When we go into a job search, we often have an idea of the job that would be a “perfect match—our dream job. You know the one. It’s in an exciting industry, at a high-profile company, with a swanky title that makes all other offers pale in comparison. But what if once you get the job, and all of the perks that go with, you realize your dream job is the job from hell? At that point it may be useful to begin viewing your occupation in the context of a love gone wrong, with all of the requisite processes like grieving, recovery, and rebounding.
Continuing with the failed love story metaphor, think about what it’s like when you first fall in love—all of the time together spent fawning over one another, the love, the laughter, and so forth. Well, the same can be said for the job you worked so hard to land in order to live the life of your dreams. At first, all you can think about are the perks, the bragging rights, and all of the benefits that come with your position. What does it matter that you work double time each week and your workplace is a den of prima donnas, air heads, and psychopaths?
But as the initial days and weeks turn to months or even years, those perks may not seem so impressive any longer, while the status of your position may now fail to feed your attempts at self-flattery. In fact, you may realize that your performance has begun to drop, your motivation is flagging, and your day-to-day tasks have become unbearable. Does this mean the honeymoon is over? The answer is likely “yes.”
The biggest step is acknowledging that your job just isn’t doing it for you anymore. At that point you must begin the struggle that comes with realizing that you need to start giving up the “perfect opportunity” that you worked so hard to achieve. There is always the danger of falling into the trap of second guessing yourself and confusing the convenience of keeping your current job with the original passion you felt when you first came on board. The key is to remember that there is nothing inherently wrong with your job or yourself, but that you simply would make a better fit somewhere else.
Now’s the time to begin the job search again to find your better fitting job. At this point, it is vital to dissect the reasons why you have decided to leave your dream job in the first place. Realizing the letdowns of your current job will help you identify what you want in the next one. Look to your primary interests and motivations to direct you to a job that will help you be happy. Once you’ve lined up a new job offer, it’s time to break ties with your old career beau and move forward in your quest for life fulfillment.