One of the best parts of my job as the head of career coaching for Work It Daily, is the hundreds of career problems I get to discuss on a variety of subjects. This past week, a member shared:
"I submitted my application for a job that I don't like. And now they will be interviewing me next week. I don't know what to do. I must find an apprenticeship before the end of the summer to get my diploma. I'm so stressed."
Your initial reaction might be, "Why did he bother to apply for a job he doesn't like?" Or, "Why is he complaining? At least he'll have a job and can get his diploma." But, as a career coach, I see something different...
Being Happy at Work Directly Impacts Mental & Physical Health
This person has worked hard to get his degree. In his mind, all that is standing in his way is a job. That puts a lot of pressure on the position he gets. We all know spending 8+ hours per day, 5 days each week in a job we don't like is a form of torture. It makes us anxious and depressed. It hurts our overall mental and physical health. Ask anyone who has endured a job that is making them miserable and they'll tell you their entire life is affected ie. relationships suffer, quality of life goes down, ability to make good decisions is impaired, etc. So, I understand why he asked this question. In his mind, he's being forced to walk into a burning fire and feels there's no way around it. As a coach, my job is to help him re-frame how he looks at the situation so at best, he can move forward with some sense of hope and reduce his stress.
FACT: Every Job Is Temporary
The first thing we discussed is that this job is not the one he'll have the rest of his career. It's simply a means to an end. He worked hard for that degree, so now all he has to do is work a little more, which may include taking a job that isn't his ideal so he can get the diploma and start looking for a better one. By reminding himself this isn't a permanent gig, he can stop his brain from spiraling out of control with thoughts of long-term misery.
You Don't Really Know Until You Get There
Next, we discussed how he has formed the opinion he doesn't want this job without even interviewing there yet. You never know. The culture and coworkers might be interesting and nice enough to offset his lack of enthusiasm for the job. Or, there might be growth opportunities he doesn't know about. I've also seen plenty of job seekers go to interviews for jobs they weren't that excited about, only to have the employer recognize their true talents and offer them a different role that they were thrilled with. None of that can happen though unless he goes on the interview!
When You've Got Career Problems, Seek Objective Help
Finally, I commended him for his honesty and willingness to discuss his concerns. People often feel embarrassed talking about career problems. Where does this come from? In my experience, people make the huge mistake of talking about it with friends and family first. The problem is, those people are A) not trained career counselors, and B) are biased and will give advice from an emotional point of view. The result? You get bad advice that doesn't work and you stop talking to people about your problems. For the same reason we use doctors, dentists, lawyers, accountants, personal trainers, and other professionals, those who seek help from experts or mentors tend to get better results. Not only is the quality of the advice better, but they have more confidence in the source. Thus, are more likely to do what they are told to do.
Big or small, if you have career frustrations or fears that are impacting your wellness, then you need to focus on them immediately. Our personal identity is tightly tied to our work. When we don't feel good about what we do, our happiness is impacted. Life is too short to live with chronic career pain.