Dr. Elena Duong
Updated: Mar 10
With the pandemic winding down, there has been record resignations, which some call the “Great Resignation.” People have been reflecting on their lives while in lockdown to see what they want for themselves moving forward. Do they see themselves at their current job/lifestyle or some place different? Some may decide to chase after their dreams.
Not everyone has the privilege to chase after their dreams. It depends on SES, ethnicity/race, and where they were born. Even if you were born privileged, you might not have a dream or a passion to pursue. Not all people do. Chasing curiosity might be more feasible. Chasing dreams might be great for some, but it is not always great. Dreams/passions can change. What do you do when it changes?
There is such an emphasis on jobs defining who we are and our worth. Oftentimes, we feel lost without it. It can be very damaging when you quit, get laid off, and/or are fired. Your self-esteem takes a hit. Jobs are very important for finances, but it does not need to define your life. It helps if you like what you do, and it fits your overall life values/priorities, especially since people spend a majority of their lives at their jobs.
Impact of Job Satisfaction on Mental Health/Well-being
Research shows a strong relationship between job satisfaction and mental health; with low job satisfaction contributing to burnout, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and even physical health issues (Faragher, Cass, & Cooper, 2005). Job satisfaction directly influences the health of employees, so some companies have implemented stress management workshops or employee assistance programs. It makes sense because if you are unsatisfied at your job, your mental health and well-being will be negatively impacted.
Signs to Consider a Career Change
These are some reasons people consider in changing their jobs. Everyone's journey is unique, so these reasons may or may not resonate with you:
Work environment is toxic
Not feeling fulfilled or dreading going to work
Wishing you had someone’s life or had pursued another career
No longer feeling challenged or learning at work, resulting in feeling stagnant
No path to being promoted or leveling up at your job if possible
Salary no longer a reason to stay at your job
Job concerns are now affecting your personal life
How to Change Your Job
The following are steps to consider as you enter into the next stage of your life:
Reflect on why you want to change your job
Create a pro and cons list about your current position as reference for what to look for in your next position
Make a list of your life goals
Look into how to achieve those goals, whether it means going for more schooling or getting additional trainings
If you are unsure on where to start interest-wise, you may find it useful to take different personality assessments to find a possible field that might match your personality
Some common assessments include:
The Myer-Briggs Test: https://www.themyersbriggs.com/en-US
The Strong Interest Inventory: https://www.themyersbriggs.com/en-US/Products-and-Services/Strong
The Holland Code Assessment: https://www.careerkey.org/fit/personality/holland-code-assessment-riasec
The Onet Interest Profiler: https://www.mynextmove.org/explore/ip
You can also explore potential careers based on your interests, knowledge, and values at https://www.onetonline.org
Making the decision to change jobs is difficult, but if you are constantly miserable and are able to, your mental health might be better off if you leave. If you feel like your current job is making you miserable now, it likely will not get better anytime soon. There may be waves of feeling okay with your job, but they are waves… the tough times will come back. We encourage you to take some time to reflect on yourself, your career, and your life to see whether where you are right now is reflected in your values as well as where you want to be in life.
If you are interested in exploring your job experiences with mental health support, feel free to contact us through our site.
Stay tuned. The next topic is "Highly Sensitive Person at Work."
Faragher, E.B., Cass, M., & Cooper, C.L. (2005).The relationship between job satisfaction and health: a meta-analysis. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 62(2), 105-112. https://oem.bmj.com/content/62/2/105
Written by Elena Duong, Psy.D.
Edited by Susanna La, Ph.D.