By Brandi Dye
Is it possible to find a job that makes you happy? Simple answer: yes. Obviously, no job is going to completely fulfill you or be the most fun every single day, but you can—and should—enjoy the work that you do.
But speaking from personal experience, this is easier said than done.
My first job out of college was something my parents were proud of. It was a stable role at a large corporate company. It was everything I thought I should want. But it only took me two days to realize that it was a bad fit. I’m a writer and a creative. Days in a greige cubicle, turning spreadsheets into other spreadsheets was not emotionally or creatively fulfilling. I knew I couldn’t expect to find all of my happiness at my job, but I also knew that crying at my desk every day wasn’t normal.
So, I quit my sad, corporate gig after 90 days with no other job lined up. It was terrifying, but I knew I couldn’t keep clocking in at a job that I truly hated—and was making me hate myself.
I truly hope that you aren’t experiencing those same awful things, but if you are, it might be time to look for your way out.
I began my job hunt only knowing what I didn’t want: to deal with numbers, to struggle under micromanagement, and to be beholden to faceless leadership. In the process of finding a better fit I realized that my next job had to have at least two of these three traits: it was something I am good at, something I enjoy, and something that makes the world a better place. And after six long months of job hunting, I found a position that does meet two out of three. And I’m actually happy to get up and go (almost) every day.
Starting the job hunt
If your current job is making you unhappy, it might be time to search for something else. That can be a daunting task. But hopefully, this list of tips for finding jobs that make you happy will help.
Be sure to do some self-reflection. Is your job really the root of your current unhappiness? Family strife, mental health, and your environment can all contribute to discontentment. If those are the problems, finding a new job won’t solve the problem.
What are the things about your job that you dislike? Knowing what you don’t want to do is just as important as knowing what you do want to do.
Make a list. What does your dream job look like? You want your list to be realistic. For example, as much as you might dislike paperwork or admin, it’s a necessary evil at most jobs—although you might not want to apply for office administrator positions.
Once you have your list, you need to decide how many of those things you can live without. A job that makes you happy might be further from your home that you thought you might travel or have weird hours. You don’t want to have such a long list that you are limiting your opportunities.
Join the InHerSight community to get matched with companies that care about what you care about. You care about your happiness and well-being, your company should too.
Apply, apply, apply. Job applications kind of suck. But that’s the only way to find a new job. Don’t be afraid to apply for something that’s a little outside your comfort zone. You never know, the job that makes you happy might be something you’ve never considered.
During the interview process, ask questions. Remember that list of dislikes? Use that to prepare questions for your interviewer. This is a great way to steer clear of another crying-at-your-desk situation.
If you can’t leave office stress at work, you dread going in every day, and you are disillusioned with the company culture, it might be time to explore a change. As disheartening as the job hunt can be, you shouldn’t stay at job that is truly making you unhappy. While no job is perfect, it is possible to find jobs that make you happy. In fact, 85 percent of Americans are at least somewhat satisfied with their jobs. You can join that majority.