I know this is definitely not the most appropriate thing to write on a career change blog but I’ll write it anyway:
I used to love my job.
It was a proper corporate job with all the trimmings: nice suit, PowerPoint slides and endless (often useless) important meetings.
When I started it, I was all in. Proud of it. Excited by it.
Yet I ended up hating it.
This rejection was the outcome of a slow and steady transformation process we should all be aware of.
Here’s how it generally happens:
Step 1 – How You Usually Land A Job
I landed this job the classical way:
I met a bunch of recruiters who asked me a bunch of questions.
Their goal? Evaluate how well I fitted the job description.
They did that based on my experiences, skills, strengths and weaknesses.
If you broadly fit the template, you get the job. Simple.
Step 2 – Why You Like or Love A Job
If the recruiter does a good job, you’re hired for a job that kind of “leverages your talents”. So they say.
You generally have a steep learning curve and shitloads to do … but since you have the right strengths for the job, it all feels reasonably easy.
That was my case.
But more importantly I got this job at a point in time when all I wanted was a first decent salary to reach full financial independence from my mum.
I just wanted to rent my own flat, buy a crappy car, and have a bit of money left to party.
Not only that job felt reasonably easy, but it also satisfied my immediate desires.
I was a happy bunny.
Step 3 – The Turning Point
You generally love a job because it is aligned with your talents and expectations … at a point in time.
When that happens, you can be happy commuting every morning from your bed to your cubicle.
You may even accept your annoying boss as a necessary nuisance.
There’s nothing wrong with that.
Things start to go wrong when you and your job are not in reasonable sync anymore.
Something gets disconnected.
There are lots of reasons why this happens, and this disconnect can even be triggered by “positive” changes in your job.
For instance, I noticed a lot of my friends started hating their job after they got promoted. Suddenly they were asked to prepare budgets, manage people or support the party line. The nature of their job changed, and it wasn’t in sync with their own nature anymore.
But even if your job stays the same, sometimes your desires and life priorities simply change. At that point, you realise your job isn’t the best option to fulfill these anymore.
Whatever that is, at some point something breaks.
Generally you don’t realise this immediately, but this is the turning point from which you start hating your goddamn job.
The Takeaway: the Happiness Blueprint
So how do you deal with that?
Well your very first goal must be to understand this disconnect.
I see too many people missing this step, and just blaming external circumstances (e.g. their boss) for their shitty life. So they apply for a similar job elsewhere, only to realise a few months later nothing really improved in their life. And they really struggle to figure out what’s wrong.
If you’re unsatisfied with your current job or situation and want a real change, you must address the root cause first:
- If you never liked your job, try to figure out why. As a starting point, make a list of your strengths and aspirations, and identify the areas with where you and your job are disconnected.
- If you used to love your job but now want something different, do something similar, and put a name on the reasons why you need this change.
Once you know what this root cause is, you can use it as a foundation to start building something different such as fixing things in your job, changing careers or starting your own business.
Whatever you do next, make sure it is in alignment with you.
You see, for me happiness is all about alignment.
Of course, it is a bit more complex than just aligning with the right strengths for your job, or your current aspirations (we address this complexity in Trailblazer).
But if I had to give you a Happiness Blueprint, it would mainly focus on resetting your personal compass, and realigning your life with your true-self.
P.S. I’ll expand on the concept of alignment in future posts, but let me know what you think. Do you also think it is a great way to drive happiness? Do you think I’m nuts? Drop a comment below to let me know :)