The average American spends upwards of 90,000 hours in their lifetime at work.
That is an eye-popping number even if you enjoy your position, but it is a downright heartbreaking figure if you’re one of the millions of folks who hate what they do for a living.
Rest assured that you are not alone in feeling job dissatisfaction. According to a recent Gallup poll, only 30 percent of the U.S.workforce is so-called “engaged” with their jobs. Another 50 percent described themselves as “non-engaged,” and a startling 20 percent (or roughly 30 million working people) are “actively disengaged” with their jobs. Yikes. I am not blind to the situation we face.
Right now, most of us should consider ourselves lucky to have a job at all during this pandemic. Many have been reduced to part-time, furloughed, or even fired from a job that they, statically, hated anyway. Being part-time has made me reevaluate the trajectory of my career path and question the steps I can take to come out on the other side of this economic downturn, not only more qualified but happier with how I make a living.
One note on the myths of motivation and “finding your passion” before we dive into strategy, I really love the author and keynote speaker Mel Robins’s take on this subject. She says, “For many, the idea of searching for your passion causes more stress and concern over the future than necessary. The truth is the things that energize you are going to change frequently and over time. What energized me today won’t necessarily energize me next week.
So, instead of trying to find a passion or a purpose, stay tuned to what energizes you.”
Here’s where you can put Robins’s advice into action. If you have no idea where to start or have only a vague concept of the positions that interest you, fire up your browser and start researching job listings that interest you. You don’t have to be qualified. This step is all about pinpointing job options that excite you.
Perhaps you want to be a copywriter, great. Read the job descriptions and identify the recurring job skills required to apply. In the copywriter example, you’ll likely find that brands prefer candidates who have a solid grasp of SEO marketing and experience using a CMS or AEM. Armed with that knowledge and the newly found interests that will keep you motivated, you can take the next step.
Once you have identified the skills you need to land a job you love, start researching ways to obtain those skills. There are a lot of free courses out there that can help you understand the basics. I would recommend taking a free class or webinar on the subject before investing any real money into mastering that craft.
You should make sure you’re still interested after you learn more about it. If you find you don’t like it, no problem. See step one. If you do like it, you might consider earning a certificate or other official degree to verify your new skillset.
I am a journalist for more than 10 years, but I wanted to improve my position. I chose to enroll at Columbia University’s School of Engineering Digital Marketing Boot Camp.
You may go with a less time-consuming and costly option, but I was well-researched and prepared to invest.
Once you learned your new skill, show it off — both on your resume, and through freelancing opportunities. Free search tools can provide examples of best practices to format a resume; standards change more often than you’d think.
Doing some freelance work before committing to a full-time gig in your new field will also help ensure that you truly enjoy the work, which is the ultimate goal.