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5 reasons we're bad at choosing the right job

By Alison Rodericks | 23 January 2020


If you’re about to start a new job, you need to make sure it ticks the following boxes: 
  • It utilises your skills and helps you develop them further
  • The work culture encourages teamwork, participation and a sense of belonging
  • The company’s principles align with your core values
However, quite often, you might take on a new role only to get disillusioned a few months down the track. It’s not what you expected, you’re unhappy and have a sinking feeling that you’ve made a big mistake.

According to HILDA, Department of Employment, the national average tenure in a job is 3.3 years, which means today’s Australian millennial will have approximately 17 different jobs in their lifetime if they continue to work until the age of 75. So, why do we switch jobs so often and, more importantly, why do we make the wrong decision when it comes to choosing the right job? 

Why we’re bad at choosing the right job?

  1. You chose money or status over job satisfaction.
  2. You didn’t know yourself well enough.
  3. You don’t know what career you want to pursue.
  4. You didn’t do your research.
  5. Extenuating circumstances make it impossible to quit.

1. You chose money or status over job satisfaction.

money vs career concept

Money talks – loudly – and we listen. Of course, we need jobs that pay the bills, the rent/mortgage and our daily expenses, but if you choose a job purely for the monetary benefits it brings, you might lose out on job satisfaction. 

Working 8-10 hours a day in a job that you dislike cannot work out in the long run. Staff want money, but they also want meaning. An article in the Sydney Morning Herald states that two-thirds of Australians (66%) value happiness ahead of pay and 81% say finding meaning in their work would increase their happiness. 

2. You didn’t know yourself well enough.

When we enter the workforce in our early 20s, most of us lack the maturity and foresight to make wise career choices

We haven’t developed to our full potential and may not even know what our inherent skills are and how to choose a job that aligns with our interests/talents. Or, we may choose a career pathway in our 20s only for it to clash with our lifestyle in our 30s and beyond.  

As the years roll on and our circumstances change, what we want out of a career may change too. 

3. You don’t know what career you want to pursue.

woman looking in contemplation

You flounder through high school, get a degree at uni or a certificate at an RTO and take the first job you get offered, ever so grateful that someone has hired you. But you’re not sure what your chosen path is. You have a few hobbies but you’re too afraid to make the leap from side hustle to full-time career. Today, there are so many career choices and study options. It’s never too late to upskill. 

4. You didn’t do your research.

Granted, it’s impossible to say with certainty what a new job will be like, but, in this day and age, you can – and should – do your research. What’s the work culture like? What is the average age? Does your boss encourage flexible working? What are your maternity leave benefits? You need to have the information so that you can make an informed decision before you take up the job. 

5. Extenuating circumstances make it impossible to quit.

It’s all well and good to say change your job if you’re unhappy; quite often, circumstances make it impossible to change roles. 

We may feel compelled to stay in a job even though we don’t enjoy the work for these reasons: family pressure (e.g. your father was a lawyer so you’re expected to take up law), financial pressures (e.g. being able to pay the mortgage or rent and providing for your family), lack of skills/knowledge (e.g. you need to study further), stand in the way of switching to a job that would give your greater job satisfaction. 

This feeling of being trapped often leads to employees feeling disconnected and disengaged from their work.

What if you’re realised you’re in the wrong job – what do you do next? You arm yourself with knowledge. Take time to figure out who you really are – jot down your strengths, your interests, your passions and how your skills can add value to your workplace. 

Get professional help, if needed, like a career coach or mentor. Find out what courses you need to do in order to land your dream job and get the qualifications you need. Network with people in your chosen industry online and in real life – it’s often who you know, not what you know. Above all, don’t give up – work hard to make your dream job a reality.

In a career rut and need to change jobs? 

Get ahead in your career and study with Upskilled, and check out their range of online courses that are flexible, affordable and self-paced. Speak with one of their education consultants today on 1300 009 924 to learn more.
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