what to do when you hate your job: a 3-step plan!

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Do you hate your job? Well, you’re not alone. According to a 2017 Gallup poll, roughly 70% of American employees are either disengaged with their current role or find it to be a source of frustration rather than fulfillment.

So what should you do? I have an important bit of advice: If you can help it, don’t jump ship just yet! Be strategic about your next career move. In today’s post, I’ll talk through some initial steps you should take to search for and find a more fulfilling job when you realize that your current position is NOT for you.

Step 0: Allow yourself to be frustrated that this job opportunity is not working out the way you’d hoped. It would be rather cold and unfair of me to expect you to hop right into “fix it” mode without first accepting that there’s disappointment here. Acknowledge it, take the time you need to recover, and come to your “it’s time to make a change” moment fully present.

Okay, let’s proceed!

STEP 1: Figure out what you do (and DON’T) hate about your job

It’s self-assessment time. Ask yourself why you hate your current job. Determine whether it’s a new feeling or if you’ve consistently felt this way since Day 2. Is it the people you’re working with, the overall company culture, the actual work you’re being required to do? Reflecting on the things you hate about your current role will help you get a clearer sense of what you want and need in your next job opportunity. Make a pros and cons list for your current job, and a list of what you’d like to see in your next job. All of these actions will help you determine the opportunities to seek AND the opportunities to avoid when you’re actively searching for a new job.

STEP 2: Research job opportunities and connect with professionals

Based on the lists you’ve developed in Step 1, start searching and reviewing job descriptions for roles of interest. Use LinkedIn, friends, family, and local networking events to establish connections with industry professionals, and schedule informational interviews. Learn as much as you can about the role, area, or industry you’d like to be in for your next move. This is also a great time to reflect on your own transferable skills -- as you read through job descriptions, think about the instances when you’ve used the required skills or achieved goals that would strengthen your candidacy for these new positions.

STEP 3: Set a target start date, develop your job search timeline, and get to it!

If you know me, you know that this is one of my favorite job search goal-setting tips -- create your own target start date! Aka the day you'd like to wake up and be heading off to your first day in a new role. Circle it on your calendar, plaster it all over your walls, whatever works for you. Make sure you KNOW that date. Then? Work backwards. Factor in your two weeks' notice, how long it generally takes to get through an interview process, how much time you’d like to be networking with industry contacts, etc. Establish milestone dates and figure out the steps you need to take today to get to that dream date. Start with your end goal in mind! But get started!

And I’ll throw an extra Step 4 in there: Speak with a career coach! During a coaching session, you can get all of your frustrations, hopes, and fears out in the open, and strategize about whether you can find a way to mold the current role you hate into a role you’re much more excited about, or whether finding a new opportunity is the best option for you. You’ll also be able to develop a customized plan of action to pivot into a more satisfying role.

If your Sunday nights are currently filled with dread about the upcoming workweek, take one of these steps to start planning and preparing for your escape!