When your dream job isn’t making you happy anymore

Sometimes we end up at a point of life where we feel stuck. Where it seems that all the decisions we thought were the right ones for us didn’t produce what we thought they would. So what do we do about it? 

I try to keep my blog posts personal, while still being helpful to some of you. My goal is achieved if at least one of you reads it and afterwards thinks that you have read something helpful to you. So this time I want to talk about why I decided that I want to give up my dream career to do something else. 

When I worked my first holiday job in a graphic design agency I was in love. I can’t describe the feeling with anything else, because the work I was allowed to do there and the work environment brought me so much joy, that when I was on my way home after 8 hours of work I was ecstatic. My job was to develop a corporate design for our school magazine based on the CI of the school. I was to come up with a name for the magazine, a logo, and a layout for the magazine itself. My boss and even the other employees were really helpful and gave me the feeling that I was good at this. That I had potential and that I could turn that into a career.

My 18-year-old self thought that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to become a designer.

Fast forward three years: I was in my last semester of my bachelors degree in Information Design. A lot of things didn’t turn out the way I expected it, but I still learned a lot of new things and I was still positive that my professional future lied in the creative industry.

I found my love for producing videos and short films there and while I wanted to work in the movie or TV industry after I graduated, life had a different plan for me. On a whim I decided to apply for my second internship that year. It was for a media designer at a very renowned company in the snowboard community. My other applications for internships in the video field were declined, and I still needed to do some hours of mandatory internship for my degree. As I love snowboarding and I also was a designer right now I thought that this was the right move. In hindsight it was the worst decision career-wise and regarding my personal life I could have ever made. The job and the team made me feel as if I was the worst designer to ever walk on the face of earth. I am not saying that I never made mistakes on the job, but I felt like everything I did was wrong. At the end of this six month internship I was regularly crying while walking home, talking to my mum on the phone.  

But I finished my bachelor thesis I did with that company and moved on. After all it was just one internship and I still remembered how I was feeling about this kind of work when I started my bachelors degree. 

But this one internship had a way bigger impact on my career than I could have ever imagined. With this internship, somehow most doors to other creative jobs closed. The answer from recruiters and bosses always was “we are not looking for a graphic designer”. Even though I had a background in business through my education, my bachelors degree and another internship where I did 3D animation and film. 

And at this point of life I had to get a job. Sometimes you can’t be picky with what job you take. If you get offered a position you take it. Even if you know that it won’t be a good fit from the start. I have had 3 other design jobs in different companies. And sadly they killed all the joy in design I had. Gone are the days I went home from a job, being happy about what I did that day. 

You know how New Years Eve is always a day where we think about the future and make resolutions? When in 2017 I decided to quit my job because I was feeling stuck and feared that my career was over if I didn’t and 2 years later I spent New Year’s Eve thinking about what to do next, because in the job I did back then and where I poured my heart and soul into my work, I was let go in a very unrespectful manner, I thought to myself: “Maybe it’s just not what you are meant to do.” There is a point in your life when you have to change something. That’s when I decided to start a masters degree in Content Strategy. I still have a love for the beautiful things in life and I still love storytelling. But in Graphic Design I couldn’t unfold all my potential. I was deeply unhappy. I hated to get up in the morning and to go to work. And as I am very unlikely to win the Euromillions I had to do something about my job. 

And a career change was just the move I had to make. The pandemic really helped with that decision. And as I near the end of my masters degree I learned a few things: Firstly there is more than one way in how you can use your talents, secondly if you are unhappy, you need to be the change. The world won’t change for you. You have to change it yourself. And lastly, a career change is not as scary as it may seem and nothing is final.

So if you have been looking for a sign from the universe: This is it!

One thought on “When your dream job isn’t making you happy anymore

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  1. As someone who’d stumbled from one career to another before finding my gift (writing), I have to say that yeah, sometimes it’s really up to you to make things happen, because things aren’t just going to fall into your lap. Thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

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