70% of people hate their jobs. For the remaining portion, it is just as miserable with 18% describing their job situation as disengaged and discontent. Gallop’s 2013 poll on the American Workplace highlights a 28% increase in job dissatisfaction since 2010. The figures reveal that although dissatisfied, still more people are remaining in these detrimental situations. No doubt much of the paralysis comes out of simply not knowing how to make a transition. Here are 8 steps to break free from the miserable job.
1. Is it the job, or is it you?
Oftentimes, there can be a great deal of baggage that is brought into the workplace or your the personal life. Make sure that the frustration you are experiencing is in fact coming from your work and that you are not falsely attributing your frustration to your job. Perhaps the passion for the job is still there, but it is buried underneath your personal struggles. Think of a time when your personal life was great. How did you feel about your job during that period? If your personal life is great and you are still miserable with your job, that is a great indication that you need a sea-change.
2. Values, Vehicle, & Vision
You need to be absolutely clear in these three areas. Your values are the non-negotiable details of what you are passionate about. For example, being your own boss, in the food industry, working with kids etc. Your vehicle is the how of making those things possible. It is the delivery system for your values—the job, the company. Put these two together and you will have your vision: the what + the how of your passion. Unless you are absolutely clear about these aspects, then you will just jump from one miserable job to another.
Once you have your values, vehicle, and vision clear. The next step is to research your socks off. Get online and access as many free articles and videos that are available on your passion or dream job. This is a great step for gauging your level of interest. It will either cause you to press on with your passion or re-evaluate if it is indeed the right path for you.
4. Reach Out
Identify some key people in the field that you are wanting to step into. Check out their company website and look for their email. This will require you to silence that voice of fear and be brave enough to try and connect with someone you do not know. What is the worse that could happen? They could say “no.” Just go onto the next person.
While you are doing all of the above. Salvage the time and potential resources you have at your current job. You do not have to let the cat out of the bag with quitting, but speak to your workmates—you never know who they may be able to introduce you to. Also use this time to save up as much money as possible to fund your new venture. If you have a great relationship with your boss, you definitely want to check out who they are connected with. Definitely do not burn any bridges.
6. The “Side Hustle.”
Many folks who have made successful mid-career shifts refer to the crucial stage in their transition known as the “Side Hustle.” Once you have researched and gathered the knowledge you need to start putting some wheels on your dreams, you can really get it rolling by engaging in it on a “part-time” basis. Turn all the theory into practice, taking it step by step. Set up the website, buy the basic equipment that you require. Treat it as taking on a part-time job for now until you really get some great momentum.
7. Support Network.
An encouraging community is key, whether that consists of your spouse, your family, or friends. You are guaranteed to hit some low points as you step out into uncharted waters. Share your goals with some close friends and have them not only keep you accountable, but also be that shoulder to cry on when things get a little tough. Just make sure you keep pressing on!
Before you completely cut the umbilical chord to your old job, you need to think about the long term viability of your new venture. You are not looking to make a quick sale and be out of the game at half-time. The “side hustle” is crucial in its ability to validate your venture. Look for signs of long term success. No musician wants to be known as a “one-hit wonder” but rather a veteran of the industry.
It is also important to note that unless you are in a great financial situation and can afford to take an extended unpaid break, it is not advisable to immediately quit your job. It is easy to be impulsive when you are unhappy and miserable, but you need to keep your wits about you and be wise in your transition.