Change Might Scary But It Doesn't Have To Be Impossible: Do You Love Your Work?

Change Might Scary But It Doesn't Have To Be Impossible: Do You Love Your Work?


Sep. 15 2022, Published 5:12 p.m. ET

"On average, people will spend about 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime. That's about 1/3 of our lives, and an awful lot of time to be miserable," says Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino, founder of The Best Ever You Network. The pandemic presented us with all of the time that we were missing out on and lead some if not most of us to question the way that we had been spending our time, energy, and resources. Naturally, we get into a cycle that we become comfortable in and have troubling breaking out of, even if we know we need change. Quarantine, however, took us out of those cycles.

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This time away from our usual day to day gave us the opportunity to realize what we're truly happy doing. For some people, their work was the thing that they were truly happy doing. Others found their joy in other things which, over the course of the pandemic, became a new career path for them.

A lot of us are questioning our present and future endeavors right now. Making a career change doesn't have to be out of reach. Check out these steps, according to experts, that will make for a seamless shift.

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Your Time Belongs To You

Step 1: Pay attention to how you're often spending your time.

As I shared earlier, 1/3 of our lives take place as work. Therefore, the type of energy that we put into it and also receive from it, matters. Hamilton-Guarino explained to Good Housekeeping, "A lot of us, in the back of our minds, know something needs to change or have something they want to do. But we don't know what's out there because we're in that cycle of necessity, or we're just used to what we're doing.” With that being said, it's important that you recognize if your work bring you genuine joy and/or fulfillment or not.

Another factor to consider is what about your work is causing your unhappiness (if you are unhappy). Consider the responsibility you take on whether it be "structural, interpersonal or culture fit issues that aren't really your own."

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Remember, You're Never Stuck

Step 2: Realize that you can always leave.

Lia Garvin, operations leader at Google and author of UNSTUCK: Reframe Your Thinking to Free Yourself From the Patterns and People that Hold You Back, discusses how changing the way you allow yourself to think about a situation can help you get into a more positive one. And, it's not about "looking to the brightside" but rather, reframe your thinking to see all of the possibilities rather than limitations. Garvin states, “It is about recognizing our agency and making a series of choices that get me closer to that thing that I want, even when there are a lot of things outside of our control.”

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The UNSTUCK author elaborated on the common trend of people overstaying at a job because they don't see a way out. “They think, ‘This is it for me,’ or ‘I can't do anything else.’ Or, ‘I've invested so much time in this job so I guess I just have to be unhappy in it."

Take Your Skills With You

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Step 3: Write out what skills you've learned from you current/ previous job and how they can transfer into a new one.

Think about skills such as problem-solving, mentoring, communication and so on. Write them down and then get more specific. Ask yourself how you can put those skills into practice with a new company and/or a new position.

“That it makes it less like, “Well, everybody has problem solving skills,’” Garvin explains, “And more like, ‘When I was in this role, I did XYZ thing, which, which is a great showcase for my problem-solving skills.’”

Don't Forget Your Values

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Step 4: Fulfill what matters to you most in the workplace.

Garvin warns, “There's always going to be tradeoffs. So think about what are the core set of things that must be there, and I mean like four out of 100.”

The gig itself isn't always the issue in a workplace. Often times, it's the atmosphere. If you switch careers without considering how things get done and the way people interact then you might end up with buyers remorse, back in the same position you were just in - unhappy at work. Garvin advises, “Recognize some of the triggers that were making the job or the industry feel unfulfilling."

You're Not Alone

Step 5: Have your support system on speed dial.

“For a really long time, we have associated cries for help as failure, when in fact cries for help are a sign of success," states Hamilton-Guarino. Don't make yourself do this alone. This is something that takes courage and time. You deserve the support of a friend or family member, or both. Having loved ones rooting for you along the way can make the transition much more manageable and exciting.


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