How to Handle an Unfulfilling Job

If it’s true that we spend most of our time awake at our place of employment, it goes without saying that an unhappy job leads to an unhappy existence. The bad news is that no one is going to save you. You alone can change your destiny. If you’re unwilling to make an effort, you’ll stay stuck in your soul-crushing job until you can hopefully retire one day.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel, though, and no, it does not require faking an injury or hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer.   

Value Self-Awareness

Have you sat down to ask yourself why you don’t like your current job or career? Where is the disconnect between your work and your overall satisfaction? Sure, you know that you hate the daily struggle of your job, but what is it exactly about it that you cannot stand? Before we go any further, seriously consider the things about your current situation that you despise.

Asking these kinds of questions will help you get to the heart of what you do want. Self-awareness, for the uninitiated, is an incredibly valuable skill that–once mastered–will provide the clarity needed to choose a satisfying career path. Take the time to thoroughly answer the following questions to get clear on what you really want out of a job.

  1. Think back to a time at work when you felt like you were doing something meaningful and enjoying the process. What was it about that experience that energized or inspired you?
  2. What’s your greatest skill? Think of a time when you were rewarded for a skill you exhibited or a task you completed.
  3. What do you want to create for others to enjoy? This can be a product, service, result, or even a feeling.

Now that you’ve gotten clear on what you’re good at, what you enjoy, and what you want to create, your next task is to find the companies that can facilitate putting all three of these together. Use sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, or Glassdoor to find jobs that encompass your answers above and bookmark them. We’ll get to applying to these shortly, so hold off on sending your résumé just yet. 

Choose Your Mastery

You’ve found the positions you believe will bring you the job satisfaction you crave, but you’re underqualified or at least feel as so. Luckily, there’s this thing with all of the world’s knowledge built into it: the internet.

Make a list of the skills you need to sharpen or acquire by gleaning them directly from the job descriptions you already researched. Your task now is to find the resources that will elevate your existing skillset or help establish a new one. 

While you are searching, take note of specialization training or certification courses you can take online that will provide you with a certificate of completion. It’s great to learn new skills, but it is imperative to prove you know them to a potential employer. Here are a few sites you should peruse for skill training and certifications:

You may want to speak with someone in the field you are interested in first to ensure you’re going in the right direction. An internship or shadowing someone during their workday can also provide invaluable insight into the position you’re aiming for. The point is, before you plop down a wad of cash on an online course, make sure it’s something you want and will follow through on.

Rewrite Your Destiny

You have a vision for a better future that includes a job you like and can excel in, and you have the skills needed to make this a reality. Let’s put this whole thing together now.

Include the new skills and/or certifications you’ve acquired in your résumé, but also explain why you’ve developed these skills and the leverage they give you in your cover letter. (Before you ask, yes, you should write a unique cover letter for each position you are applying for.)

Your task with each job application is to tell the story of who you are, explain what you are passionate and skilled at, and detail why hiring you will benefit the company in every way possible.

Above all else, have confidence in yourself. You’ve done the work. You’re more than qualified. Once your potential employer sees this, your next big decision will be asking for a salary that befits your abilities.

About the Author

Jenn Walker is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey.