A client came to me with a big problem.
She was exhausted by her job. She excelled in every aspect. Her boss appreciated it. However, this meant she was asked to do more and more, without additional compensation and without assistance.
Her team had also shrunk over time, and she had more KPIs to meet.
She liked her field. But she was contemplating leaving it because she was feeling burned out. She thought maybe she was miscast. Maybe she needed a change.
But then we started to dig, and we made an important discovery: It wasn’t the place that was the problem. It wasn’t the field.
It was the role.
Because its description has morphed over time, it now included tasks that did not play to the skills she most preferred to use, she was feeling burned out.
If you are in a similar situation, this might also be true for you.
Everyone has skills that they enjoy—that are energizing—and others that are tiring and tedious and feel like a slog. Maybe you are great at monitoring details. Maybe you are fantastic at managing people. But coming up with new ideas exhausts you. Multi-tasking is a nightmare.
Most of us think this goes with the territory. You are going to encounter stuff you don’t like to do. While this is true to an extent, there are times when the situation escalates enough to become a true mismatch.
I discussed my client’s situation with her.
She loved ideas and planning, but now found she had to manage the mechanics of projects more than she had before. She could do it, but these were skills that wore her out.
As we worked together, she realized that she liked her industry, and wanted to stay in it. She liked her company, too. And if she could stay there, she wanted to. She just needed a different kind of role—one that would allow her to use more of her most energizing skills and less of the ones that exhausted her.
Consider checking in with yourself to see how you feel about your current job. Are you feeling energized by it? Or are you feeling depleted? Start by finding out what your natural skills are; what kind of personality you naturally possess; and what is important to you.
Here are ways to examine this:
❋ There are dozens of strengths and skills assessments online. Try a few. Some are free and others are fee-based.
- A great fee-based strengths assessment is the CliftonStrengths test. You can choose a test to find out your top five strengths or one to assess your top 34.
- SkillScan, which also requires a fee, will help you identify your strengths and high-potential skills.
- A free tool created by the federal government is Skills Matcher. It helps you identify the skills you have developed through previous experiences.
- Other tests such as the DISC and Myers-Briggs assessment can give you information about your personality that can help you determine why you are feeling uncomfortable with your role.
❋ Make a list of your various roles and flag for yourself what you loved and didn’t love about the tasks you performed within them. This will help you identify a pattern.
❋ Take some reflective time to visualize your perfect job situation and write about it. What are you doing? Where are you? What is the environment like? This will help you get back in touch with your comfort zone. Then you can compare your description to the reality you are working in now.
You might discover that you are using your strengths, but that your assigned work isn’t matching the skills that energize you the most. If this is the case, try this:
- Talk to your supervisor. Ask to take a look at your role description. Maybe you can redefine it, so you can continue to contribute at a high level.
- Seek opportunities within your company or at a different company within your industry for roles that do allow you to use your preferred skills.
Afte my client and I reviewed her skills and strengths, she realized that she could be happy in her chosen profession. She just had to take charge of her destiny. She is now exploring other options within her company, but also looking throughout the industry.
She feels good about this decision.
So, before you decide to make a total career transition, take some time to examine what is going on right now. You have invested a lot in your career. And the answer might be right in front of you.
You may save yourself a lot of stress and find a path to improved career satisfaction.