How many of us were disillusioned with our first job? We must have been thrilled to be employed directly after graduating. Especially if, perhaps, the economy was down and seasoned professionals were being displaced. We were lucky to land a job. Perhaps they even made us an offer we couldn’t refuse, with a salary to match. Perfect. We had “arrived.”
That was then. This is now. Are you are frustrated and perhaps disillusioned? Wow, I hope not. Think about it. Where is the disconnect? What happened? Where did “what you wanted” miss the mark on “what you got”?
When you accepted your first job, did you picture “how it was going to be” in your head? Were you the star of your own drama? Did you have a featured role and important things to say? Was everyone impressed, having offline discussions about how you were on rock-star trajectory?
OK. Reality check. After all is said and done, how pleased are you with your current job? For that matter, how well are you meeting your employer’s expectations? News flash: your employer is not there to meet your expectations because, well, they are underwriting your paycheck. And if this situation compromises you for whatever reason, it’s time to re-think the equation.
Has the field of engineering or sales or business met your expectations? And where did you form your expectations in the first place? Knowing individuals in the field and asking them for truthful descriptions and anecdotes are an important addendum to any spiel you may receive at a career fair or from a recruiter.
Let’s face it. Even the most seasoned of us get burnt out. We grow as individuals and as professionals. We become interested in new subjects and the introduction of new technologies. That’s life. It happens.
A few suggestions for a few questions to ask yourself, regardless of whether you are a newbie or a seasoned professional.
- Is where you are now what you bought into when you were an undergraduate? How has your perception of what you wanted changed and is this change positive or negative? What does your insight tell you about Yourself?
- You spent a lot of money on your education and you are very very smart. How does your work environment reinforce your need for validation? Or collaboration? Or creativity and innovation? Or job security? In other words, what are your Needs?
- What other opportunities present themselves? Are these in new technologies? A post graduate career? A move into academia, industry, something else? Why do these opportunities intrigue you? And how close are you to qualifying for a career move? What’s involved?
Word on the street has it that people are now moving to different jobs. After the economic meltdown of 2008, folks were thankful to have jobs and productivity increased simply because people were concerned about losing what they had. The employment environment for professionals appears to be on the upswing according to the pundits.
That being the case, why change jobs or careers? More money, same situation and level of frustration? Or perhaps a closer fit to how you imagined it would be and what you really want to do?
Matching up what you want with what you have is perhaps the most important exercise you can do for yourself at least once a year. Career-wise, self-inventory-wise. If you – not them – are not meeting your expectations then perhaps it’s time to do something about it. And job hopping and doing the same thing all over again may not be the answer.
Think about it.