I’ve quit a lot of jobs. And not just burger-flipper kind of jobs. Real, career-level jobs. With nothing lined up to take their place. Do I recommend this as a career strategy? Um…no. But, my chronic dissatisfaction has taught me to tell the difference between real job issues and me just needing an overhaul, mentally and physically. If you’re feeling burnt-out and uninspired in your job, try these before you throw in the towel:
Get some exercise. Doing this is a constant battle for me, even though I know I will feel 10x better if I move my body regularly. So I get that it’s extra hard when you’re unhappy in your job. But you’ve just got to do it. Exercise releases endorphins, which improves your mood. It improves flexibility, something you’ll appreciate if your desk job is leaving you an aching, contorted mess. And it gives you the energy and stamina to do other important things, like professional training, strategic volunteering or pounding the pavement for your next gig.
Find a hobby. Find something outside of work that lights you up. It doesn’t matter what it is, but you need something to look forward to at the end of the work day. Having something to think (and talk) about besides your crappy job will make you happier and easier to be around. And connecting with people who share your personal interests is a non-greasy way to network and can lead to unexpected professional opportunities.
Take stock. When you’re feeling beat up, the temptation is to jump ship and hope for the best. But the “anywhere but here” approach often sets you up to be just as unhappy in the next gig. (Trust me, I know.) Think hard about what it is that you really dislike about your current job. It might not be what you first think. And consider what parts of it you actually enjoy. These are clues to where you might want to go next. Then take an honest look at your skill set and decide if it fits a career trajectory you can be happy with over the next 5-10-20 years. If it doesn’t, you have the starting point for crafting your next move.