Though many of us have dreams of jobs that fill both our hearts and our bank accounts, the reality is that launching a meaningful career takes some time. While you may daydream of closing your office door for the last time, telling your boss the truth about how you feel about your work, or simply walking out, that is not the best solution for most of us. Keep your imagination running wild, but rein in your urge to throw it all away. If you are one of the many women who finds herself at a job she hates, take heart. We have five suggestions for what to do — other than quit! — when you’re unhappy in your career.
Is it possible that your 9-5 feels like drudgery because you are not being challenged? Could you ask to take on a new, exciting project? Could you pitch your brilliant social media strategy to your boss, instead of following her current template?
You might think that you could do your job better if only x or y were changed … But nothing will change if someone doesn't make the suggestion. It takes bravery to approach a supervisor and ask for changes — but if you know that you will not only love your job more, but that you’ll be a better worker, we don’t see the harm in asking to try new things. Who knows? Your manager might be so impressed with your initiative that he or she starts to take notice of your unique set of skills. At best, you’ll get that killer new account. At worst, you’ll be turned down.
Start a side hustle. If you don’t find your daily work fulfilling, find something after-hours that gets you excited about life! It’s no secret that #Femalepreneurs are taking the world by storm. If you dream of one day owning your own business, what’s stopping you from starting that brand now?
There are a million possibilities for earning extra money through a side project. Maybe you are a great editor, writer or graphic designer. Can you think of some individuals or businesses who might need your skills? Maybe you love to create — whether it’s art, baked goods, jewelry or something more outside the box, there’s a market for your product somewhere. Perhaps you love connecting others with the products that you already know and love. Fun and flexible work opportunities mean extra income and great community - we love sharing our Brand Ambassador Programme that creates truly flexible work for women.
Decide what’s really making you unhappy. At 4 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon, it’s easy to blame your job for that sinking feeling in your chest. It's natural to believe that your career is the cause of all your exhaustion and unhappiness.
But before you burn that bridge, consider what is really making you unhappy in your life. Maybe it is your job … but maybe it’s something else. Are you unfulfilled personally? Do you need more social interaction in your life? There are plenty of ways to lead a happy life, even in a job you hate. It’s your goal to determine the root cause of your restlessness, and then tackle it. If your workplace ends up being the source of your angst, then go ahead and start researching the job market — but only once you know that it is the real problem.
Make a plan for change. Knowledge is power. If you find yourself in a workplace you hate, take control of your life by researching how to nab your dream job. Create a personal roadmap for how you will get there.
Questions to consider: Where do you want to work? Who do you want to work for? What kind of workday do you want to live?
Once you have a solid idea of the kind of career that would make you happy, work backwards from there. What do you need to do to get to that place? Do you need to go back to school? Switch careers? Or perhaps you simply need to put in another year or two of time, to get the experience needed to ask for that promotion.
Find a mentor. Whether she is at the same company or in a different career entirely, there is a woman out there who can give you sound advice. She can be a role model for you because she has been in your position before.
Is there someone whose accomplishments you wish were your own? Don’t make her your competition. Instead, humbly ask for her time. First, approach her and introduce yourself. Then ask her what you can do to make her project easier, whether that’s volunteering at one of her events or offering your skills for her side hustle. No matter where you are in your career, networking is important. What’s even more life-changing than networking, though, is having one person you can go to for help. You’re never too old for a mentor.
No matter where you are in your career, being stuck in a job does not need to mean you are stuck in life. Seek growth. Seek ways to develop your skills, expand your network and make your voice heard. It might not be time to quit on your unhappy job, but we do know it's always time to keep planning for a better future.