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At least one half of US employees aren’t happy with their jobs, according to some recent surveys.

When you can’t stand your job and you know it’s time for you to make a change, it can be challenging to know what to do, and not knowing the next career move often results in procrastination and staying unhappy.

A few basic steps can help to get you out of this rut and back in touch with your true calling.

Step #1: Consider the ideal workday

Instead of thinking about the next job you want or a career change, you should think about your ideal day of work. What would you be responsible for? What kind of work environment would you be in? What kind of people do you work well with?

If you’re currently employed, pay attention to your workday and take notes on the responsibilities that you hate along with those that you enjoy. Eventually, emerging patterns will start to give you a sense of your ideal workday.

This exercise can get you thinking about long-term career goals and a daily routine you might even look forward to taking on.

Step #2: Think about why you enjoy your passions

You’ve probably heard that you should “do what you love to do” a million times, but perfectly translating your passions into paycheck is extremely difficult.

However, if you consider your interests in abstract terms, it can be much easier to translate them into a profession. For instance, if you enjoy running races because finishing them gives you a sense of accomplishment, you may want to look for project-oriented work that also provides a sense of accomplishment.

Step #3: Hold informal interviews

While looking inward at your daily motivations and life-long passions can give you big clues about your next career move, external advice can also be extremely useful, particularly if that advice comes from knowledgeable professionals. Informal interviews are a good tool for getting inside information on various jobs and industries.

Do your research and study in advance so you can figure out who you want to talk to and what industry-specific questions you should ask. During each conversation, take some note on anything interesting that you hear. After around 8 to 12 informal interviews, patterns will start to emerge and these patterns can offer insights into the kinds of roles that should appeal to you. For example, you may hear a lot of interesting details that are all related to an MBA degree.

Step #4: Focus on a five-year plan

A five-year plan can help to put your next career step into perspective. It can give you short term and point you in the direction you need to go right now.  A five-year plan can also remind you that you next step isn’t a permanent change that you have to stick with for the rest of your life; it’s just the nest step onto bigger and better things.

Are you looking for the next step in your career?

At Quanta, we specialize in helping professionals take the next step on their career path, as well as helping people switch career tracks. If you’re currently looking for advice on your next career move, contact us today or search these top jobs.