There aren’t as many people as we’d like who truly love their jobs. Who get energized by them, and who would keep going if they won the lottery.
How do those who don’t enjoy their jobs cope?
Most people will change their jobs at least every once in a while. Maybe not soon enough, and maybe just for change’s sake. Sometimes just a disruption of a routine can make things more interesting.
But if it stays random for too long, the enthusiasm is bound to fizzle out.
So what to do?
Let’s just make it purposeful.
They’re all connected
I believe that every job on this planet can be linked to every other. All employment is a different shade of the other.
In other words, every job is a connected web of 6 Degrees of Job Separation.
What does that mean for the individual? It means that no matter what you’re doing right now, you can develop a plan to get another job, regardless of how far away it seems. Transfer your skill set into a different but relatable job – then transfer into another different job that’s relatable to the second, and so on.
You’re moving a great distance via a handful of short jumps.
You might not be able to get that job tomorrow, and your dream job might actually be two or three jobs down the road. But everything you’ve done can be evolved into anything you want it to be.
It just takes two main ingredients – with a push-and-pull relationship.
No, we’re not talking about watching the clock here. While an hour in a day is a standard, universal measurement, how you use that time is not.
Merely having a job for five years won’t get you anything. Nor will blindly changing jobs every six months if there’s no clear logic.
Sometimes far-off jobs require completely new sets of experience. Maybe that job you want requires new qualifications, or even a completely different university degree.
No, I didn’t say that every job was possible with a snap of the fingers: I said you could draw a line between them.
And that line could be long. Are you willing to invest your time?
Which brings us to the second element: effort. It’s not enough to just keep busy and watch the years go by. You have to be smart about your choices.
Yes, you might need to transfer four different careers before you get there.
But maybe you could squish that into three – or even two. Are there any stretch opportunities in your current job? I’ve never had a job where my duties were crystal clear with a hard border. Maybe:
- your team has been operating out of habit, and someone needs to develop a longer-term strategy;
- that report had a lot of great info, but it won’t see the light of day unless someone starts presenting it to senior management;
- you see a bunch of manual processes and a few simple tools could make things easier;
- there’s even a new line of business that your team could be in!
And don’t forget about the soft skills. People could be unhappy, leading to a lack of productivity; if someone can pull together a bunch of individuals and bring them forward with a change of attitude, then that’s real leadership.
And that’s a skill that’s in demand.
Don’t listen to the naysayers
Yes, I know a lot of people will say this concept is ridiculous, that you can’t go from being a sandwich maker to being a surgeon.
Well, how did that surgeon become a surgeon? Both the sandwich maker and the surgeon started out with, say, a high school education. Then maybe one went to work, and the other got a couple of degrees, which then dictated a career that would be followed for forty years.
Who’s to say you can’t do a reset? (Provided you have enough time left on this planet, of course!)
The above example is an extreme, and the reality is that most of us are lumped into the general middle: sales people, administrators, financial officers, computer programmers, communications experts, etc. etc.
The extreme outliers may require massive investments of time and effort, but you could bounce between any of the ones I just listed in one to five years, easy.
You just have to see how close your options are – and go out and seize your opportunities.
How far away is your dream job? And how many steps will it take? Tell us in the comments!