Starting a new job – especially if it is the first step in your career – is an exciting prospect. But what do you do if you find your new job unfulfilling?
Feeling unfulfilled at work can leave you feeling depressed, fatigued and listless. Starting any new job brings with it expectations of what we will be doing and the positive impact we can have, but getting there and feeling like we are drowning in pointless tasks, endless to do lists and meeting after meeting can have a negative impact on our mental health. Ultimately, in whatever form, we all crave a sense of meaning in what we do at work. Our brains release endorphins when we feel that we have achieved something and we are able to be more creative and more productive when we are in a good place mentally. Thankfully, there are thing s you can do to get out of the rut. Firstly, you need to ask yourself some difficult questions:
1. If you feel able to, speak to your boss about what you can do to feel more fulfilled.
It may not be possible to change your duties in your current organisation / role, but it is always worth exploring first if you feel able to have this conversation with your boss or HR department.
2. Why were you attracted to the job / company in the first place?
Were you really searching for your ideal job, or did you just end up accepting something so you would be able to pay the bills? It is much harder to change career later in life, when you have more financial commitments, so if you fear you may have jumped in on the first thing you were offered, take a step back and rethink what it is you really want to do and why.
3. Are there elements of your work that do make you feel fulfilled?
If there are elements you enjoy, this can be a clue as to the direction you may wish to pursue more directly. Is there another job (in your current organisation, or elsewhere) that would offer more of the things you enjoy doing? Or is there a theme you notice that might direct you towards a different career that would enable you to do similar things more?
4. What is it that you really value?
It is easy to get caught up in the values of others and lose touch with what it is that you really value as you try to keep up with colleagues. Take a step back and think about what really matters to you. When you are working to your values you will feel fulfilled. This may mean taking a pay cut (at least in the short term) as you refocus, but will lead to a happier life
5. Once you have established what it is you really aspire to, figure out what you need to do to achieve a job that offers that.
Research what it is (qualifications, experience etc…) you need to move towards your goal and then make a plan as to how you achieve that. Even if you have to stick where you are for a while to get yourself in the position to make the jump, you will feel better knowing that you are taking positive steps towards your goal.
Most important of all is to respect yourself enough to ask the questions and do the work so that you have a plan to get you where you need to be. It can be easy to just coast because you feel unfulfilled, but action is the only way out!