Throughout your career you will inevitably find yourself in a position, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, that lacks the characteristics that you desire in a job in order to feel satisfied, valued, and passionate. A few years ago I found what I thought was my dream job, every day was a new kind of challenge (the fun kind), my boss was supportive and chill, I enjoyed seeing all of my coworkers, and best of all, the work I did was fun and I loved it. Fast forward 10 months into the position and, upon returning from my wedding (with my now ex-husband) I found out that the department leader had eliminated my position, and had been planning on it for months. Luckily, I was put into another position (where that same department lead later explained that I was replacing someone and not becoming their colleague like we both thought) immediately to avoid the dreaded pink slip.
While I am grateful for not getting a pink slip after my job was eradicated, the position I was moved into was less than desirable for someone of my talents and personality. Instead of large-scale problem solving and brushing elbows with colleagues of all ranks, I was sat in a desk for 8 hours a day auditing processing transactions to make sure teams processed their work correctly. Enter in, days filled with boredom, glazed over eyes, and an unending desire for big time change.
Admittedly, I spent the better part of six months doing what anyone whose ego has been bruised and who felt betrayed and let down- I moped and did the bare minimum in my job just to get by, and kept searching for a way out of that job. After some much needed growth and honest conversations, I realized I was approaching the entire situation from the wrong attitude and angle- I didn’t need to get out of the job, I needed to dive more inward into it in order to progress and grow. Essentially, I needed to step up and be a CEO and not a miserable worker bee.
Aside from actually stepping up and excelling at the role (it was quite easy once I let that wretched ego fall to the side), I started to re-evaluate my career in my spare time- I took a hard look at my resume and skillset and did a personal analysis by learning:
- What skills I had that I loved using
- What tasks/projects I have done that I excelled at and enjoyed
- What kinds of environments I thrived in
- What the common threads of joy and pride where in each job I held
Once I had that information I was better able to see situations within my current role (and opportunities in job postings) could bring me the satisfaction and passion I was desperately missing, plus, it also gave me something to strive for and push towards achieving when the days got rough.
As I continued to progress through the job, I also honed in on sharpening- or building up from non-existence- skillsets I knew I’d need in the future, from leadership and communication, all of the way down to specific methodologies of problem solving and solution creation. Being able to wake up on a Monday morning knowing that at least part of my 40 hours that week would be spent doing something more meaningful and joyful made that early AM alarm a little less disastrous.
The last key to finding satisfaction in my dreaded auditing job was to spend time finding the right connections throughout the company- which was greatly helped by my existing network within the company helping me reach out to those new connections to help build my desired skillset and build new relationships, which all, when wrapped up beautifully together, helped me land a much needed interview for a new position that I knocked out of the park and ended up being the job interview that helped me move my career forward back into passion and purpose.
I survived, and started to thrive, in that job for the 16 months I was in it because I turned the mundane day-to-day mindlessness of it all into an opportunity to re-evaluate my career, improve my skillset for future positions, and build relationships with colleagues that could help make my career stronger. While working in a position that you do not enjoy or want to be in is not ideal, with the right mindset change and dedication to personal growth, you can, and will, make it through that job that makes you want to bang your head into your desk each morning. You got this, CEO, go get ‘em.