Career Question: “I’m Not Happy but I Don’t Know What I Want to do”

Dear Nicole,

I’m 26 and have been working with a great international company for the past 4 years. I started in Customer Relations and have been promoted several times and am now a Regional Sales Manager. It has been a great company to work for and I have enjoyed learning so much as I’ve moved across positions and have also had the advantage of wearing many hats on different days.

With that said, I am not happy. My job doesn’t challenge me or excite me. It doesn’t tap into my creativity or any of my passions, and that is very frustrating to me. I feel guilty that all of those things don’t seem to be enough. Between my work hours and my commute, I’m spending too much of my life unhappy. I know I need to make some changes.

My biggest problem is that I don’t know exactly what I want to do as I want to do a number of different things! I love business, I love the corporate world, I enjoy sales, I am passionate about writing and philanthropy, I’m very skilled at event planning, fundraising and organization. I love fashion, meeting new people and trying new things.

What is your advice for me? –Megan

Dear Megan,

I think a huge challenge women today face is that we have TOO many options. With that comes self-inflicted pressure and high expectations about the satisfaction our day jobs should provide us. Sometimes all the choices we have make us disappointed and unfulfilled at work (because we “COULD be doing XYZ instead” which sounds much more glamorous and fulfilling) when in reality, work is really not always intended to be dreamy or personally fulfilling every day. No matter how great even a “dream job” seems, there will always be boring parts, bosses, annoying co-workers and challenges.

Have you considered starting a blog? Your story sounds a lot like what I was going through when I decided to start my blog.

Blogging is a great way to start figuring out what your passions gravitate towards, and it’s also a great way to get a creative and passion outlet sans the pressure. Your blog will inevitably pull in a specific direction. Since you have so many passions now, blogging is an exercise for you to see what you most enjoy discussing, researching, reading about, making video posts about, etc. You’ll also start to chat more online and naturally pull towards interacting certain types of blogs and people.

Blogging results in a ton of personal and professional growth, unintended networking (which is much more genuine than many other forms of networking) and it opens many doors. When you have all of this excitement and fulfillment going on outside of work, I think you’ll be able to enjoy your day job much more because you’ll be excited about what awaits you outside of work hours.

Your blog will help you compartmentalize your day job and lower your expectations for its fulfillment. It sounds to me like you have a great gig, and have been promoted several times at a great company. This shouldn’t be taken for granted in a pursuit of some elusive chase towards “passion.”

Good luck!


Nicole Emerick

Nicole Emerick founded Ms. Career Girl in 2008 to help other ambitious young professional women thrive in a career they love. Ironically, growing MsCareerGirl helped Nicole transition her own career from commercial banker to digital marketer. Today Nicole leads the social media team at a large advertising agency in Chicago. Nicole also served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University where she helped develop the careers of PR, Advertising and Communications students. Tweet with Nicole @_NicoleEmerick.