What do you do when your career is not fulfilling you?
I really enjoyed reading recent research by Pagis examining self-fulfilment at work. She challenges the utopian notion that work should have emotional meaning, describing our romantic ideals of meaning at work that are often not matched by reality.
Her study participants adopted five broad strategies to deal with lack of fulfilment at work. People could (1) leave now, or (2) stay but plan/study/develop towards a future departure. For many people, their present work has advantages (financial or otherwise) that make leaving difficult. Then people can either (3) revise their expectations and relationships with work (including focusing on more positive aspects), or (4) separate a higher purpose in current work from the daily grind. Finally, (5) professional polygamy allows people to obtain different benefits in different concurrent roles.
I really liked the study as it recognised the reality that no job is perfect, expecting it to be is setting yourself up for disappointment, and there are five ways of getting more job satisfaction only one of which is about leaving ASAP.