Dear Dave: I’m stuck in a dead-end job, and I only have a high school diploma. I’ve never minded long hours and hard work, but I’ve begun to realize I need to have a better career, so I can spend more time with my kids. I feel like I’m missing out on their lives, because I work 65 to 70 hours every week. Do you have any advice on how to change my situation?
Dear Tim: Asking questions and exploring your options like this is a much smarter move than simply walking away from an unsatisfying job situation — especially when you have a family to think about. I’m glad you’re wise enough to take a thoughtful look at the situation, instead of making a rash decision that could have a negative impact on you and your family.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to improve yourself in terms of education or your career. But before you do any of that, you’ve got to have a definite direction in mind. You need an in-depth, detailed game plan for the next three or four years that’s designed to put you where you want to be. It may involve going back to school for some classes, additional training in your field, or even getting a full-blown degree. If you identify your long-term goals in detail, it will lead you to some of the short-term goals that will help you arrive at your final destination.Comment on this story
Have you tried talking to your boss about your goals and your situation? See if you can have a sincere conversation with him or her, and discuss your feelings about your career and what’s going on with your family, too. Your company may be very receptive to the idea of increasing your value in the workplace. A good leader will also understand the importance of family.
Also, there’s a great book by Dan Miller that addresses this topic. It’s called "48 Days to the Work You Love." In this book, he lays out the steps to discovering what you really love to do and how to get there.
Best of luck, Tim!