‘I feel like I’m in the wrong job.’
I often hear this from people (I’m a career coach!) and am immediately concerned, especially if it’s a role they have enjoyed for many years.
Sometimes it’s not the job that’s wrong. Perhaps your circumstances have changed and pressures at home are affecting your ability to do your job the way you used to. Or maybe your boss or some other aspect of your work has changed and what you need is a new employer, not a different career. It may be worth reading a book by Mark Greene, for example Thank God it’s Monday, or Working it Out: God, You and the Work You Do by Ian Coffey or others that look at the Christian context of work.
If that feeling really won’t go away, here are some thoughts on how you might go about finding your ideal job:
1. Find inspiration of the right kind. It might be a cliché to advise you to pray, but as this is a Christian jobsite that’s exactly where I would encourage you to begin. Maybe do it right now, even before you finish reading this article. Commit the whole idea in prayer to God because he cares for you. Ask for his help and obey his command not to be anxious but to bring everything to him in prayer (Philippians 4:6). ‘Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans’ (Proverbs 16:3).
2. Keep praying and listening. Set time aside to consider things prayerfully. Meditate on your working life so far (if you have one) with your ears open to God. What has worked well? What did you really enjoy and why? When you finish praying, write down the things that are still in your mind in a journal if you have one, or in a small notebook especially for this purpose.
Take your notebook with you wherever you go. Make notes as you talk to people, watch others travel to work, or as you surf the net; whatever comes into your mind. Ask God if the thought is a prompting from the Holy Spirit? If you are unsure, leave it in. If it’s definitely not, cross it out.
3. Make a plan. After a week or two, sit down with a friend (someone who can contribute, comment and be objective; possibly not your spouse at this stage), a large sheet of paper and some marker pens. After reading your notes, begin to make some brief lists:
Look for consistent themes. You won’t find a positive in a negative, so don’t focus on what has gone wrong with your current job. It’s good to learn that you really don’t like administration or dislike working outside every day, but don’t let that drive you.
4. Explore potential ideas. Would you need to retrain? Is there a cost involved? Will it time? How would your spouse/family feel? Offer these up to your loving father. Don’t try to solve any issues overnight and don’t be afraid to share them with others.