Monday again. Back to the same miserable job. You’re sick of feeling like just another cog in the wheel and you need a change.

So what do you do?

Update your resume, and plan to find a new job and leave this one ASAP. Right?

Maybe not.

In the frustration and haste that accompanies wanting to leave a bad job faster than a rebound relationship happens in Hollywood, you might be thinking only of getting out of your situation.

What you might not have realized is that if you don’t slow down to examine what you want next, you’re very likely to end up in another job that’s wrong for you.

And a job that’s wrong for you will leave you just as unhappy as you are now.

Here’s the truth: If you don’t know what you’re looking for, it’s really hard to find it.


What Do You Really Need?

Slowing down and thinking through the steps to the right next move is the only way (aside from dumb luck) to end up in a job that makes you happier and more satisfied than your current gig.

First, you need to ask yourself if your unhappiness is related to your specific workplace, or if what you really need is a career change.

A bad boss, difficult co-workers, or a mis-match with your company might be reasons to stick with your career and just look for a new job.

Provided you like your work overall, looking for a new job doing the same thing could be the right move.

But if your work isn’t giving you the meaning you’re looking for, if it’s stifling your creativity or potential, or it just doesn’t feel like “you,” it’s time to think about what you really need instead.


Figuring Out What You Need

So how do you figure out what might make you happier in your next job?

A good place to start is to think about what’s currently making you unhappy.

Are you always wishing for a chance to use some of  your creative ideas?

Do you want more time to interact with clients or customers?

Do you need more work/life balance?

Do you realize you need work you actually care about?

Start by making a list of all your current issues related to your job. Take a look to see what you’ve been wishing for. Much of what you need in your next job will be right in front of you.

Once you have your new “job description,” use it to research possible careers. Enlist the help of professionals if you need it, including a career coach to help you make your dream a reality and a professional resume writer to help you strengthen the parallels between your old career and your new one.


Your Dream Job

Finding a new job at lightening speed doesn’t matter if it’s the wrong one.

You’ll probably be as miserable as you were in the job you left in the first place.  Don’t make the discouraging mistake of having serial bad jobs.

You need to know what you’re looking for first to be a truly successful job seeker. Because winning isn’t just having a job. It’s having a job you’re really, truly happy with.

Slowing down the process, even if you don’t feel like you have the luxury to do it, is really an investment that you can’t afford not to make. The consequences are too great.

Take the time to understand what work will be right for you before jumping into the next thing that comes along – like those Hollywood rebounds.

Because we all know how those end.

So, what do you think? Are you ready to take the time to think about what you want next before jumping into the next job?  Share your thoughts in the comments!

Image: Steve Koukoulas on Flickr