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How Your Job and Your Health Go Together
Whether you buy into New Year’s resolutions or not, it’s tough to argue with their premise: Make changes that’ll lead to a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life. And given how much of that life we devote to work, it’s no wonder that resolving to get a better job is one of the most common year-end goals, according to data from the federal government.
So is this the year you should vow to find a new gig? With employment numbers still lagging, it’s a task that can seem daunting—but it may also yield serious health benefits. Job satisfaction plays a significant role in overall happiness, with an estimated one in six cases of depression being caused by work, according to a recent Australian study. “Most people know if their job isn’t making them happy,” says Ralph Raphael, a Maryland-based career counselor and clinical psychologist. “The tougher decision is figuring out whether it’s a temporary problem, or if their unhappiness is endemic to the job itself.”
He advises asking yourself the following questions to decide whether a job switch is the right decision:
- Does your stress level detract from other parts of your life?
- In ascending the career ladder, did you stray from aspects of your job that you once loved?
- Do you routinely dread going to work, or feel anxious about the day ahead?
If the answer to at least one of these is “yes,” then it might be time to start looking. And January is the right time to job hunt, says Michael Erin, a spokesperson for employment website CareerBuilder, because companies tend to hire more aggressively early in the year. Unfortunately, it’s also extra competitive: “Historically, we see an increase in traffic shortly after the New Year, when people are done celebrating…and are once again serious about their job search.”
More from Prevention: How To Hate Your Job Less
Resolved to find a new job for the New Year? Stand out from the pack by taking these steps before you fill out any applications, Erin recommends:
Assess your skills. Wanting a change isn’t enough—you need to be qualified for the job you hope to snag. Take stock of your existing skills and abilities, which will help you establish what you need to do to improve your qualifications.
Make a wish list. Keep a specific list of the jobs you’re interested in, and the reasons they seem to offer what you want—establishing the attributes of a desirable job will help in your search. If an entire career change is a possibility, consider speaking to someone in the fields that interest you, and then whittle your ideal field down to one specific area of focus.
Jot down a plan. Create a visual roadmap of your end goal (“Position Y at company X”) and the steps you need to take to get there, including realistic timeframes for each one. When you lose focus or motivation, use the map as a boost—and a reminder that an ideal job won’t pop up overnight.
Expand your network. Think back to colleagues at previous jobs, as well as your existing network of coworkers, friends, and acquaintances. Can any of them help you get a foot in the door? If so, reach out. Consider diversifying your network by using social networking sites, particularly Twitter and LinkedIn, to find potential employers and mentors.
More from Prevention: 3 Ways To Ace An Interview
Questions? Comments? Contact Prevention’s News Team!