Problem: The work you do doesn’t align with your personality at all
Very often, especially right as we graduate, we take any job that looks half-decent and pays the rent. At first, it may feel alright, but with time, we realize that we’re completely alienated from what we do. If your true passion is photography but you’re sitting behind a desk replying to customer complaints all day, there’s no damn way you’ll feel fulfilled. In fact, you might feel like people at work don’t really know you at all, because your personality doesn’t get a chance to shine.
The Solution: When do you feel most like yourself? Is it when you’re making sales? Is it when you’re cooking or speaking in front of a crowd? Look for the actions that make you feel powerful and focus your career on doing them as much as possible.
Work is an important part of our lives and getting in touch with your core beliefs is a proven way to feel happier. Get clear on what makes you feel fulfilled, energizes you, and gets your competitive spirit going. Don’t be afraid of changing jobs. Life is too short to do something you don’t enjoy.