I meet a lot of people who are unhappy in their career. With job satisfaction at a 22-year low according to CNN, it’s not surprising. Once these people find out what I do for a living, they’re quick to share the details of their situation. Now, I love talking about this stuff so no complaints here. But, within just a few minutes, I can usually tell exactly who’s going to actually fix the problem and who’s going to continue stewing about it without ever really taking action. And it’s this latter group that really irks me. They’ll never be satisfied and they’ll always find a way to blame something (or someone) else.
Here’s what I believe causes this:
You aren’t interested in self-reflection.
Job satisfaction isn’t all about the job. It’s about the match up of job and person and how well they provide for one another’s needs. If you don’t know what you want, you’re never going to find it. It’s not enough to know what you don’t want. The process of finding fulfillment involves rigorous self-exploration and, if that makes you uncomfortable or if it strikes you as unimportant, prepare for more of the same.
You aren’t willing to invest your time or money.
Finding career fulfillment isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes an investment of resources. But it’s surprising to see how many people aren’t willing to put their money where their mouth is. They say it’s important but their actions suggest otherwise. The way you spend your time and money are direct reflections of your values. If career fulfillment matters to you, it’s worth the sacrifice. If you’re unwilling to cut back in a few areas to make that investment possible, you haven’t made it a priority.
You expect it to be easy.
Here’s the truth: Finding a career that really nourishes you is hard work. A lot of people will say you can take a 60-question assessment and get all the answers, but I don’t believe that. I’ve never seen any test work like a magic bullet the way many people think they should. And I’ve never seen them provide the same kind of insights that come from a few well-guided conversations with an objective ally, which is why I think coaching is the best way to handle career issues.
Fear is probably the number one thing that keeps people from achieving the satisfaction they deserve in life, both personally and professionally. Fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of risk, fear of making the wrong decision. These feelings are normal, but they’re also dangerous. Fear keeps people stuck in horrible situations simply because they’d rather fight the enemy they know than venture out and face the unknown. It’s a sad waste of human potential.
You’re unwilling to take responsibility.
At the end of the day, career fulfillment, job satisfaction, whatever you want to call it…is all about YOU. Nothing else controls the situation. No one else is responsible. Hold yourself accountable for your life and the choices you make. Stop blaming external forces. That’s a victim mentality, and you’re not a victim here. The situation is 100% in your hands. Sure, it’s a hard reality to face, but it’s also empowering. Once you’re able to see that you hold the cards, a world of opportunities will open up.
This article might have been hard for you to read. If I struck a nerve here, I apologize…kind of. But you obviously kept reading so something made sense to you as well. Congratulations for letting yourself see the hard truths in your situation. Sometimes, that’s all you need to push yourself over the hurdle. Now go take action. Change the way you think and behave. It’s not too late to get some satisfaction.
Photo Credit: Vectorportal (Flickr)