How do you weigh great pay versus feeling like you're the wrong fit for a job? I don't really hate my job, but it's not the most fulfilling either. I wish I could have both, but I know it's not possible in this company. I also feel guilty about leaving because my manager will have a hard time replacing me. What should I do? -Nathan
So you've heard the call for something bigger, better and more meaningful, huh? Welcome to the club, my friend. Membership in this club is free - and our club is growing. In fact, we're in the majority these days.
Long ago, Grandpa was satisfied to work his fingers to the bone with mind-numbing work that didn't mean a thing to him except a nice, steady paycheck at the end of each week. Sure, he took pride in doing a good job and all, but did he love what he was doing? Doubt it.
But you and I and the other members of our club are different. We long to get paid for doing work that fills not only our bank accounts, but our souls. So there's no turning back now, Nathan. You've heard the call and now it's time to act on it. Or at least start to research exactly what acting on it means.
If I asked you what "fulfilling work" meant to you, what would you tell me? Would you be able to articulate your dream job - the exact type of role you see for yourself in career heaven? Perhaps you volunteer for an organization and get a lot out of that. Why does this mean so much to you? Is it the work itself, or is it the fact that you're helping others?
Even if you just have an inkling of the kinds of things that mean a lot to you, you should jot them down and start to organize your thoughts. Create a list of what you're good at, what you like to do and the things that mean something to you. Perhaps this is all you need to do to get a clear picture of what your fulfilling career might look like.
Or maybe this perfect career will just take some time to develop. But no matter how this unfolds, just be sure that it does. Because spending your life doing unfulfilling work, once you've heard the call, is a very sad thing.
When the time is right, I'm sure your boss will understand that it's time for you to move on to bigger and better things. And if they don't, oh well. Just be sure to leave them with as much notice as possible, and as much documentation as you can about how you do your current job so your replacement can step in with the least amount of overload.
Molly Luffy, MBA, is a local business coach who helps people shift from surviving to thriving at work. Send your work-related questions to firstname.lastname@example.org