HERE is a familiar scenario. You get frustrated with your job or maybe even your emtire career. You tell a few friends. They shake their heads and say: “If you can’t be happy here, you can’t be happy anywhere.”
There are two reasons these familiar words of wisdom may be wrong:
1. You’ve really landed in a miserable job
Let’s face it. Some jobs are pretty awful. They can be meaningless, frustrating or even degrading. They sap your strength and you begin to think they will destroy your soul.
Some bosses are toxic, and some companies are toxic. Here are some signs that a company is toxic:
A lot of people are sick a lot of the time;
You are physically ill more than you used to be, typically with colds or headaches;
You lose interest in things (on and off the job) that formerly got you excited;
The place has high turnover, sometimes even during a recession;
People seem to quit or get fired for no reason or for bizarre reasons; or
Your family and friends say, “You’ve changed and not in a good way.”
Of course, sometimes you just don’t fit. There is nothing wrong with the job, but it is not a good match for you. For example:
The company places high value on conformity and you are a maverick;
They dress up; you dress down (or vice versa); or
No one of your race, ethnicity, religion and/or gender has ever been taken seriously. Women who get taken seriously tend to look like models.
2. You are totally in the wrong career
You bounce from one company to the next, thinking: “The next one will be a home run.”
You may like the job but just have no talent for it. Sometimes you can develop your talent over time. Sometimes you are under pressure to perform immediately, so you will never know what might have happened.
The job may have requirements that clash with your own temperament and style. You like the work, but...
the action starts at 7am and you are an evening person;
you have to travel and your highest priority is home and family; or
most of the jobs are in big cities and you have a rural soul.
You may be unsuited to a field even though you have always wanted to be in that field and you invested huge amounts of time in it.
Many lawyers want to leave the legal profession, even though they are talented. I met a physician who trained as a surgeon for two years before realising he hated the lifestyle: pressure, late nights, long hours.
He is now a very happy anaesthesiologist in a group practice, happily married and living the life he has always wanted.
So, if you cannot be happy in your current job, maybe you can be happy somewhere else!