What to do when your dream job makes you miserable

In this world that many of us have college degrees and have spent thousands of dollars on an education that we have been told is going to help us reach our goals. Sometimes when you have finally reached that final, and you are out in the world ready to start that dream job, it doesn’t always work out. Sometimes what you thought was going to be your dream job makes you miserable. Here is Jennie Holman’s Story on her experience with this happening to her and how she got through it and ended up on the other side. If you’re in this place, there is hope! Read on; you are not alone!

The One That Got Away, and I’m Glad! 

I was brought in as an HR Specialist on-site full-time for a client of a staffing firm. On paper, these two companies looked amazing. One was a progressive, locally owned staffing agency and the other was a progressive tech startup. They had beer on tap, ping pong tables, bean bags everywhere. While I know these are superficial, they seemed to be making the effort to be good employers who wanted happy employees. I was fresh out of grad school and believed I had arrived! 

The first week there was an awkward time for the relationship between the two businesses. The lead contact on the client side had just exited the company, they were getting a new department manager, and the person I was replacing had not been there very long. That is a lot of turnover in middle management at one time. But I started questioning the fit when the training I received was very brief and very simple. The expectations were very unclear. I kept hearing the phrase, “Stay in your own lane.” That was challenging because I had no understanding of my company outside of being inside the client company. To me, everything that affected my work was my lane, and the client impacted my work daily. 

Trying to make it work

In every 1:1 with my manager, I asked for clarification, support, and validation of my frustrations. In the 3.5 months in this role, I cried at every weekly 1:1 I had with my supervisor. Needing more support, I started trying to find people within the client company that I could trust and connect with. Also, I needed to know what resources were available and how I could do my job better and do it with confidence. 

Ultimately, I was let go. For two weeks before my departure, my supervisor set up interviews with other recruiters for roles she thought I would be happier in. I took it as a kind gesture and I should have seen it coming. But I was determined to grow and learn and make it work even if my dream job was making me miserable. In the end, I felt blindsided and betrayed.  

The Changes I Would Have Made

Since then my understanding of professional relationships has grown. Now, I understand diplomacy more and I think I would be able to handle the uncertainty better now. I wish I had been more laid back and easy going about the whole situation. Being stressed the entire time was terrible; it did not have to be that way. Knowing what I do now, I would not choose to enter that situation again; not because of how it turned out, but because it genuinely was not a good fit. 

What do you do now?

If you are in a job you don’t love, ask yourself I couple questions:

  • What would it take to enjoy the job?
  • What are the things that you can control?
  • What are things out of your control?

In that role, I internalized every situation and every outcome. If I could have let things go, and been ok with letting things play out, I could have saved myself a lot of heartache. 

If you are in a situation like mine, try to evaluate what is causing your stress. Look at how those activities are moving you towards your goals. If you have done all you can, it will be what it will be; you have to let it go! Sometimes that will mean moving forward in your position and letting go of control and other times that will mean moving on to a job that is a better fit for you. You have to do what is right for you. I know it is not always easy, but it helps me most of the time. Now, I love what I do, but not always the things I have to do. Always reminding myself how things are connected helps and it can help you too. Don’t let your dream job make you miserable. You can do this!

Jennie Holman

Jennie Holman is a designer of functional home and business spaces. She is the owner and operator of Leora Organization & Redesign.

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