There is nothing worse than spending eight hours a day in a job that you hate.

In Japan a job used to be for life. Men belonged to the company, proudly wear the company badge at social events and were known as proudly belonging to a particular company. The company even looked after them in their old age. Today things are changing in Japan with fewer permanent jobs. In many countries people have to work in any job just to be able to put food on the table, whether it is hunting in the forest, sewing in sweatshops or cultivating and harvesting tea on the hill slopes.   However in Australia staying in one job for life is quite unusual as people move on to different companies and different occupations.

It can be upsetting, demoralizing and demeaning when you do not enjoy your job. Sometimes you are unhappy because you know that your job will go offshore within a year or two. Sometimes it is a monotonous job that does nothing for your intelligence. The question is really: Are you only working for the money or is there more to life?


But changing jobs is not something that happens overnight. Jumping from one job straight into another can be difficult and often counter-productive if you do not plan it properly unless you are one of the lucky ones who are head-hunted.

Preparation is the key, which usually takes time. Your first task is to identify exactly what you want to do. Are you passionate about working in the building industry, as a photographer or maybe as a musician? How many young people begin their studies without really knowing what they are really suited to? Sometimes parents have a good idea what their child is suited to. Some parents, on the other hand want to fill their own dreams that they could not for whatever reason, and project that occupation on to their own child.


Seeing a career counsellor is a clever step. The interview looks at you, your strengths and weaknesses, your dreams, your previous education and your abilities amongst many other factors. Their job is not only to help you find out what jobs will be suitable for you, but also to advise you if there are available jobs in that particular occupation. For example two hundred years ago a person could find plenty of work as a horse-shoer, a tailor or a butler. Today that translates into a mechanic, an international clothing buyer or a house-keeper.


At the beginning of last century it was easy to get into university to study medicine if one had the money and the inclination. Today only the very top year twelve graduates are accepted into this course. That counsellor will explain what training you will require and how to find that training or apprenticeship. You can also find out what the pay will be for that industry. It may be that you will not be able to support your family on the low wages that are paid in some occupations, or that the hours are rarely full-time. So consider the financial aspect as well as the occupation itself.

Another consideration is the hours that your job requires. A performing musician may have to work most evenings and weekends. Some manufacturing jobs have night shifts which may not suit your family arrangements. Miners may have to work far away from home on a fly-in fly-out arrangement. (FIFO). Heart surgeons and obstetricians are on call day and night, weekends and holidays even if they share after-hours calls amongst themselves. Is this the lifestyle that you and your family really want?


Let’s say that you really like your workplace, but not your particular job. Maybe you could consider moving sideways, qualifying at night for something else in the same company. Today there are options of studying on the internet. For example a debt collector may want to be an accountant in the same company, or a HR driver may want to get a different licence and drive bigger trucks.


Once you have completed your re-training there is the practical experience required for the job, unless you have taken an apprenticeship. Internships are an excellent way of obtaining experience.

Universities have career expos where major companies exhibit on the look-out for graduates. There are companies that specialise in placing interns. Sometimes it is worthwhile to take a long-term view when considering a new job, being prepared to put in a few years working your way up in the company to get to where you want to be. Get to work on the internet to find jobs in your field.


The world is your oyster! Don’t think that you have to stay in your small geographical area. You don’t. There is the whole of Australia and the whole of the world. You could be employed near the beaches of Cairns, in California or in Dubai. Exposure to the international workplace will broaden your experience. Naturally some countries demand specific occupational qualifications that are acceptable to that country. A NSW taxi drivers licence will not be accepted in New York or London if you want to drive taxis there, but you could definitely work in a flower shop if you have the correct work permits and have completed a flower arrangement course.


One of the best things that you ever do for yourself will be moving in the direction that made you happy. If it is plumbing, if it is working as a financial controller or as a primary school teacher, you have made the decision and you are in control of your work-life.

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