What to do if you hate your career 1

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CAREER

 Afolabi Akindele

Quit!

This sounds like the most logical option. After all, why should you get stuck doing what you hate? If many, in this position, would take this option, I believe there would be less career haters and possibly more career lovers, provided after quitting, they get engaged in something they love doing.

It takes a lot of guts to quit the career one hates. One of the first major considerations before embarking on this choice is often the thought of how the domestic bills will be settled. Children’s school fees, rent, mortgage etc are the first to carry placards in protest against quitting. If this thought is holding you back, then my questions for you are;

  1. Should your career just be a means of paying the bills?
  2. Must you trade meaning for money?
  3. Why should we commit about two third of our time to doing something we do not care about?
  4. Is it a crime to get paid for being happy?

Secondly, our careers give us identity, and because this identity often defines us we are usually afraid of losing it. To some, losing that identity is like being naked and no one is ever comfortable being naked except it is orchestrated by mental or deliberate madness. Others derive self-esteem from the professional adjectives that are used to qualify them. For instance, being called a banker, lawyer, accountant and so on gives a sense of accomplishment of which quitting might just bring emptiness.

Another reason why people don’t have the guts to quit the career they hate is the dreadful thought of ‘What next?’ I believe this is a genuine concern but not without a solution that requires principally asking the right questions and being committed to a discipline of planning and execution.

Additionally, people get stuck and unable to escape from a career path for the lack of opportunities usually caused by limited educational qualification and skills. I am however questioning this consideration. The people of this generation have far more career opportunities than if they were living about a century ago; it is whether people take time to renew or develop their skills to be able to provide quality services or chose to rot away in their current career path that seems to be sucking life out of them.

Am I advocating that you should quit your career if you hate it? Not precisely, but I started on that note to let you know that if push comes to shove, you should be able to take the leap, albeit with some guidance. The essence of life is to continue to become a better version of yourself as stated by Matthew Kelly and if your career, which constitutes a major part of your life, is not helping you achieve this goal, then you should be able to call it off and find something more meaningful to do.

Quitting is one of the options available to you if you hate your career and as a career consultant, I do not always encourage it as a first step. My experience dealing with clients show that there are usually underlying issues to the career hatred but most times, such clients deal with the pressing surface issues. It is always better to unravel some of the underlying issues so that changing career will not end up being fruitless.   (To be continued next week)

Akindele Afolabi is a Career Management Consultant with Career Edge Limited. He helps organisations and individuals to take ownership of their career management initiatives.

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