Ask Sarah: “I Hate My Job. How Do I Find Career Zen?”
This one comes from a reader on Instagram who asked me:
“I really hate my job. I wish I could be doing something more creative, but I don’t know what! How do you find the work that is best for you and will make you happy?”
I love this question, because I hate that so many people are miserable in there jobs. Job loathing is a real thing, and it’s awful, awful, awful. I’m not a career coach, but one of my passions is feeling happy in my work and I wish that for others, too. So…
The overly simplified and yet totally doable answer? Find what you love to do, and make a career out of it!
Guys, I’d be (personally) beyond miserable if my job were, say, crunching numbers in the finance office of a large corporation. Like, if someone said, “Sarah, sit at this desk and use this calculator and add these things up and enter them into a spreadsheet,” I would die a thousand deaths. This is not to say that crunching numbers isn’t a good career, it’s just that it’s not a good career for me. Seriously, I still have nightmares about … my ninth grade math class.
I think a lot of college graduates and even people in their thirties find themselves working in jobs or fields that they thought would look good on paper, be prestigious, or (worse) please their parents/family members, and then they wake up one day and find themselves doing work they absolutely can’t stand. Now what?
I was lucky enough to know early on that writing and storytelling was my thing, but just because you’re 18, 26, or 41 and still don’t know what your thing is, that’s ok! Keep searching for what brings you joy, then find a way to translate that into a career.
That may sound hard, but my advice is to really listen to yourself. In what situations do you light up? What gets you motivated, excited? What makes time pass and you don’t even know it’s passing? Those are the clues, right there. And when you find that thing and figure out a way to make it your livelihood, your work becomes joy, and you actually want to work.
My advice is to build your dream career while you’re still in your yucky one. I’m not saying work on the company’s dime, but use the security of your paycheck to support you as you write your exit plan. Spend your breaks and lunch hour brainstorming. Spend your evenings working hard on whatever dreams you hatch up. You’ll work so hard, and have bags under your eyes, and won’t have a social life for a while, but later, you’ll be soooooo glad you did this.
I still get out of bed every day excited about my career. I mean, some days I groan about editing a draft of a novel, but aside from that, I truly love what I do, and I am so exceedingly grateful for that fact.
I think another really important thing is no matter how much you’ve accomplished, goal-setting and continually looking ahead to what’s next. I don’t mean that you shouldn’t feel at peace with your accomplishments or grateful for the status quo, but rather, that it’s important to keep building, growing, learning, accomplishing. I think the people who truly love their work the most and are the best in their fields are the ones who are always pushing themselves to hit a new goal.
You got this!