My Dream Job is a Dud – Now What?

It happens! You have spent 4, 6, 8, or more years preparing for your career through education, internships, and entry-level jobs. You have finally been offered – and accepted! – your dream position.

But 6 weeks into the new job, you realize that it isn’t what you expected and it definitely is NOT your dream come true. What do you do?

Below are several suggestions for turning that dud into a stepping stone to something better.

  • Set realistic expectations

Do not expect to be a 10 on the work happiness scale. On a scale of 1 through 10, honestly evaluate your position. Think of everything involved with the position: colleagues, corporate culture, client interactions, and opportunities to achieve your personal and professional goals.

Look around at others with your job title or position. If everyone has the same duties, then there may not be much you can change about the position. But you can change your perception and attitude toward the job.

De-emphasize what you like least and focus on what you like best about your daily routine. If you love client interaction, work to make a larger percentage of your day about customers. If you hate reports, streamline your processes so that report writing takes 10% or less of the day.

  • Use this position to network

Identify mentors within the company and work with them to gain knowledge and plan your career. It isn’t necessary to state your dream job is a dud; be positive and appreciative of the guidance the mentors provide.

Get involved in corporate and industry events. Volunteer for a committee that will allow you to meet colleagues in other departments. Attend industry events to gain new knowledge and expand your network outside your current company.

  • Put a number to your job satisfaction

Very few of us will ever love our jobs 100% of the time. But if you are happy and learning, achieving your goals, and can honestly say that you are a 7 or 8 on the job satisfaction scale, then you may BE in your dream job. Take an honest look at yourself and your job to make that determination.

To increase your job satisfaction, find opportunities to demonstrate your abilities to a wider audience than the small group of colleagues that you interact with daily. The job might not be your dream, but you can use it to expand your knowledge and become more efficient – readying yourself for that next level in your career. With your new focus on different goals, your job satisfaction may soar!