by Career Actually guest contributor, Gillian Kelly


As a career coach, every day, people tell their life story to me. They share thoughts about their favorite jobs, the highs and lows, the good bosses and the bad.

Many come to our office out of sheer emotional exhaustion; the long-term effects of hauling themselves out of bed each day to a job they no longer enjoy.

The problem is it’s so easy to get swept up in the daily grind until you suddenly realise you’ve wasted precious time. More often than not the realisation comes on the heels of other symptoms like ill health, marriage breakdowns, depression and anxiety which all seem to come hand-in-hand with unhappiness at work.

So how do you go about turning it all around and rebuilding a happy career? Here are the golden rules I’ve learnt along the way:

Give yourself permission to explore.

No matter what your circumstances, it doesn’t hurt to explore your options. You don’t have to do anything straight away but what’s the harm in looking around? Read about different careers and industries, and if something interests you, find out more about it. The world is a big place with millions of jobs, many of which you may have never known existed without a little exploration and curiosity.

Don’t stay in a job that compromises your values.

Our values play a huge part in job satisfaction. Being in a role that is misaligned with these can lead to deep levels of discomfort particularly over time. For the sake of your own physical and emotional wellbeing if you are not comfortable with an organisation and its fit for your personal values, make a plan so you can safely move on. It will be worth it in the long run.

Invest in yourself.

The world of work is constantly changing. As technology and the global marketplace changes, the needs for particular skills are reduced and others are introduced. To maintain value to the market, it’s important to embrace lifelong learning and to take ownership for your own career. Continually up-skill, learn about new things and look for ways to bring value to potential employers.

Don’t wait.

Inertia is insidious. It steals precious moments from our lives when we could be doing something we love. Don’t jump in without adequate preparation and planning but do take action. I’d never advise leaving any job without another job to go to, or at least a well thought out plan, but neither would I advise doing nothing. Don’t fall into the trap of playing the victim card or putting it in the too hard basket. Inspire yourself by reading the stories of others who have made the change successfully. Tomorrow is always a new opportunity for you to follow your dreams.

Make the Most of Now.

Find the enjoyable moments in your current job. None of us have any guarantees about tomorrow so find joy in today. Stop and appreciate the parts of your job you do like. Spend time with people who’s company you enjoy and be proud of contributions.

Gillian KGillianelly is a multi-credentialed, award-winning resume writer and career coach, passionate about assisting others to move forward into the future with confidence. She specialises in outplacement, career marketing, career coaching and defence-to-civilian transition. She is also a qualified Personal Branding Strategist. You can reach Gillian through Outplacement Australia.