Anybody can reach a stage in their career where working life seems stagnant. No matter how interesting or well-paid your job is, a lack of movement can make it feel like a real drag. Career satisfaction is staggeringly low. Dissatisfaction with working life is often unrelated to the general economic climate of the moment, and more to do with immobility and disinterest. The neoliberal job market can crush ambition: many people work in jobs that are dissatisfying, contractually perilous and barely explainable or justifiable to outsiders. Inspirational jargon used by executives to motivate staff is only skin deep – it barely touches the real issues that cause job dissatisfaction.
Breathing new life into your career can feel impossible – but it is not. There are plenty of ways to find new places to earn your crust, new and innovative methods of working, fresh perspectives to entertain. There are, of course, some harsh financial barriers in the way of simply leaving your job and seeking out something more satisfying. Nevertheless, some changes are available that are less drastic (and costly) than throwing everything away. So here are some ways of finding satisfaction in your work and freeing yourself from drudgery.
Find Out What Dissatisfies You
This sounds like it should be a no-brainer – but it does not always come naturally. Finding out what makes you feel dissatisfied with your career can help you build towards a brighter future. The cause really should influence the cure. The top reasons people feel dissatisfied with their careers are:
A lack of respect or recognition
Feeling underappreciated can put a dampener on a career. Thanks, or recognition is a real kick in the teeth to work all day and receive no feedback. The Simpsons writers perfectly summed up the feeling of rage and sadness bought on by underappreciation in the episode Who Shot Mr Burns? Homer, incensed that his long-time boss can’t remember his name, is driven into a spiraling madness.
They are underpaid
Although pay has been steadily rising, increases in wages have in no way matched increases in currency inflation or house prices. This means that people are increasingly unable to lead comfortable lives on their wages.
Their tasks are endless or meaningless
People have an innate need to feel like they are making a difference, pushing boundaries, or genuinely innovating. Unfortunately, so many modern careers are built around endless, meaningless tasks. It does not have to be this way.
There are no opportunities for career growth
Stasis in a career can make it feel like every day repeats itself. Opportunities for growth are essential if a career is going to be satisfying
Once you know why you are dissatisfied with your career, you can plan to make the changes that will kick start a more rewarding work life.
Know What You Want
A lack of direction can make work seem like a truly thankless task. However, knowing what you want from a career is essential. Let positive desires drive your career ambitions and practical plans. Knowing what you want is not quite as easy as it sounds. Understanding your own desires -and how they might fit in with your future at work – takes a degree of self-reflection that can be hard to acquire when you are run down working in a 9 to 5.
Do not worry about chasing a ‘dream job’ if one does not immediately come to mind. Instead, work in a simpler way. Find out what you want in general from work and life and make plans for your career to realize these aims. Good planning comes from understanding your motivations!
Seeking further education is a great way to open up new doors in your career. Studying with some years of work under your belt is an amazing feeling. In addition, you can bring your experiences in the professional world to bear in an educational setting and approach new training in a very practical way (if you choose to do so).
If you are looking to breathe new life into a career, you can do a lot worse than taking a course in your desired professional field. Practice-led postgraduate courses cover all sorts of working worlds, and you will be able to find a course that fits your career ambitions if you look hard enough. For people who are already relatively senior but need a kick start to get to where they want to be, doctoral study might be a good option. If rising up the rungs of the executive ladder is on your wish list, taking an online executive DBA UK course is a wonderful idea. Doctorates in Business Administration – or DBAs for short – are research-led PHD level business courses geared towards giving executives the tools they need to innovate in their careers.
Education isn’t cheap, but if you have never attended a postgraduate course in the UK before or are seeking a doctorate level qualification, student loans, and research stipends are often available.
Do not Feel Like You Cannot Make Changes
A career change can feel like a pretty daunting prospect. It is often costly because of time spent looking for work in a new field and emotionally draining applying for jobs and receiving rejection letters or email silence. Sometimes, though, you do need to take the plunge and make a drastic change. Once you know why you are dissatisfied with your current career, know what you want from a job, and have the right education, you can start chasing changes and making your move. If you feel stuck in a line of work, it often is possible to change it – even if it can be scary.
Remember to build a network in the field you want to break into. Even if this means picking the brains of an executive or shadowing a group as a volunteer, the more time you spend in contact with your chosen peers, the more likely you will be to break into a satisfying career with them.