Am I In The Wrong Job?

Posted October 13, 2011, by Elissa Collier

Sometimes it’s easier to identify something we don’t like rather than something we do, and our careers are no exception. You’ll know you’re in the wrong job if being at work brings out the worst in you, including a whole lot of negative emotions – perhaps frustration, anger, irritability, anxiety or boredom.

Does a horrible feeling of dread begin to loom over you as Monday morning approaches? Believe it or not, on Monday mornings many people actually look forward to the challenge of their job or seeing the people they work with.

It could be the work itself that you don’t like, or the people you work with, or perhaps the corporate culture. If you find yourself taking more and more sick days off for the sake of your sanity, it’s time to move on.

We can’t always get things right – not even in our careers. With the diversity of jobs out there it is no wonder that sometimes we choose the wrong one. But if we realise we’re walking down the wrong career path, there is always the option to make a detour and take another, much smoother road that is more suited to our personality and our passion.

The wrong career

There are many reasons why we find ourselves in the wrong career. They can range from living out someone else’s dream (probably our parents) to not wanting to ‘waste’ the university education we’ve paid for. It could be because we couldn’t afford the tuition fees to study what we really wanted, or we simply chose a career that wasn’t entirely suited to our personality. Whatever the reason, being stuck in a career that isn’t your cup of tea can be a difficult and sometimes costly situation.

What does my personality have to do with it?

So your parents are pushing you to be a big business CEO but you learnt long ago when they made you join Scouts that your leadership skills would never be up to scratch. You desperately want to work as an events organiser but you are hopelessly messy, lousy at time management and couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery. Or, you work in retail but hate customer service.

For every job, there are a set of personality traits that go with it. Not to say that to have a career working in a corporate environment you must strictly enjoy networking and be averse to sunshine, but of course there are better personalities suited to this kind of workplace than others. While some skills can be learnt, not everyone can do the same job – or has the inbuilt personality to do the work required. If we did, we would all be celebrities earning millions of dollars per movie.

Choosing a career that doesn’t suit your personality can leave you feeling bored, confused and unhappy – basically, it’s just not the right fit. We spend a fair chunk of our lives at work so no one wants to get stuck in a job they hate. Rather than basing your career choice on something you think you should do, it’s a good idea to set out to find a career that fits your personality. Something that makes you want to get up in the morning, something that suits you as a person.

What is my personality?

Whilst reading this article isn’t going to give you a sudden epiphany about exactly what career you want to be in for the rest of your life, at least it will help get you thinking about what career you are suited to so you don’t end up in the wrong job. When deciding what career is right for you, think about the following:

  • What type of person you are – are you quiet and reserved? Or loud and authoritative?
  • How you interact with others – do you like working as part of a team? Or quietly on your own?
  • What you like – do you like socialising and networking? Or being the centre of attention?
  • What you don’t like – do you hate working indoors in front of a computer all day? Does the thought of giving a presentation scare the living daylights out of you?

We all have different strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. It’s recognising these that will help put you on the road to career success. Understanding your personal brand can be a good start. Or you can take a free personality test (there are a few options out there, including 16 Personalities and the standard Myers-Briggs test). 

Finding yourself walking down the wrong career track can mean the road is long and winding. With the sheer number of career choices out there today, it’s no wonder that so many people end up in one that doesn’t quite suit them. So rather than relying on your star signs each day to try and reveal what lies ahead in your career, start taking control of your future and get into a job you love. 

Found your dream career path? Here's how to make sure you'll get the job!

Elissa Collier

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