Career Builder

Career Builder

The first steps to changing your life

If you're like most Americans, you spend 40 to 50 percent of your waking hours each week at work. On top of that time, many employers are now asking their workers to take their duties home with them as well. If you're unhappy in your career, it probably feels like most of your time is spent chained to your desk - it may be time to remind yourself that the quality of your life in general is intimately connected to your satisfaction with your job!

Real fulfillment comes from being able to truly express yourself at work. The ideal job for you is one that is in line with your values, abilities and desires.

Don't Be the Stressed-Out Employee

Job stress is what results when a worker's occupation is not in sync with his or her abilities, needs and resources. It has been linked to high blood pressure, psychological and sleep disorders, as well as injury at work - all of which are indicators that it's time to change your life, potentially through a change in profession.

Here's how to start the search for your ideal career:

  • First, brainstorm. Think of all the paid and unpaid opportunities you've had and record the ones that left you feeling the most satisfied. It's a good sign if you were happy to get up in the morning. Talk to career counselors and find some (reputable) online quizzes for guidance and ideas. When you have a good idea, map out your goal and the steps (such as additional education) you'll need to get there.
  • Now it's time to look for that new job. Volunteer or take an internship to get experience in the area you're interested in. Don't forget to network - enlist your family, friends and suitable colleagues to create a grapevine where you can find out about jobs that will suit your needs.
  • Apply! Remember, a major career move will take time. You may find you need to start at the bottom in a new job and work your way up, but if you are happy in what you're doing the payoff will be worth the extra effort. If it seems to be taking longer than you expected to find work, keep digging - a new opportunity is out there, waiting for someone as talented, eager and passionate as you to fill it, so don't give up.