People Unhappy at Work
Are you one of the many workers who long for a more meaningful career? According to a recent survey, two out of three workers feel miserable or unfulfilled in their jobs. Many of us long to do work that we feel is “making a difference” with career choices such as charity workers, counsellors and animal welfare officers becoming increasingly popular.
Money Less of an Issue
William Nelson, a trend analyst with the Future Foundation states that “Rising affluence and high employment levels mean that most of us now feel pretty secure in providing for our basic needs, especially once we’re established in careers and the housing market. The ethical and spiritual dimensions of work therefore are of more of a priority, and people want to believe that their careers contribute towards a better future – not just for themselves but for society as a whole.”
This new career trend has been called “zenployment” with almost half of those surveyed saying that they hoped to be in a second career offering greater fulfilment by the age of 45. So, how do you go about making this career change? The first thing you have to determine is your own definition of “meaningful work”? This will be unique to each individual; for some it could be charity work but for others it could be teaching, nursing or setting up your own business. Don’t discount your current occupation either as you may just be unhappy because you don’t feel particularly strongly about the reason your organisation exists. For example, an accountant may experience increased career satisfaction from working in finance for an organisation that supports some cause that they are passionate about than for a large private corporation that is beholden to its shareholders or sells products or services that people don’t really need.
Once you’ve decided on what you want to do then research is vital. Find out as much as you can about your new career through books, magazines and the internet and talk to people who are already working in that field.
Transferable Skills are Key
Be clear about the skills and experience required for this change. Transferable skills are very important when contemplating a change in career. Think of the skills you have which may be applicable in many different work settings eg. presentation skills, project management skills, decision making, leadership etc. The next step is to prepare a list of gaps in your skills and experience and then set yourself an action plan to achieve them. It may be that you need to complete a course of study or attend some training courses. Do you have the time and financial means to do this? There are always lots of opportunities to do all types of voluntary work and this can be an excellent way to fill any gaps in experience.