Stuck in a dead end job or career? Here’s what to do

If you’ve come to the realisation that you are not happy with your job or career, there is always time to make that positive change. Work is a huge part of life due to the sheer number of hours we spend there, so it’s important that we get a great deal of job satisfaction otherwise it can affect our personal life too.

Money isn’t everything, and job satisfaction is always considered as the number one reason why a worker will remain at a job for many years and have a successful and happy career. A good wage is always a plus too though!

If you’re stuck in a job or career and would like some advice on what to do next, here are some great tips to get you started on the right path…

Don’t be hasty – make a plan

 The worst thing you can do in this situation is walk out the second it hits you that this isn’t the job for you. Financially this is not a good move, but it also creates unease between you and your old employer which can never be a positive thing when it comes to gaining a reference and explaining why you left to a future employer.

At the very least you should work out your notice, which is usually 1-3 months – check your contract or with the HR department. During that time you can plan what you are going to do next, but this may still not leave you with enough time.

Unless you are extremely unhappy, you should make a plan on what you would like to do allowing you to time everything just right. You can always look for a new job whilst working at your current position, which means you don’t lose out financially and allows you as much time as you need to plan what you want to do next.

What is making you unhappy – is there a solution?

Do you really dislike your job or is someone/something at work making your worklife unhappy?

Take the time to ponder on what exactly is making you feel this way before you make a decision you regret. If another employee is making you unhappy, have you spoken with your manager? Is this something you can approach them directly with to let them know they are making things difficult for you?

If you enjoy the tasks and responsibilities of your role, then maybe it isn’t the job that’s the problem after all. Maybe you feel that you should be paid more, or should have been promoted ahead of someone. If the issue lies outside of your actual work related duties then leaving may not be the answer. 

Job or career – which should you change?

If you are unhappy with your chosen career path, then maybe it’s time for a complete change. It is never too late, and although this decision is probably going to be a tough one, you’d be better off making it sooner rather than later when maybe it ends up being too late!

Don’t be put off by the thought of retraining

If you looking to make a complete 180 degree turn on your career to something completely different, it may require you to learn new skills and gain new qualifications. This is obviously going to feel like a very daunting challenge, and one which often puts people off from doing the right thing.

I have personally worked with many people over the years that are clearly not happy doing what they’re doing, and you can easily see that a total change of career would be the right step for them. But 10 years later they are still in the same job with the same miserable attitude. Do you want to be this person?

Although it may seem that the skills, qualifications and experience you’ve gained over the years was to no avail, this is not true. Everything you’ve achieved so far will make a positive impact on a change of career path, and one which will be easily recognised by a new employer.

Do your research

If a career change is what you’ve decided, then now is the time for some well needed research. The obvious question is – what do you want to do, and how do you get it? Here’s a great talk from Badass Careers on what to do if you’re feeling a bit lost when it comes to which direction to take:

Once you’ve decided upon your new career path you can begin your research into what is required. What experience, what skills, and what qualifications are needed before I take the plunge? If a certain qualification is required, then you could consider attaining this whilst you are at your current job. You’d be surprised at how many fast track courses there are out there, and it doesn’t always mean you have to go back to school full time.

Jump start your career with a great CV template

Finally, one of the most important aspects of applying for a new job or career is working from one of these fantastic free CV templates. If you’ve been stuck in the same dead end job for years, then it is very likely that your CV is outdated and in much need of a revamp.

Don’t fall into the trap of keeping the same old tired CV and simply updating it when you leave for another role. An employer will easily spot an old CV, so why not make life easier for yourself and use one of the many fantastic free CV’s the internet has to offer.

With so much choice, you can pick one that suits your needs – no matter what the occupation. Many hours are often spent creating CV templates from scratch, adjusting margins, fonts, font sizes, spacing and so on. A CV template offers you the chance to get straight to the heart of your CV, allowing you to focus on what you have to offer an employee.

If you’re stuck for a little inspiration, it can also be very helpful to look at other peoples’ CV examples. These give you ideas of how you might complete your own CV and can be a useful starting point. Here are some examples:

Example CVs –

CV Templates Archives –

Example CVs (University of Manchester)

Further reading

How to change careers in 6 steps

8 things you must do if you want to be headhunted for a job

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