I’ve been thinking about my day job quite a bit recently – as may have been evident from previous articles. To be fair, it’s not really a day job as such, since I’ve carved myself out a fairly lucrative niche as a self-employed IT consultant. But all the same, like many other folk at a certain point in theie career, or of a certain age – I find myself wondering whether I want to be doing what I’m doing now, for the next 20 years or so.
By all accounts, it’s not an uncommon situation to find yourself in these days. Many of the so called jobs-for-life that used to exist either don’t anymore, or if they still do – are so completely soul-destroying, that to actually stick with them is more like a life-sentence than a job or career that will sustain you financially, intellectually and emotionally over the course of your working life.
At some point then, there’s a strong likelihood that you’re going to find yourself wondering – do I still want to do this work? Can I stomach doing this work for the next 5, 10, 20 years of my life? And if not, what should I be doing instead? How do I navigate from where I am now to where I think I might want to be instead, and continue to provide an income for myself and/or my family in the process?
Why are you so unhappy with your job?
Interestingly, despite a lack of research into why people tend to reach a point in their lives where they become dissatisfied with their jobs (AKA mid-life-crisis – which always sounds a bit uncharitable to me, so I won’t be using the term) – there is some recognition within academic circles that it’s a phenomenon which occurs to more or less everyone. In short – between the ages of about 30-50, satisfaction with your career (if you have one) is likely to plummet – irrespective of your age, location or socio-economic status.
So for a kick-off, you shouldn’t feel like you’re alone in whatever feelings you’re having about your career – because there’s a strong likelihood that your peers (if they’re around the same age as you are) will be experiencing the same things.
Also – if you can hang on long enough, you can ride out the storm. The small amount of research that has been carried out suggests that your feelings of dissatisfaction will follow a kind of reverse bell-curve. A ‘U’ shaped trajectory that means your career happiness will plummet, but ultimately plateau and then rise again. The complete cycle may take in the region of 10-20 years though, so you could be in for a long ride!
I don’t want to wait 20 years! What can I do right now?
If you’ve decided some kind of change is definitely on the cards, then probably the most important thing is to see the situation as an opportunity and a chance to springboard into something better and more fulfilling than whatever it is you’re doing currently.
Answering the question of whether you want to continue working for someone else, or whether you just want to setup your own thing could be a great place to start. After all, if you just jump from one job/career to another one, there’s a pretty strong chance you’re going to experience similar feelings to those you’re having now, at some point in the future. You may just be kicking the can down the road, only to have to pick it up again at a later date.
Working as a freelancer or starting your own business, carries some obvious risks. But if satisfaction and fulfilment are important to you – building your own thing, serving lots of people and making an impact with a product or service that you created yourself – checks a lot of happiness boxes, and means you get to try out lots of different things in the process. As a business owner, you get to deal with:
- marketing and advertising
- product development
- customer service
And all of the other things that running a business involves. It’s also something that you can potentially do alongside your current day job. Just until you get things up and running, so you’re still earning an income in the meantime. Once you’ve developed your side-business to a point where it’s generating some sales, you can either quit your job and focus on your business full time, or start to outsource some of the work and scale it with employees or freelancers instead.
In fact – the whole thing will be in your hands, and that’s one of the joys.
Can I get some help along the way?
Of course, you may need some support along the way. If you decide to run your business in parallel with your existing career, then time will obviously be a constraint. You can download our 90minute daily plan to help you with that.
The other thing you may need is help, guidance and advice from folk who are also in business like yourself. You may find it helpful to be around people, just like you, that are working on growing their business and supporting each other in the process. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, checkout the Deliberate Millionaire group here.
I don’t know about you, but personally I have no plans on spending the next 10-20 years of my life wondering whether or not I’ve made the right choices with my career. I don’t want to put myself or the people I love through that. I’d much rather make the jump and spend my time working on something that energises and fulfils me. Doing it with similarly energised and motivated business owners is the icing on the cake. If you think the same way, then I’ll see you in group!