Waking up from a nightmare is not a pleasant experience, yet going to work with one every day is an entirely different matter. Most people accept a job with a hopeful attitude of growth and enthusiasm; however, there may be occasions during your career where you may end up second-guessing your decision.
If you happen to be in the wrong job and you know it, chances are high your boss probably suspects it as well. To make matters more challenging, when you ignore something that’s wrong, it usually gets worse before it gets better.
The ground work is laid for a career nightmare when communication is skewed with your expectations or with the employer, such as your “wants” are different from the actual job description or the job duties were misrepresented. In either case, when reality sets in and you discover your job is not working out as hoped, it’s up to you to wake up and take responsibility for it.
The good news is nightmares will end, and the unpleasantness can turn out to be one of the most important turning points in your work life. Ask anyone who has been in the wrong job and you will immediately get an empathetic connection once they’re reminded of the situation.
There are times when a job seems to be a great fit and you are enthusiastic about your decision only to realize later that what you wanted is not what you are actually doing. Listening to your self-talk is the No. 1 area that is likely to be ignored even though it provides the clues to your discomfort.
While your job may feel like a huge disappointment, what you learn from this experience can serve you throughout your work life.
Here are some suggestions to help you turn your career around:
- Take a moment and list the reasons why you were attracted to the job in the first place. Before you take action, it helps to identify the areas that are creating the mismatch. If you are stressed, identify the source causing those feelings.
- Reframe your decision from living with a mistake to one of coming up with a solution.
- When talking with your boss, structure the conversation around the contributions you would like to make rather than the disappointment you are experiencing.
- When you are in the midst of a career-defining moment, the experience gives you a possible clue that your work values and priorities are not aligned. Stop and listen; they often show you what is missing and serve as a road map in moving forward.
- Don’t beat yourself up emotionally from a bad career decision. Instead, learn from it. Learn what to avoid in the future such as not asking enough questions up front or lacking necessary research before accepting a job, and, most importantly, learn what you can control and what you can’t in your career.
Keep your confidence up; you will find a resolution to your career situation. Even though it may take patience and courage, chances are you will come out with a renewed focus and increased self-knowledge.
If you have ever made a bad career decision, what lesson did you learn from it that helped you make better career choices?