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Realizing My Dream Job… Wasn’t Actually My Dream Job

Jun 28, 2020

How did I get this whole choosing a career thing so wrong…?

It was about 7 years ago that I landed my dream job.

I had just moved away from home, to a new state, to start my brand new, big girl career as a Retail Analyst at one of the largest retailers in the world!

I was really thrilled about my new career because I had worked so hard for this in school and I absolutely could not wait to get started.

I was determined to be the best analyst they had ever seen, to climb the corporate career ladder, make a ton of money, and be super happy in my life.

That was my dream!

But what ended up happening… didn’t exactly go according to my plan.

Once I began my new job, I slowly started to discover that I wasn’t good at it.

It involved a lot more work with numbers than I had anticipated and this was definitely a weak point of mine. I’ve never been good at math or numbers for my whole life!

And so I watched as my peers were catching on to the work that we were doing everyday and I saw how excited they were, how passionate they were… and I just wasn’t.

It started becoming more and more apparent that I really wasn’t enjoying any of the things that I was doing in my job.

And that made me feel really confused. I felt hurt. I felt shameful. I honestly felt really embarrassed…

What’s wrong with me? How did I get this whole career thing so wrong??

And then, as if I wasn’t already struggling enough with these feelings, came my absolute rock bottom.

As part of my work in my analyst job, I was required to do a massive project with a small team of my peers.

I remember, we had this little conference room that was dedicated to us for two weeks and we were locked up in there for 12+ hours a day working on this project. I was there from 7am till 8pm. It was insane, it was one of the most intense work things I had ever done.

At the end, we had to give a presentation on our findings and present a solution to the problem we had been working on.

I still remember that moment…

Standing at the front of a massive auditorium, filled with hundreds of senior leadership members — people that I really respected, people that I really wanted to impress.

I remember standing there and holding my hands behind my back so that no one would see them shaking, because I was so scared that I was about to be humiliated in front of everyone.

I was praying that no one would ask me to explain the financial piece of our work because I would have nothing to say.

Even though I had tried so hard, I didn’t understand any of it.

And it was in that moment, that I knew that my career shouldn’t be this hard. It shouldn’t feel so unbearable.

In that moment, I finally admitted to myself that I was supposed to be doing something else with my life.

Once I made that admission to myself, that I was on the wrong path — once I made the decision that it was time to course correct and take my career in a different direction — everything changed for me.

Accepting that I had made a mistake with my career, allowed me to finally let go of the agony that I was experiencing trying and trying to fit myself into a career that just did not fit who I am as a person.

So I decided to pick out a new career. I decided to pick out a new career that was aligned with who I am and what my strengths are so that I could finally be happy and excited about the work that I was doing!

But with that decision to find a new career, I had a new problem…

And that new problem was that I had no idea what this new, amazing career was supposed to be.

And so I did the only thing that I knew how to do at the time and that was to start asking questions. I had to figure out what careers are even out there? What are the possibilities for me?

I started talking to people at my company that were on all sorts of different teams — people who worked with products, people who worked on trends, people who worked in HR.

All of these different conversations allowed me to do three very important things. They allowed me to:

  1. Confirm that recruiting was going to be a good career fit for me
  2. Find all of the clues that I needed to get through the recruiting interview process
  3. Get a referral into an amazing company to do an interview

Now that I had clarity, knowledge and a connection, this meant that I was able to interview with an amazing company even though I didn’t necessarily have the exact experience that the job description was asking for.

In the end, I was able to land a dream role on a recruiting team at a Fortune 500 tech company in California. Which is exactly what I had wanted.

Moving into a recruiting career was so amazing for me, because I was finally excited about the work that I was doing.

I was finally good at my job! I got to use all of my natural talents in my new career and that felt so good.

In the end, what this whole career transition meant for me, was that I got to take back control of my life.

I knew that my work life didn’t have to be so miserable. I knew that there was a career out there that was going to be an amazing fit for me. I knew that I was capable of finding work that I loved.

And so that’s exactly what I went after and what I created for myself.

Jess is a Career Coach and former Recruiting Professional who lives in San Francisco, California. She helps job seekers to discover their calling and land a career that they love by connecting with their inner power.

If you’re struggling to stay positive in your search for a new career, you can grab a FREE list of “25 Powerful Career Mantras to help you go from feeling defeated and frustrated to confident and motivated.


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