I know a woman named Monica who loves her creative job but gets headaches dealing with the politics of a large company. Joanne loves her work but dislikes the chaos in her start-up company and longs to be in a stable organization. Another friend Sam finds tremendous satisfaction in streamlining work processes, but really dislikes managing people. Martha loved her HR job until the company was re organized and now she feels excluded from critical decision making processes and is considering leaving her company. An old colleague Joe loves IT but hates running his own IT company and wishes he were back working as a contractor. All of these folks enjoy working but feel a miss-fit with their work environments or their responsibilities.
How about you? How do you feel about yourself each day at work? Are you pushing yourself to be somebody you aren’t? It is draining trying to fit into a role that isn’t you. And it can feel like wearing someone else’s shoes. It is hard to feel competent and successful when you feel awkward.
Many of the personality inventories used for assessment tend to group individuals into one of four categories. Some individuals are decisive, intuitive, action oriented and bottom line driven. Others love data and analysis and are driven by logic. Some folks love solving problems, and others love leading, selling, and inspiring others. When our personal style matches our job, we usually feel comfortable—like wearing good fitting shoes. When the fit is off, it is like a small pebble in our shoes—constantly annoying.
It takes courage to be honest with yourself and your family about your work. It can be hard to give up good money, and status, or deal with the social pressure of leaving what looks like a great job. Most of us are programmed to get ahead—get promoted—make more money with the assumption that we will be happier—but sometimes we just aren’t.
If you feel a disconnect with your current job, take the first step and be honest with yourself. Gather the courage to be real with the important friends and family around you. Get clarity about who you are—your personality, talents, skills. See if there is a position with a better fit in your current organization. If not, begin looking elsewhere, even if it takes 1-2 years to find a good fitting role. Life is too short to spend a third of every day miserable.