A job is much more than just a job.
Many people go through the motions of life unsatisfied, especially when it comes to their jobs – unhappy with their career choice and feeling like it’s “too late” to start over. Whether it’s a boss you don’t align with, a lack of work-life balance, or a loss of interest in your role, having a job you don’t enjoy can become taxing on your soul as well as your health.
A job is no longer just what pays the bills; it’s also an opportunity for personal development and growth. More and more people are seeing how important it is to find passion within their profession to put in their best effort, be productive, and feel accomplished at the end of every week. Many people also want to feel as though they’re contributing to the greater good of the world with a career that aligns with their values and goals.
The traditional workplace status quo has changed over the years, and employee expectations have increased, with work environment and flexible hours higher priorities than ever before. And in just the last few months due to COVID-19, the definition of workplace got flipped on its head as many are working from home indefinitely, or now have the option to work from home. Now more than ever, people are reconciling how their lives have changed and how they want to cultivate a positive, healthy future for themselves and their families. For many, this includes confronting how they really feel about their career.
How can you tell if you’re unsatisfied in your career?
How exactly do you know you’re not doing something you love? Here are four telltale signs:
- Waking up each day with a feeling of dread
- Experiencing headaches, fatigue, brain fog, lack of focus, and general anxiety as soon as you sit down at your computer or start thinking about your workday. It’s even more telling if you experience these symptoms during the week, but not on weekends/when you’re not working
- Daydreaming of another life for yourself
- Counting the minutes and seconds until the workweek is over
Eventually, being in a career that no longer feeds you will affect your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Staying in a career that is making you unhappy can directly impact your home life, physical activity, and diet, especially if you’re working at home. When you were commuting to an office, you were likely able to counter some of the negative effects of your job by taking a coffee break with a friend to vent, getting outside for some fresh air, or physically leaving work behind by leaving the office at the end of the day.
Now your work and personal life are blended together. With no physical separation between your working and non-working hours, you are potentially putting a strain on relationships at home as well as limiting your natural movement achieved while commuting. When it comes to your diet, stress and anxiety during normal times will impact what you eat, but current pandemic circumstances may have amplified these feelings, affecting both the quality and amount of food you eat.
Find joy and purpose in a new career.
Here at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, we consider career one area of “primary food” – the things that feed and nourish you off the plate. Spirituality, relationships, and social life are a few examples of the things in your life that need to be fulfilled for you to thrive and be your truest self. When searching for a career that will do just that, finding something you’re passionate about that fills your soul with joy and purpose is an important part of feeling happy and nourished.
You may be wondering how to get started, and yes, there’s a lot to consider, but there are simple steps you can take to begin your journey toward a fulfilling new career.
Start by asking yourself these 10 questions. (Be sure to write down the answers somewhere you can reference later.)
What brings you joy? It can be anything – cooking, baking, knitting, running, yoga, writing, hiking; whatever makes you feel like you.
What are you passionate about? To best answer this question, look to the things you do/participate in outside work that light a fire in your soul. Maybe it’s healthy eating and living, volunteering to help those in need, reading about self-improvement, advocating for human rights and public health initiatives, or saving the environment and learning about climate change.
What are your values? The goal is to find a career that aligns with your values and what’s important to you and your well-being.
What kind of work schedule do you want? This is where you can get creative! Do you want a traditional 9-to-5, Monday to Friday type of job? Are you looking for more flexibility?
Where do you want to work? This may seem like a weird question right now, since you may not have a choice, but how about in the future? Do you want the option to work remotely? Do you want to be in an in-person environment with your peers? Does your desired career take you out in nature?
Do you want to be your own boss? This will definitely help you narrow your choices, but it comes down to what kind of autonomy and ownership you want over a potential new role.
Is there a job you always wanted to do but never pursued? Maybe you wanted a job that required further education you previously didn’t have time for. Or maybe you felt like it wasn’t “good” or “important” enough because someone in your life said so. It’s encouraged to challenge any beliefs you may hold around certain jobs because those beliefs may not actually be yours.
Do you want or need to go back to school/take courses to change careers? This is important because it will help you create a game plan for what it will actually take to pursue a new career. Can you take programs or courses online? How long will they take? How much do they cost?
What are your financial goals? Many people choose to stay in a job they are unsatisfied with because it pays the bills or provides a certain level of comfort. There’s nothing wrong with wanting the financial freedom to do and buy the things you desire, but is it worth a potentially soul-crushing job? Consider these things as you contemplate what you wish to earn because it’s possible to have a career you love and earn the compensation you desire.
What are your life goals? Having a career that allows for a full, adventurous life is important to many; is it for you? Explore what it would look like for you, your partner, your family, and your loved ones if you were to pursue a new career. How would your life change? Would these changes align with your goals?
When you start living your life in alignment with your goals, dreams, and values, you’ll find that opportunities will manifest in ways you never could have imagined. It will also have a tremendous impact on your emotional and mental health as your mind-set will shift to be more positive and focused on things that bring you joy. This will also benefit your physical health as you will have reduced stress and anxiety and more energy to devote to living a healthy lifestyle.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in health and wellness that allows for schedule flexibility, generous income, and helping others realize their full potential, IIN’s Health Coach Training Program may be the perfect fit. Try a free Sample Class today to explore what health coaching is all about.