Many of us have felt a creeping dissatisfaction with our lives. When you’ve been in a role a few years, or the challenges just aren’t challenging any more, there may be times when you just don’t feel satisfied with what you’ve got in life. This can happen even if you’re still ‘successful’ by the outward markers; earning good money, making lots of sales and getting promotions.

When this feeling strikes it can be tempting to make some drastic changes and to go in search of happiness and fulfilment. But before you hand in your resignation letter and take a year out to explore a different continent, it’s worth taking a bit of time to try and work out what, exactly, you think you’re missing.


First, know yourself.

Personality type has a profound effect on which jobs you’ll really enjoy. An introvert in a sales career, or an extrovert librarian, may need to think again about their choices. If you haven’t already done some kind of personality test, then the Myers-Briggs test is a good place to start.

Messrs Myers and Briggs defined 16 personality types, understanding which of these you are, and what makes you tick can be a big part of finding out what you want to do.


Identify the problems

Before you go making any drastic changes, make a list of the pros and cons of the role you’re currently in. What do you enjoy about it? What is it that leaves you frustrated or unfulfilled?

It’s all useful information; knowing what you like will help you shape your next move as surely as the things you don’t. There are lots of different analysis techniques you can borrow from business to do this, if you don’t already have a favourite.


Talk it over

If you’re lucky enough to have a non-judgemental friend, then talk it over with them; but the real key to finding your ideal role is being able to step away from your current life so you can imagine a new one – and sometimes talking to an invested stranger is a better way to do that.

When you’re planning your way to happiness, you need to leave a lot of the preconceived ideas you have about your life behind. A professional career coach can objectively listen to what you’re saying, and challenge you if you’ve got yourself stuck in a rut.

For all the same reasons a stranger is the best person to help with other types of counselling, they’re great for career advice;  but perhaps mostly because they’re going to give you their undivided attention for the session, and they’re not likely to go off on a tangent about who will look after your cat if you go back-packing for a year. Probably.

Hang Fire

If you’ve made a list of problems in your current role, and at least some of them look like they’re solvable, then give solving them a chance before you make a big change. Your current employer will have invested in you quite significantly and they may well be willing to work with you, rather than see you leave for another organisation.



Once you know what it is that you want to do, don’t hesitate. Get your CV re-written with your ideal role in mind. Think about the person you want to be, and project that when you talk to people. Be positive, embody success, and you’ll find that people will naturally respond very positively to you.

It’s worth thinking about yourself in terms of a marketing exercise. What’s special about you? What qualities do you bring to the role? Now you know it’s what you want to do, you should have a decent amount of research to back that up – so use it! Look at what other people who do the thing you aspire to are up to: Do they blog? Can you develop your role as an expert in your field? Are there opportunities for you to gain skills through volunteering? Do you need to brush up your CV with some online training courses? This is the time to do it.

Success is a subjective thing; for some of us that’s measured in fat pay checks or great bonuses, and for others it’s harder to define. Even if you’re meeting all your targets in a role, you may still be left wondering if there is something else that would make you feel more complete. If you’d like some help in figuring out what that might be, then contact Career Ladder today.


Sarah Dixon writes graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency specialising in matching career starters with graduate jobs. For everything from marketing internships to graduate jobs Manchester, click here.

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