Job dissatisfaction: What would you do?

sad employeeCan I let you in on a not-so-secret secret? I don’t like my job. My coworkers are fine. My boss is fine. But I can’t get excited about what I actually do.

What started with InDesign and copy editing has transformed into endless spreadsheets and the pressure of trying to improve a product that I don’t personally support. This is a job I was contacted about out of the blue. I took it because I was desperate for a full-time paycheck. Looking back, I’m not sure if it was the right decision.

I can feel myself becoming more discontent and aggravated on a daily basis. Dilbert cartoons have become the tool I use to measure how much of my passion has been sucked out by the corporate lifestyle; the funnier they are, the less of a person I am. And lately they’ve been pretty damn hilarious.

Cartoon

If this isn’t funny to you, you’re doing something right.

If I were part of the Baby Boomer generation, my peers would be saying, “So… What’s the problem? You have a job that pays well. You can support your family. You should consider yourself lucky!”

But I’m not part of that generation. I’m a Millennial, which means my peers are saying, “So… What’s the problem? Just quit! Follow your passion; you can do anything!”

I have a love-hate relationship with the Millennial mantra that I won’t get into at this moment. The main problem with the ideals we were raised with is timing. We are entering the work force at the worst possible time to let our careers be dictated by passion alone. Some of us just need to bite the bullet and take a job so we can get out of debt.

Lately I’ve been feeling like the stripper in City High’s “What Would You Do?” Here’s the song if you need a refresher:

Obviously my life isn’t as shambled as the woman’s in the song. But I do feel like I’m making what has become the “wrong” choice when it comes to my career.

“Hold up. Why can’t you just quit and get a job you enjoy?”

I am looking for other jobs. But quitting my current job so I can commit more time to finding a better job is really scary to me.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for young adults (25-29) is currently 7.8 percent. This is only a little higher than the percent of my student loan interest. (By the way, the unemployment rate is 12.5% for ages 20-24.)

I recently read a Forbes article saying that due to the rising cost of education and the poor economy, today’s 20-somethings won’t be able to retire until they are in their 70s. I won’t be able to retire until I am 73. Seventy-three! If I quit my job and am unemployed for a year, that retirement age will just keep going up. And when you’re already retiring in your 70s, that’s a risk you don’t want to take.

So in the altered words of City High,

“What would you do if you were in debt

If you had a bunch of loans, sitting in an account, accruing interest!

And the only way to pay them is to

Work at a job that you don’t really like.

But you’re trying!

To get hired

Or maybe get fired

You’ll never retire!

So for you this is just a strange choice but for me this is what I call life. MMm.”

If I stay the course, my loans will be fully paid off by this time next year. My days of being debt-free are so close… If I can just hold out a little longer I’ll be in a better position to take risks. But maybe I’m being to practical.

What would you do?

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7 thoughts on “Job dissatisfaction: What would you do?

  1. I’m not a proponent of “just quit” by any means. Would you jump off a cliff without a plan for what you’re going to do once you’re hanging in mid-air? Heck no. When you have a steady – albeit painful – job, it’s the perfect time to dig in and work on developing a longer-range plan by identifying your preferred skills, values, ideal work environment, and topics that create excitement within you. Once you have that picture, you can start brainstorming potential fields and jobs of interest, and then begin informational interviewing to test those fields/jobs out. Than and only then is it time to start searching for a new job – and ideally to not quit until you have one (unless you’ve amassed a large emergency fund to cover some time of planned unemployment because the current work is THAT bad). Wishing you all the best as you find the next step!!!

    • Thanks, Rebecca! Excellent advice as always :). I do agree that this is the perfect time to do some soul searching and job researching. I just can’t wait to be at the point in my life where I don’t need to worry about doing work every day after work. Unless, of course, my career requires it.

      And luckily my current job isn’t bad enough for me to quit without a plan. It is actually giving me a base of general employment skills, but it’s not in a field I want to pursue. I just worry that the longer I stick with it, the less of a chance I’ll have to find work in a different field.

    • I’m absolutely on board with Rebecca here. Also, try to keep in mind that you are not your job. Don’t forget there’s nothing stopping you from finding ways to pursue your passions outside of your 9-5!

  2. I think I agree somewhat with the last comment. Enjoy your paycheck and take your free time to discover yourself and your passions to figure out what you want to do. I think that quitting without knowing that information may not put you in a better situation. When I was in a situation (just a bit more than a year ago) I was looking at other jobs and getting frustrated that other jobs weren’t exciting me either. Introspection helped me figure out that I wanted to switch fields and go back to school. Now, I’m in grad school, and I’m happy I stayed at work as long as I did to make living off a stipend and the saved money a little more manageable.

    • Thanks for the input; I definitely agree. Since my first year after graduating college was spent in unemployment limbo, I’m not eager to go back. And I can somewhat relate to your issue of not being excited by jobs in your field. I majored in English, which left me with quite a few varied career choices. Things I once thought about doing don’t seem that exciting anymore, and things I had never imagined myself doing are becoming more appealing. I’m glad you figured it out and are working toward doing something you enjoy!

    • I know, right? I already spent a year putting about one-third of my salary toward loans. If I can manage another year like that, I’ll be finished. Kind of depressing to think of what I could be doing with that monthly chunk of money, but it’ll be worth it eventually.

      Thanks for the tip! I think finding some sort of fulfillment is definitely necessary in order to not go crazy.

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