Glenford Smith, career writer
For the last 14 years, I have been in a career field that I totally dislike. After completing a bachelor of science degree in a life science at a local university, I wanted to pursue a career as a researcher in clinical science. Unfortunately, this didn't work out.
I eventually earned a master's degree overseas in an area of medical science and had hoped not to return to Jamaica as the focus here was always on agricultural/food science, which I hate. As it turned out, I had to return, and am now living out my worst fears.
I will soon be 41 years old and really have no interest whatsoever in work. I get physically sick at the thought of work, can't eat or sleep and have considered alcohol to help with the latter. Sundays and Monday mornings are my worst days. My degrees have become like a monkey on my back that I can't get rid of, as it is so difficult to get into another field of work. What advice can you give, if any?
You mentioned that despite loathing your job, you've remained professional and productive. I commend you for this. Here is my advice:
1. Accept what you can't change. Acceptance doesn't mean resignation. It doesn't mean you don't do anything to change your undesirable situation. Instead, it means to realise that you can't undo the past. Accept what you can't change in order to focus on what you can do something about. Release useless emotions like regret, guilt and disappointment.
2. Decide what you do want. Your focus is mostly on what you hate and what you don't like about your life and work. That's a good place to start. But you must now go on to create a vision of what you do want. What's your ideal job, career and work life like? Bear in mind that your age is not a barrier to success. In life, what matters most is not where you've been, but where you're going.
3. Reclaim your power. It's amazing that so many people believe, like you, that they can't do anything about changing their 'awful job' or career. We have somehow lost the awareness that, as human beings, we can choose. Just because it is difficult to change jobs or careers doesn't mean you can't do it. Your greatest power in life is your power of choice in any given situation. If you don't like your job, you can leave it. And if you choose to stay for economic reasons, you can also choose your attitude towards it.
4. Design a plan and take action. Decide how you can get from where you are to where you want to be. Then take action on your plan. To change your life, you have to actually do something different.
Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of a new book, 'From Problems to Power: How to Win Over Worry and Turn Your Obstacles into Opportunities'. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org