You graduated. You made the choice. You started working. And now it's been about, oh, six months, maybe less, and you thought you'd be happy. You thought you'd feel this sense of "Yes! Good choice! Right job! Go me!" But instead you feel "meh, it's not great..." or even "This sucks." But why? And what would be better? What do you do now?
I see this a lot and you are definitely not alone. Pull up a chair, there is a way forward. Here's your 6-step guide to fixing it.
1. Assess. What do you like about the job you have now? What are the things you don't like? Take stock and make a list or whip out some post-it notes and stick 'em on a wall.
2. Pick just one thing on your list that you don't like, and that you think might be easy to fix. The low hanging fruit. What is one thing you can do to move that forward or fix it? Brainstorm.
3. Implement one of your changes quickly to improve the "don't like". The key here is taking swift action. The way you kill a mosquito. Do what you can right now to move forward on fixing something, even if it doesn't fix the whole problem, even if it's just a small step in the right direction.
4. Look at your "like" list. Pick one thing on there that you'd really love to do more of. Don't spend too much time analyzing, pick something easy or especially attractive.
5. Brainstorm some ways that you can do more of that thing. Is there a project you can create or propose? A way to do more of the thing you want to do outside of your work? Even that will help you build the skills and connections to do what you need to do as part of your professional path.
6. Pick one of your ideas and implement that. Just like the mosquito swatting you did in step #3, take one action toward making the thing that you want happen. Email in your request. Or just start doing the work you want to be doing instead. Reach out and make a networking connection. Whatever it is take action.
You're now in the process of creating your ideal work situation, and of moving toward something that is going to leave you feeling like "Yes! This is it!" Starting with small steps to move away from what isn't working and towards what is working will give you the confidence and joy and skills to make bigger changes as you move forward and to have greater confidence that those big changes will be moving in the right direction. It's important to remember that it's really rare for perfect jobs or perfect careers to come together in one fell swoop, more often it's a series of opportunities taken or conversations started that lead to something that leads to something else that leads to that feeling of career fit. So just start taking actions in the right direction and you'll get there. I promise.
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