Most of us expect that our first job out of college won’t be our dream job… and that’s ok. But one day, a few years later, a lot of us look up and realize we aren’t heading in the direction we want & have no idea what to do about it. Most of us have bills to pay & can’t just quit the crappy job at a moment’s notice (although if that’s you, what are you waiting for?!). So you just realized your job sucks… now what?
Figure out what you actually want. The majority of people I talk to in this situation have *at best* a vague idea of what they want to do, but it is usually either a total mystery or pretty unclear. The answer to the question “what would you do if money wasn’t an issue” is some form of writing and traveling. (Is that you? Hey, me too!) Take 10-15 uninterrupted minutes to close your eyes and visualize your perfect day from start to finish – with all the details. What time do you get up? What’s the first thing you do in the morning? Where do you live? Also… think about what you love to do – the kind of activity where you lose track of time and the rest of the world falls away (hint: it’s not Netflix binging). And… what did you love to do as a kid? How did you spend your free time? This will start to give you some clues, and maybe a list of things to try.
Take a hot minute for gratitude. The job may suck or have no advancement opportunities, but right now, it’s paying the bills. That’s something to be grateful for. This crappy job is giving you time and resources to figure out what your next thing is. Or maybe you decide this job you are not passionate about AT ALL pays really well, provides you an awesome life, and allows you to pursue your real passion as a hobby or volunteer gig. Not everyone will be paid for their passion, and that’s ok. Oh – and sometimes – having gratitude for the job changes everything.
Make a plan. Let’s say you’re grateful for your crap job but ready to pursue the thing you know you are meant to do. Now what? Figure out how you get there – small step by small step. Maybe the plan is to quit your job & start your new business. Maybe the plan is to keep the job and start your new project on the side. There’s no wrong way to do it – unless you do nothing at all.. that’s definitely the wrong way. & it is ok if you can only see the first step clearly and the rest is kind of vague because:
Do the first step. Sometimes we get stuck because we don’t know what step #12 is going to be. Or we don’t know if we will have enough money for step #24. Don’t do this to yourself. Just take it step by step. Sometimes things become way more clear as we take action, and they certainly are less intimidating when we break it down.