Problems vs. Solutions: unhappy with your job

Not a week goes by that someone doesn’t pull me aside at a coffee shop to confess they hate their job.

I’ve noticed shortly after sharing their discontent, they say some version of I really need to update my resume and start looking.

No, no, no.

It seems like a good impulse. You’re unhappy with your job. A resume is intended to get you a job. So it seems reasonable to focus on your resume.

Here’s the problem

Your resume is designed to take you to the next logical step along the path you’re already on. But what if you’re not looking for the next linear job in the path you’ve already traveled?

If you’re dissatisfied, unfulfilled, or disengaged at work, more of the same is probably not what you’re after.

Which means if the path you’re currently on is out of sync with who you are today and what you want for tomorrow, don’t start with your resume.

Unhappy with your job: Start with you

You need to look inward first. You need to ask the tough questions.

  • What do you most value?
    Security? Connection? Achievement?
    Naming what you value most is a direction giver when it comes to the next chapter of how you earn a living.
  • What’s your ideal day?
    Collaborating with others as part of a team? Trying new things and tapping into your creativity? Working autonomously and setting your own schedule?
    Be willing to take an unflinching look at the disconnect between how you describe your ideal and the reality of today.
  • When do you lose track of time and get lost in the flow?
    When you’re creating something from scratch? When you’re brainstorming about a solution to problem? When you’re researching to understand something better?
    Pinpointing moments of flow is a big arrow from the universe saying, Here’s a clue about what you’re meant to be doing.
  • What do you want to contribute?
    Your creative genius? Your ability to empower others? Your sense of play and fun?
    You’ll spend many hours of your life earning your livelihood. Figure out where earning a living intersects with what you want to contribute.
  • What does meaningful work look like?
    Empowering others? Building something? Being a catalyst?
    It’s up to you to give your work significance and purpose. Bring your own meaning and mission to what you do for a living.

At some point it will make sense to revamp your resume. But if you’re currently unhappy with your work, a few thought-provoking, soul-searching questions need to come first.