Whenever things get bad at work, whenever your boss pisses you off or you have to sit through another pointless meeting, you allow yourself a little dream.
You dream about meaningful work and the autonomy to do it at your own pace.
You dream about working hard and playing hard and loving every moment of both.
You imagine disconnecting from your caffeine lifeline, because you’ll be so darn happy in your dream career (whatever it is), you’ll be bursting with energy and enthusiasm. The stress will be gone, along with the crankiness and fatigue.
Or will it?
You worry you’re just kidding yourself. Can the grass really be greener in a new career? Or are you destined to be unhappy and unfulfilled no matter where you go?
In my own career change, I found some things almost instantaneously became better. For example, as an introvert, working in a job that required me to attend meetings all day, every day was draining. When I switched to working from home, I instantly had the energy to reengage and enjoy my friends and family again. These days, I average a social get-together about once a week as opposed to once a month (or longer).
Other problems were maddeningly unchanged, or in some cases, got worse. My tendency to over-commit to projects, leading to suffocating feelings of being overwhelmed, were not aided by becoming my own boss. I was a lot less short-tempered than when I worked in a big bureaucracy, but I still experienced more stress than I wanted.
I realized that changing careers isn’t the fast track to outrunning your inner demons. But it can be just what you need to outsmart them. Let me explain …