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How To Pick The Field You Love

image There are certain types of people that somehow make an appearance at every office. One of them is the Negative Guy (or Girl, but we’ll use Guy for the sake of simplicity).

He’s the one who always has something bad to say. If management hands down an assignment, project, procedure, or rule, he will find something to nitpick about. Nothing is ever good enough, the work he’s doing is boring, management is always incompetent, and the minute the clock hits closing time, he’s already half-way to the exit. If someone shows the smallest sign of enthusiasm, or even cooperation around him, he’s ready to start calling them a brown-noser or suck-ups. He feels stuck at a job he hates, but then, every job is horrible, so why not stick around where he can at least collect a pay cheque?

There’s also Lazy Guy. He’s similar to Negative Guy, but he perhaps has less of a drain on morale, as he’s not quite as vocal about it. Like Negative Guy, Lazy Guy is a cloud of dust as soon as the work day is over. While at work, he doesn’t necessarily act discontent, but somehow, work always has a way of passing him by. Projects go unfinished for long periods of time, other people have to pick up the slack, and he gets by with minimal effort. It seems somehow he has escaped responsibility for most things and is rarely held accountable for his actions or his projects.

Neither one of these people is someone a passionate professional really wants to be involved with. That holds true no matter what field you’re in – business, IT, legal, or anything else. But you also need to make sure you’re not becoming one of these people, either. Unfortunately, statistics show you might be.

In the US, more than 70% of workers hate their jobs. In Australia, about 75% of workers want a different job than the one they have now. In the UK, things are a bit better, with 38% of workers reporting being unhappy or hating their jobs, but only 10% reported that they currently had their “dream job.” The most often-cited reasons? Disliking their bosses. Lack of passion. And, often not being challenged enough.

That last reason is very telling, particularly for individuals who work in IT. Challenge is important to people with technical skills and analytical minds. Rather than being lazy, they may simply be dissatisfied with their work.

If that’s your case – and you’ve ruled out that you aren’t just a chronic Negative or Lazy Guy – it is important for you to understand the long-term implications of on-going dissatisfaction on your career. Are you picking up a pay cheque or doing something that you love day in and day out? Are you looking for new challenges and ways to grow your skills, or are you looking at how many days of paid leave you have left and wondering how you can stretch them out a bit further?

In order to really dig in and find what the root of your dissatisfaction is, you have to ask yourself some pointed questions:

  1. Are you working for someone you hate? If they were removed from the picture, do you really think you would be happier with your current line of work?
  2. Can you picture yourself doing something else that would make you happier…
    1. In another field?
    2. In another job within the same field?
    3. At a different company?
  3. What is your prevailing mood throughout the work day? Enjoyment of the challenges you face? Boredom? Anger? Dread?
  4. What specific factors or people are present at your job that you like? That you dislike?

After doing a bit of soul searching, hopefully you have an idea of the direction you should really be headed – either seeking greater depth and more challenges in your current line of work, or else considering a switch to something that might give you more enjoyment. It might seem daunting to go in the latter direction – after all, classes and certifications cost money, and you might be starting from scratch at the bottom rung in a new job. However, if you are truly working in a field where you are passionate, you will find that your return on investment for these upfront sacrifices will be much greater and obtained much faster than staying at a position where you feel mediocre. Your productivity and skills will be bolstered by your morale and sincere enjoyment of your career, and those in charge will notice.

One field worth considering if you are looking to expand your skills or find a new and flexible career is working with SAP. This ERP system is a widespread IT solution utilized by many large businesses who are major employers around the world. It is spread across several different industries, meaning it has job security and plenty of career options. In addition, SAP provides a number of different areas under one umbrella – system implementation, maintenance, networking, emerging technologies, and programming, among others. It provides a built-in means of diversification and on-going learning and challenges, making it a satisfying option for IT professionals looking to make a switch or build on their current skill set.

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About the Author:

Pete has been working with SAP technologies for over 10 years. He started out as an ABAP consultant and then moved on to BW where he has worked many different clients covering a wide variety of industries. "I love introducing SAP technology (especially BI) to new clients and showing them how they can go from zero to hero within their business in super fast time". Contact me on twitter @PeterMoxon