Being in the the wrong work can lead to something as harmless as wanting to quit your job to travel the world, to something as serious as mental health issues.
For me, it initially inspired me to start a blog while working full time. It was a way for me to cope with the deadpan reality of my corporate life. I’m grateful for it, because it put me on a road to working out my purpose.
I learned that there’s some sure fire ways to tell if your job isn’t right for you.
1. You feel no passion for your work
If there’s one true thing in the world of work, it’s that passion is the key to productivity. Without passion, any task is a gigantic struggle; wading through mud with a 50 kg backpack.
If this is how you feel about your day-to-day work existence, then it’s likely your job isn’t right for you.
If you lack the passion early in your career, chances are it won’t magically appear after a couple of decades. In reality, you’ll probably turn into one of those jaded, bitter and twisted people. You don’t want to be that person. Find something you love.
2. You get the “Sunday afternoon blues”
You know, it’s when you’re having a GREAT weekend, and then 3pm on Sunday roles around. You realise what that means, and you go from chipper and dandy to morose. It’s particularly awkward if you’re at a family BBQ. “No, dad, I’m not sick – I just can’t face the idea of another work week.”
3. You fantasise about getting the flu to get out of work
Some of my fantasies when I’ve been in corpland have been far more dark than this – but let’s stick with the flu. You imagine how glorious it would be to be hacking and spluttering on your couch whilst watching Oprah. You revel in the idea of coughing up something green as proof of your inability to work. You imagine your boss calling and saying, “please stay home and get better!”
4. Your job plays to none of your strengths
If there’s one thing I learned from my valuable experience of failing at being a corporate, it’s that you’ve got to be able to use your strengths at work. You’ll be happier, feel more useful and be more productive. I have worked in a job that legit played to all of my weaknesses and none of my strengths. In this kind of role, it’s basically impossible to do well long term. You can fake it for a while, but eventually your ever-dimishing self esteem or (in my case) general crappyness with numbers will catch up with you.
5. You wonder often how your life came to this
It’s those moments at your desk or in the bathroom where you do a double take. How did I get here? I was meant for something so different to this. Is this all there is? Surely not.
If your career makes you feel like your whole life has played out like one giant joke, you can be sure your job isn’t right for you. You want to be doing something that makes you excited for the future, not lamenting the past.
6. You feel your work is meaningless
To me, this is probably the biggest sign of a ill-suited job. “Meaning” can be lots of things to different people. For some, making decent money to provide for their family is enough meaning to keep them going in a job they don’t love. For others (like me), there is a mandatory requirement that I feel I am contributing to something positive.
7. You are discouraged from being yourself at work
You might be a people person, but they want an introvert and make no secret of it. Alternatively, perhaps you’re too shy. Either way, being told the way you are isn’t quite right for the job is not a nice feeling. Being discouraged in this way can lead to feelings of anxiety and helplessness. A definite sign you’re not where you should be.
8. You can’t envisage a future for yourself there
Think ahead 10 years – can you see yourself at the same company, in your boss’ job? If the answer is yes, great. Stay there. Work hard. Go forth and capitalise. If the answer is HELL NO, then it’s time to GTFO and find something you love.
9. You have panic attacks in the bathroom
Yeah, I’ve been there. This is not only a sign that your job isn’t right for you, but can also be a serious warning sign of mental health issues. If you get to this stage, take a couple of personal days and use the time to really think about what has driven you to this point. If it’s work, then you aren’t in the right place.
10. The job isn’t what you thought
If you’ve walked into a job that you were told was X but it’s actually Y, it’s fair enough that you aren’t happy. I once had the pleasure of walking into a role that I believed was in one field of business but was actually 80% in another. For me, that led to resentment and feelings of not fulfilling my potential.
Ultimately, nobody knows truly whether you’re right for a job except for you. If you know it isn’t right, it isn’t. Don’t worry about what others think – go forth and find yourself the lifestyle and career you deserve.
What’s your experience of being in a job that isn’t right for you?