“For years, I hated every job I had,” says Olivia (not her real name), who began working for newspapers soon after she graduated from college. The 34-year-old San Francisco resident says she would sit around at work wondering what she’d be doing if she didn’t have to be there. “I always worked hard, though, because I kept thinking a promotion would change everything.”
She eventually worked her way up to a job as an arts editor. “I kept thinking, ‘This is my dream job, I’m supposed to love it,’ but I just didn’t. And to make matters worse, my promotions didn’t come with much of a pay raise. I was making so little money that I still couldn’t make a dent in my student loans.” Sound familiar? If you feel numb, bored, or resentful during much of your workday, it’s time for a change. To make it happen, follow these five tips to spiritually transform your life:
1. Dream a Little Dream
Spend time fantasizing about your career path. What job would be utterly delightful for you? How much income would you need to feel at peace about money? To make her fantasies concrete, Olivia chose to create a collage of photos to depict a new career and to inspire her whenever she felt stuck in her old job.
2. Be Happy
Olivia loved to write, but she wasn’t using her skills in a way that brought her fulfillment. Eventually, she consulted a psychic, who told her that she was destined to be a creative writer and teacher. Actually, Olivia thought the idea of becoming a teacher sounded awful (standing in front of a class, disciplining students), but she did long to immerse herself in creative writing. Even though going back to school would mean leaving a stable job and going into debt, Olivia began applying to creative writing programs.
3. Act Out
“Going to grad school felt like taking a vacation,” Olivia remembers. “It was this huge leap into the unknown, but I just wanted to do it. It felt right.” Feelings of joy, pleasure, and excitement are all signs that you are on your life path. Do everything you can think of that gives you those feelings — take up the saxophone, climb Mt. Everest, or go out clubbing. Who knows? Maybe one of those activities holds a future career path for you. In any case, once you get used to acting on your joyful impulses, you’ll be able to recognize them when they’re prompting you toward a career change.
4. Baby Steps
People do sometimes make quantum leaps forward, but most of us progress step-by-step. You may feel impatient as you go about making a career change, but by taking smaller steps, when you find yourself losing inspiration, you may be more willing to revise your goals to avoid another career rut. Do one small thing a day to inch you towards your goal (make a phone call, write an email, read an article online). By the end of the month, you will have done 30 things.
5. Be Open
“When I went back to school, somehow I didn’t realize that I’d be required to teach in order to finish the degree,” Olivia says. “I thought it would be horrible, but I didn’t have a choice. I ended up teaching a creative writing workshop, and I loved it! I was totally shocked.” Today, Olivia has her master’s degree in creative writing and works part-time as a writing teacher — a job she loves — and she’s making more money than she did at the paper.
You deserve to be well-compensated for your time and talents. When you are at work, you are devoting a part of your life to that job. Don’t settle for low pay unless the job compensates you in other truly meaningful ways. If you believe in your own worth, you’ll gravitate towards work that pays you well.