Skip to main content

Trapped in a Dead-End Job? Or Master of Your Universe?

October 04, 2022

There are few things more depressing than feeling you are going nowhere in your job; feeling you have no future, no prospects, no interest, and nothing is enjoyable or redeeming. It’s a spiral many people experience sometime in their career.

Friends will tell you to go do something you enjoy or jump to a particular hot industry or company. However, given your state of mind, this encouragement feels crushing – if you knew what interested you, you would have the clarity and sense of direction you needed.

So, how do so many end up with this state of mind? It starts with our first jobs. How did you get yours? Most of us, I venture, looked through job ads and job postings to see what was available. We applied to jobs that came close to what we were interested in doing, or we felt we had the skills to fit. Our efforts resulted in interviews, and eventually getting hired. Rarely would the position be the ideal job, in the ideal company, at the ideal pay, giving us the best opportunity for growth and success.

This is the dominant job-hunting narrative for most employees. Our priority was having a job. We chose this over the pursuit of a job with a future because it is easier to pick from what is available than to believe we can ever find what we truly want.

I think it is similar to how we pick our summer vacation reading. On summer vacation, we don’t want to have to work, we want to be entertained, to be able to lose ourselves in the story. Reading a new author, or books in a different genre, opens us up to the risk that the reading isn’t as enjoyable as we want it to be. So, we go to the library or bookstore, or consult a book list, and look for books from familiar authors or topics of interest, and if all else fails, we fall back on re-reading one of our favorites. Comfort and familiarity help us pick something safe.

The same strategy of preferring comfort and familiarity is frequently used for the job search. We stay long in a job because we know what is expected. A new job opens us up to the possibility of starting over, failing, or worse, we might discover the grass isn’t greener! So we stay put. When it gets bad enough to look for something better, we are unaware of the limitations that are self-imposed by our reliance on the familiar or what is listed on the job boards. We don’t see that the logic that allowed us to be in this dead-end job is the same logic we’re implementing to find the next job.

The way to get out of a dead-end job and to avoid going down a dead-end career is the same thing you need to do to find a job, career, and life you love: Learn how to create your opportunities.

Learning to create new opportunities starts with knowing what you like doing, researching how and where these skills are valued, and then positioning yourself with the companies that need your skills and experience. 

Following these steps flips your experience from staying on the dead-end job hamster wheel to being master of your universe. 

You may benefit from having support through one or all these steps. Reach out to me to discuss any part of this process or any challenges you see in your way. It’s time for you to be the master of your universe.