At some point in your life, you are likely to take a look at your current job situation and give it a rather disgruntled appraisal. Make no mistake, you are not alone; the world is full of people in the same situation, desperately frustrated with some aspect of their career; even to the point that they consider making a significant career change.
The best way to feel a little better about the situation is to identify some of the things which are most likely to cause career frustration…and accept that they are pretty much unavoidable.
Unless your degree is vocational it’s not the be all and end all
Upon leaving university almost all people have the same thoughts rushing about in their heads, which usually go something like this “I’m going to find a fantastic job within my degree speciality, I’m going to have a huge salary, in a job that I love and life will be wonderful”. But as most people with a degree will tell you, this is often not the case.
Life rarely goes in the direction that you plan, and the very same is true of your career. You will often hear people describe how they simply ‘fell’ into their career, and this is regularly the case when you have a degree which isn’t vocation specific; you find an area of work that you enjoy and you run with it.
One of the biggest frustrations that people sometimes have when coming out of university is that the expectation of the level of role that they will get, is far and beyond what employers are actually willing to give them. It is slightly maddening that after years of being told ‘education is the most important thing’ you then discover that actually it’s not, it’s only the second most important thing…experience is first!
If you are a new graduate you might want to take a look at some of these recent posts which can give you a little hand with making a transation.
Graduate CVs, how to avoid being over qualified
Job Seeking tips for new graduates
At the end of the day, a job is just a job; a way of earning money that everyone needs. Of course it’s great if you enjoy your work, but human beings have an uncanny ability to project shortcomings or lack of fulfilments in their personal life onto their career, and that can have some really negative side effects. I doubt very much that anyone has ever whispered on their deathbed ‘I wish I’d spent more time at work’, and yet so many people go through life behaving as though their very existence on earth depended on their quarterly performance.
It’s a very frustrating thing to come to terms with, but you need to have a healthy attitude to your work, and know where to set the limit of how much of yourself you are willing to give.
We all dream of a job in which we are a valued, appreciated and indispensable member of the team, but in the vast majority of cases this is just a pipe dream. In truth an employee is rarely more than a number, paid money to carry out a job which could quite easily be carried out by someone else. Of course this doesn’t mean that those in immediate contact with you at work don’t appreciate or like you, but at the end of the day, for most businesses the number one priority is money, and much can sacrificed in the pursuit of it.
It is a harsh and frustrating fact of life that for a business to be successful, it must be run with sentiment, but not sentimentality. As dramatic as it might sound, we are all part of a capitalist system, and within a capitalist system people are just a number when weighed up against the mighty dollar.
If that’s not too depressing for you, our next career frustration is pretty bad too…
In the UK, the US, all through Europe, and pretty much anywhere else that we can think of, location is a major determining factor in the kind of career that you are likely to have. Not only does it broadly affect the types of jobs that will be available to you, but it will probably also have a bearing on your salary rate, benefits, career progressing and other job related perks.
That’s not to say of course that you can’t have a successful and fulfilling career living in an area where unemployment rates are high and there is a shortage of jobs, but you will quite often have to simply make peace with the limitations which geography has placed on you.
Of course there is a fairly logical solution to this problem, simply move to an area in which there are better quality opportunities, but even this can be a huge source of career frustration, especially since job searching in a big city can be a lot more difficult than expected.