In our work at DLPA, we are fortunate to do really interesting activities and programs with individuals and organisations, and one of the things that has really surprised us recently is the large number of individuals who feel they’re struggling with their current career. This shows up in several ways, it can be that they no longer enjoy their work, they feel that their work is meaningless, they’re frustrated that they keep missing promotions or they just don’t enjoy their current work environment. In some way or another they are out of personal alignment with their choice of career or workplace, and it’s painful for them. If this is you, be reassured, you’re not alone.
So what’s the solution?
The first step is to get to the bottom of what’s really going on. In our experience there is usually a catalyst for the onset of feelings of frustration or discontent, even if the individual isn’t consciously aware of it. Sometimes it just feels like it ‘crept up on you’ while you weren’t looking. Somewhere between the initial excitement of a new role and your current feeling of discontent you fell out of love with what you do or at least stopped enjoying it. While others know exactly what happened to trigger their discontent.
It’s often helpful to work through what’s happened and where you wish to go next, most people find it really useful to have someone else help them navigate this path as they’re to close and emotionally connected to their current situation to manage this by themselves. It’s best not to make this your best friend because they will want to make you feel better rather than allow you to explore your current discomfort let alone challenge you to take a good look. It’s not always comfortable but gaining some self awareness is the only way you’ll get the clarity you need to move successfully forward.
The 3 steps we would recommend are:
- Reflection – understand what got you here
What’s really going on, when did you start to feel this way? What was the catalyst? We often find it comes down to one comment or experience that has you questioning – the values of the organisation you’re working in, the likelihood of getting a promotion, or even your own professional ability. Additionally, is this a pattern you seem to keep repeating? Sometimes we keep getting ourselves into the same situation, albeit with different employers or managers and until we realise what we’re doing we’re likely to jump from the frying pan into the fire repeatedly.
- Know what you really want
What you want from your career initially may have changed over time or perhaps you’ve never really taken time to think about it. Perhaps you opted for your current role because your skill set matched and it met your financial needs. Maybe that no longer suits you or satisfies your personal desire for career satisfaction and meaningful work.
- Get familiar with your personal values
In our experience, most individuals really don’t know what their personal values are, let’s face it, it’s not something taught in school or discussed at most family dinner tables. However the core of much discontent occurs when you experience a values conflict, in this case where your personal values conflict with those of the organisation you work within. Like selling a product you don’t believe is healthy or working for a shareholder driven organisation when your values are more aligned with a social enterprise or the not for profit sector.
Once you know what got you here, what you really want and which personal values you wish to satisfy, you will be able to plan your next career move to ensure both job satisfaction and career success. Not only that you will develop the insight to recognise if your career starts to move off track in the future.
We’re aware that most people will need some assistance in preparing for their next career move and in one of our free ebooks we take you through the 5 Steps to Position Yourself to be a Career Winner. If you think this might be helpful to you, you can access the ebook here.