When an Exciting Career Becomes a Really Bad Job
Susan couldn’t remember a time when she didn’t want to be an attorney. As she progressed through her legal education, she discovered her passion was for labor relations law. Right out of law school, she got a job researching labor issues and assisting staff attorneys with building their cases. After a few years, she was one of those attorneys and confident she had made the right career choice.
When I met Susan, she had been practicing labor relations law for about five years and was miserable. That dream job had turned into a seven-day-a-week grind that left her little time for anything else. Her nerves were shot, her health was suffering and she dreaded hearing the alarm clock go off every morning. Susan was overworked, overwhelmed and ready to escape from what seemed like a hopeless situation.
Compare and Assess Must-Haves with I-Wants
Susan knew she had to get out of her current situation but didn’t want to leave the practice of law entirely. So she made a list of “must-haves” and “I-wants” and looked at opportunities in both public and private sectors.
There were two nonnegotiable items: reasonable hours and to stay in law. There were also two primary wants: remain in labor relations law and get paid pretty close to what she was making now. Everything else was up for grabs.
Susan’s success was way beyond her expectations (and mine). The very first resume she sent landed her an interview with an agency of the federal government in D.C. She was quickly interviewed and hired as an attorney advisor working in labor relations. The hours were great, the pay comparable and opportunities for advancement good.
The last time I talked to Susan was about two years ago. She was still working for the government and happy in her job and her new life.
If You Identify With Susan
I talk to people like Susan every week; people who for many different reasons are very unhappy in their jobs. If this describes you, honestly assess your situation and give some thought to where you would like to be. Decide what’s negotiable and what you can’t do without. About 75% of your life is spent at work. Why be miserable?
Sue Montgomery is a Certified Professional Resume Writer & Career Coach with 20+ years of experience creating resumes, cover letters and other tools that market people for the jobs they want. Sue is founder and president of Resume Plus.