Why You Need To Break Up With Your Career

by Jan 18, 2019

Breakups suck, there’s no denying it; whether you’ve been dumped, or have to end things when it just isn’t working out. But I’m here to tell you that as brutal as it can be, getting out of a bad relationship will always be worth your while. Despite all the tears and wallowing in self-pity, it’s the transformative powers of getting through a breakup that is exactly what you need to start being the best version of yourself again.

So what if you’re in a bad relationship with your career?

You could be stuck in a dead-end job or feeling lost about how to land your dream gig. Maybe things are starting to feel stale at work and you’re falling out of love with what you’re doing.
Reinventing yourself and your career isn’t easy, and it definitely won’t happen overnight; just like a break-up there are several stages you’ll go through. But stay strong through the tough times and you’ll find ending a toxic relationship with your work will actually help foster growth and career development, leaving you feeling fresh and refocused.

taylor swift and harry styles with text saying I can't wait to write our breakup song

So in the spirit of #newyearnewme: here’s why breaking up with your career is just the shake up you need to put yourself back on the path to #careergoals.

Give yourself some space

Reese Witherspoon looking sad in bed eating chocolate

Usually after cutting ties with a significant other I’d embrace this phrase heartily by retreating to binge watch terrible reality TV series, eat entire tubs of ice cream in one go, and take long luxurious baths with a glass (bottle) of wine. And yes this process is entirely necessary in getting over an ex-bae; there’s a certain amount of self-pity and wallowing that does help ease the heartache.

But it’s not as easy to slap a deep-pore cleansing face mask on your career when you decide to call it quits. What I would suggest instead is taking a step back from the situation to figure out what gives you the most fulfillment in the workplace.

Now is the time for some reflection, and you need to give yourself plenty of space to do so.

Write it all down and don’t leave anything out. Identify all the things about your job that frustrated you, stressed you out or made you lose sleep at night, and then write down all the things you loved about it, what got you out of bed each morning.  Finally, it’s good to list a few ‘non-negotiables’ that you couldn’t work without. Maybe it’s the freedom to be creative in your role and maybe it looks more like an unlimited supply of coffee – it’s up to you to decide what you can’t go without.

We tend to repeat the same mistakes from failed relationships, so having all your cards out on the table in written format helps you identify the things you should avoid in your job, what aspects of yourself you need to work on, and what you should be searching for when you apply for a role.

Turn to your friends for support

Cast of tv show Friends looking through a window and clapping

 Just like you can rely on your friends to drag you out of the depths of breakup despair, you should turn to those around you for support when you’re stuck in a work rut or searching for a change in career.

But more than turning to your closest confidants for reassurance and advice (and to hear how sorry your ex will be for ending things, coz let’s be honest you’re awesome!), when it comes to your career the key is to widen your circle of support, and in turn open yourself to a whole new world of opportunities.

Speaking to a Career Advisor is a great place to start. They will provide constructive and practical advice, and point you in the direction of helpful job-searching resources. These people know their stuff; and having an expert pair of eyes look over your resume, assist in interview preparation and give you real-world insight into the job-market will give you the edge you need. Even if you need a place to ask “What sort of work should I be doing?” a career advisor will be your new best friend in no time!

You can also look to LinkedIn to expand your professional circle. Personal brand is important, and keeping an up-to-date online presence will get you thinking more conscientiously about the actions you are taking to build your career.

If you’ve mastered LinkedIn and are looking for more involvement with industry experts, why not attend some industry networking events, or try out a mentoring program? The Professional Mentoring Program will provide a comprehensive network of potential employers at your fingertips, offering advice and sharing valuable knowledge through experience. And attending networking events is a great way to pull you out of your slump by stepping outside of your comfort zone.

Don’t date the next person you meet

Black and white gif of two people running towards each other, the woman has her arms open in a hug but the man runs right past

 Chances are some of you have fallen prey to the pangs of loneliness soon after a breakup and have found yourself dating the next person that comes along. Similarly some of us fall into the same trap when we’ve moved on from one job and are searching for the next.

The point is that you should avoid settling for a job just because the timing is convenient. If you are serious about achieving certain goals that you know will bring you career satisfaction, taking up a position where the same problems are likely to emerge in, will just leave you feeling discontent once again.

Revisit the list you made before for affirmation that you are on the right track. If a job doesn’t even come close to satisfying your non-negotiables it’s a waste of your time.

Prove to yourself you got this

image of beyonce being held up by 8 men with the text 'when your ex asks you what you've been up to since the break...'

They say happiness is the best revenge, so why not stick it to the frustrations and discontentment of your old work life and shape yourself into a happier, more productive professional. It’s not going to be easy, but once the hard yards are done, I guarantee you’ll never look back.

If you have truly given a job your all and it still isn’t working out, or isn’t serving as a stepping stone onto something bigger and better, then it’s probably served its purpose in your career trajectory.

Scary though it is, sometimes walking away is the best outcome.

gif with pink background with the text 'thank u, next'


Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

By Tess Hobbis

By Tess Hobbis

Events Assistant

Tess is an Event Assistant at UTS Careers. She’s focused on motivating students in their career development by designing a range of inspiring events. With a solid background in hosting and hospitality management she sure knows how to throw a good party!