Karen Darrin

OK. So… you hate your job, but the money is too good to jump ship. You feel trapped by what are called “golden handcuffs.” Grinning and bearing it only lasts so long.  Your frustrations will explode sooner or later; and, most likely on some undeserving spouse, co-worker or stranger in the grocery check-out line.  Take charge.  There are things you can do.

To break free of a job you hate, consider the following:

What is really making you unhappy — your job or your career?

Sometimes, your dissatisfaction stems from a toxic boss or a poor work environment, and your problem can be resolved by switching companies. Other times, you may be in the wrong career. Which is it? Network with people in similar positions at companies you are interested in. Talk with a career coach. (Great idea!)  Examine your job history.  When were you really engaged in your work? What specifically engaged you? What were the commonalities of those situations? Where can you find that again?

Bolster your savings.

Begin to see how you can cut back expenses, or make extra money. Is there a side gig you have always wanted to start? Try it!  Concurrently, squirrel away every dollar and prepare for a 6-month stretch without a salary. The average job search takes about four to six months. If you think you’ll need to take time to figure out your next career move, amass more savings, or downsize your lifestyle.

What do you want to do next? 

Try out these suggestions to help discover your new path:

  • Think about what you like to do or excel at. What makes you unique, what makes you happy, what do you get lost in to the point where it doesn’t feel like work?
  • Explore the most salient values for you at this time of your life (e.g. giving to others vs. prestige or high earnings) and envision how you might make this transition to ensure they are present in your life.
  • Evaluate your tendencies with some career personality tests such as the Strong Interest Inventory, the StrengthsFinder, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or the Enneagram.
  • Take up any kind of mindful practice whether it’s running, kickboxing, drawing or whatever. Do something that keeps you in the zone. With that silence and stillness, answers will start to emerge.

Find support.

Gather your cheerleaders, whether they be your family, close friends, a career coach, therapist, or like-minded people.  Find people who have made a career shift and find out the challenges and joys in the process. Don’t recreate the wheel here. Learn from those who have already made a change to better their lives.

Be brave.

The fear of change will never leave you. The only way out of those “handcuffs” is for you to feel the fear and step out anyway. You see your current career path and you know what’s there. But you cannot see what will happen if you leave. But that doesn’t mean nothing’s there. It just means you cannot see it. It’s a test between trust and fear. Trust that you have the skills, character, and integrity to take care of yourself.

Reflect on all the changes you have already made in your life. Change is part of life and finding a career you love. Every big change requires that mix of fear and bravery. Don’t let your fears stop you from moving towards your goals. Take a step. Then, take another step. That’s all you need to do to move forward. I promise you will look back at this time in your career proud that you jumped into the unknown and left that soul-sucking job.

CALL TO ACTION:  Are you in a job you hate? Let’s brainstorm the best strategy to get you excited about your career again. Slot a complimentary 30-min consult here:  Schedule Free Consult.

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