Staying in the same job for too long can start to feel like Groundhog Day.
You find yourself doing the same repetitive tasks over and over again. You get a coffee, you greet your superiors, you plough through the day and pray for mercy that you can get out the office before 7.00pm to salvage some semblance of a social life (or counterbalance all those hours hunched over your computer by hitting the gym).
You struggle to suppress the silent scream escaping your lips:
1) During deadly team meetings.
2) While trapped making polite conversation with that oddball, close-talking colleague in the lift (the one who’s manic excitement describing a weekend spent indexing his HBO collection or playing World of Warcraft tells you that you are one of the few precious social encounters he will experience all week); or
3) At afternoon teas to farewell a co-worker you didn’t even like.
Worse than developing a hair-trigger response to flee out the building and never look back is when you stop experiencing these thoughts and feelings at all. You accept and even embrace your unfulfilling surroundings.
We like to refer to this career phenomenon as ‘the nothing.’
‘The nothing’ is working in a job where every day you wait to die.
It’s the slow and steady descent into workplace apathy characterised by numbness, lack of real care about your work and just killing time until your next paycheck. You stop feeling driven to draw meaning and purpose from your career. You may even convince yourself that being a responsible adult means accepting this reality.
To avoid being sucked into ‘the nothing’, you need to become an expert at recognising the above signs and proactively taking steps to move into a new role before it takes hold and your authentic self is lost forever.
But with recurring expenses like rent, car, mortgage or credit card repayments, simply getting up and resigning is not always a realistic solution.
What you can do, however, is to start thinking about what your true talents are:
- What did you want to be when you were little?
- What are you really good at?
- What brings you fulfilment?
- What makes you feel like the best version of yourself?
- How can you blend these talents into a career?
Take positive incremental steps by using your spare time to:
- Write for publications that inspire you. You can use your new writing portfolio to help transition into the industry of your choice.
- Volunteer your time for non-profits or other organisations whose mission aligns with your goals and values. The experience and contacts you make may lead to a new career.
- Think about how you ideally want to be spending your days.
- Re-skill and re-start. If you don’t have the skills you need to achieve your goals, go back to uni (even part-time) and learn them.
There are many lawyers, economists, engineers and accountants who have pivoted their careers and gone back to uni to study medicine.
It’s never too late to pursue the life you were meant to lead.
More on BucketOrange Magazine
- How to leave your job: Template resignation letter
- Workplace rights: How to know you’re working for the wrong company
- Career skills: How to write a killer CV
- Career know how: How to put together a winning cover letter
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