When I wasn’t happy at work, it’s because I was stuck in the things I didn’t enjoy doing, and had drifted away from the things I loved to do.
There are people that wake up every day, excited to be alive. You know they are there because if you aren’t one, they piss you off.
I was in this place. Every morning started a little slower, doing the morning routine, getting lost in my own blank stare, thinking about everything and nothing at the same time. I hated looking in the mirror, because I stood for nothing. I could almost see the big question mark hovering over my head in the reflection, daring me to do something meaningful and teasing me for doing nothing. There is also guilt at work because they are paying you for something and you know you aren’t giving it your all.
This is not the end of your road, I promise.
It’s a painful climb out, but it’s worth every moment. I love my life now. I love getting out of bed every day and doing work. I love writing this blog and engaging with this community. That’s my world now. Here are a few things I did, and others like us have done, to change it.
1) Figure out if you can be happy with your job description.
Are you a teacher? The main part of that is teaching. If you hate teaching, you can’t be successful at teaching. Don’t try to become a better teacher, just get out of it. So ask yourself if you even like doing what your job description asks of you. If you don’t, it’s time to change jobs to something that fits who you are.
2) Ask your friends what they think you love to do.
Honestly, when I did this, I thought the answers would be the same every time: marketing, entrepreneurship, management, etc. But out of everyone who shared with me (about a dozen) each person said something different. Sure, there were a few overlaps, but it didn’t line up with what I expected. My friends see in me who I truly am. The vocation is only a product of my passion. When I wasn’t happy at work, it’s because I was stuck in the things I didn’t enjoy doing, and had drifted away from the things I loved to do.
You should also write these things down, soon after the conversation. It will be helpful in the years to come to checkpoint and refer back to this list.
3) If you aren’t where you want to be, create the image of what that “ideal life” looks like.
I am a writer, so I journalled. If you like doing collages, grab a stack of magazines and create the picture of your dream lifestyle. Use your creative enjoyment to craft what this world looks like for you. Do you travel? Get weekends off? Sleep in? Make a lot of money? (because all of that is okay!)
4) Map your image.
On another sheet of paper, or Google Doc, or whatever you want to use, write down your current vocation and your ideal life. In between these statements, connect the two via practical steps that you can take to get from one to the next. Ever see Chain Reaction? It’s like that. This becomes your road map. It doesn’t show you exactly how it’s going to happen, just like a map. There will be stops and you might miss the exit a few times. But it does give you a direction to point the car. (If the answer to #1 was no, your first step should be “New job”)
I’m on the other side of career depression, and I want to see you here too. That place is not fun, it’s not fulfilling, and it’s not surreal. You deserve all of that.
Have you ever been down in the dumps and come out the other side? Tell me about it in the comments.