Q: I noticed that I change jobs every three years. It seems that I get bored and nonproductive to the point where I feel stuck, trapped and depressed. I don't know if I'm in the right field (science, microinjectionist) or what pattern I'm creating that I keep missing. My mother and others I love say I am a great teacher/adviser, but of what? Help! I feel like I'm spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere. I want to get off this ride and live my best life.
— Janel, age 32
Janel, you are the final authority on your own strengths. Your mother and friends may be right, and you can take the Strong Life Test to find out what your lead and supporting roles are, but only you can say what specific activities and tasks either strengthen or weaken you.
You change jobs every three years, but are there any aspects of your work that have energized you no matter where you have found yourself? Take an inventory of where your strengths and weaknesses lie in your current career—pay attention and note every day what drains you and what invigorates you. Then, focus on your strengths and see if you can think of a way to alter your path so that you do more of what strengthens you.
If you honestly cannot find anything in your current career that sustains your interest, you may have chosen a field that simply doesn't afford you the opportunity to really play to your strengths. It's rare to find someone who has chosen a career that is completely wrong for herself—most people want either more responsibility in their current roles or the chance to focus on a specialized subset of what they're currently doing. But if you find yourself bored and weakened by every single aspect of your job, then it may well be that you need to look into a whole career change. In that case, you have to cast your net wider and go beyond your current working life in your self-examination. Look into your past and try to remember what left you with a sense of accomplishment, made you lose track of time or inspired you to want to learn more.
Consider your personal life as well. Do you have hobbies or volunteer work that you find invigorating and fulfilling? Look for clues everywhere you possibly can think of in order to find what strengthens you, because in the end, you need to love the actual tasks that you perform on daily basis, or you will simply never be fulfilled in your work.
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