5 Surefire Ways To End Up With A Career You Hate

I spend a lot of time sharing information on how to love your career. I talk about making thoughtful decisions, establishing a path and actively managing your goals. Related: The Importance Of Being Aligned With Your Work But, equally important, is avoiding those roads that will lead to inevitable career unhappiness. Sometimes, they’re hard to spot. But I’ve found five that are clear, unmistakable danger zones. Take a look below and make every effort to avoid these traps.


1. “...But I’m Good At This.”

So, it’s not something you want to do, it’s something you can do. I get it. Sounds good at first. Take advantage of your skills and all that. But sooner or later, it wears thin. I see this quite often with mid-career professionals. They’ve been chugging right along, doing what they do, and suddenly they realize they’ve been sucked into a void of discontent. Don’t dedicate your energy to something just because you have the ability. You deserve to be at least somewhat selective. And, if you desperately want to do something that you’re not naturally good at, you always have the power to advance your skills.

2. “...But I Need The Money.”

It sounds like such an obviously bad idea and yet, so many people fall for this one. Money isn’t enough to keep you happy for long. Yes, we all have financial needs that must be met. But, if that’s the sole reason you’re in your career, prepare for misery my friend. There are—literally—MILLIONS of ways to make money. Find something that offers another kind of satisfaction as well. Compensation comes in many forms and your paycheck is just one.

3. “Things Will Get Better.”

Staying the course and hoping things improve is a surefire way to waste time. If you’re in a career that’s making you miserable, it’s probably safe to say that things can’t change enough to make it worthwhile staying. Maybe they can. Maybe your awful boss will retire and you’ll be promoted and the company will be purchased by Google. But I like to encourage a proactive mindset. Do what you can to improve the situation and, if things don’t change significantly and quickly, start the process of moving on. Don’t stick with it just because you feel invested. Don’t fool yourself into thinking things will just magically get better with time.

4. “I’m Afraid.”

If fear is holding you back, you’re not alone. This is the number one reason people stay in careers they don’t enjoy. The unknown path is always scary. But be honest with yourself. If you never confront your fear, you’ll never know what could have been. You don’t want to look back on your life at the age of 70 and have regrets or questions. A few calculated risks lead to a life well-lived. Maybe not always an easy or expected life, but one you can be proud of.

5. “Nothing Else Would Be Any Better.”

This is the kind of thinking that takes over when you’re unhappy. You just give up. And it’s my job to remind everyone—yes, everyone—that there are ways to find happiness at work. No one is cursed with the miserable career plague. It’s a temporary state, IF you are willing to do the work. Don’t ever believe you’re stuck. The kind of thinking described above is normal and tempting. We all fall into these thought patterns on occasion. The good news is you can snap yourself right out of it. You CAN find career nourishment. [postriddle data_game="//www.riddle.com/Top10/Embedded/1836-10+%22Skills%22+that+shouldn%27t+be+on+your+LinkedIn+profile" data_width="100%" data_height="auto"]

Related Posts

Why Finding Your Passion Isn’t A Pass/Fail Exam 5 Ways To Rekindle The Lost Love With Your Job Have You Found Your Passion Or Just Another Hobby?   Photo Credit: Shutterstock

When most people think of Nike, they think of shoes, retail stores, and, of course, athletes. That's all true, but there's more. Behind Nike's walls, you'll find the doers and thinkers who design, create, and innovate every day. There are also data scientists who discover and leverage athlete insights to create the future of sport.

You might be surprised to learn about the impact you can have in Data & Analytics at Nike versus at a major tech giant. Nike employees get to work on a wide array of challenges, so if you're obsessed with math, science, computers, and/or data, and you love sport, these stories may inspire you to work at Nike.

SHOW MORE Show less

Employee loyalty is something every company longs for. It's estimated employee turnover costs as much as 130-200% of an employee's salary. When a talented, knowledgeable, trained employee leaves, it's bad for business. And, when lots of them leave, it can be the kiss of death.

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the interview situation one of our viewers, Remi submitted. He was in an interview and was asked the question: How many cows are there in Canada right now? - What a weird question but this is a technique that some hiring managers are using these days.

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Kevin submitted. He is a college student who's working a part time job to make ends meet. The manager/owner of the company has become a micro-manager who watches him work on camera and reads his company emails. A bit over the top wouldn't you say?

SHOW MORE Show less