How to Move Forward When Your Dream Job Isn’t What You Envisioned

Sometimes it's just as important to notice what you don't like.

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By Hollyn Randoplh

Some of you had to do professional schooling or apprenticeships, and after surviving years of honing your craft and networking and setbacks, now you are working in your dream profession doing what you said you would, and everyone is so proud of you. There’s only one issue: After months or maybe even years of being at your dream job, you realize you absolutely hate it!

It is important that during this time you self-reflect and come up with a plan of action. While it is difficult to come to terms with the fact that the job you thought you would love is no longer serving you, it is not an uncommon occurrence. According to a 2017 Gallup poll on workplace trends, about 70 percent of American workers are not engaged at work.

Pricilla Martinez of Blush Online Life Coaching shares, “This normally happens when you may not understand the function of the job.” Martinez recommends getting exposure by volunteering or doing an internship. Informational interviews are also great ways to learn more about a career and what is expected of you.

Ariane Hunter, a career coach, and owner of She went for her Dreams, proposes first figuring out what this experience is here to teach you and shift your focus to how to optimize your time in the current role.

Once you reassess your skills and desires, the next step is to come up with an exit plan. “Know what your goals are and work backward from there,” says Hunter. “Set a date for when you would like to leave your job and focus on setting yourself up for life after this experience.” Martinez adds, “Do tangible things such as networking, go back to school, or find ways to develop the skills you need to position yourself for a new career or opportunity.”

Of course, as with everything in life, roadblocks and curveballs will also occur during this time. Maybe a contact you met through networking didn’t pan out the way you planned. Or perhaps you didn’t meet the financial goal you had in mind so that you are comfortable with leaving your current position. To that, both Hunter and Martinez say to be gentle with yourself.

“Moving forward makes life simpler, not easier,” says Hunter. If you do hit a roadblock, take a moment to acknowledge it and then reassess what occurred. This process helps with figuring out the best way to proceed.

Martinez stresses the importance of being self-aware and making sure to assess yourself throughout the transition. “You really need to reflect and understand that we all evolve,” she says.

Still not sure if you should make that move? Hunter offers this advice: “Focus on what you do know, think about what attracted you to that profession in the first place, and then create opportunities that you enjoy.” These opportunities can be within your current profession or another organization you are affiliated with.

Wherever you are during this process just remember to be kind to yourself and know that it is fine to change courses in life, even with something that has been a lifelong dream.

Originally published at

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