Last night I was getting ready to start my Monday blog and I got caught up tweeting a friend of mine who had left a deliciously inviting tweet in cyberspace for a personal finance blogger.

Ivanka Trump: anyone out there hiring?!

This is not the famous Ivanka Trump, but a personal friend of mine who tweets anonymously. She’s not a new mom, nor is she the daughter of The Donald, but as long as Ivanka Trump is in the news, I may get some hits from people googling The Donald’s Wife. If you are reading this after searching for Ivanka Trump, you just got SEO pwn’d. Now back to the conversation.

My initial fear was that my friend had lost her job, so I asked.

@kevin_is_money: what happened to your job?

Ivanka Trump: I hate it. Help me find another?

Ah, the classic “I hate my job” case. Roughly 80% of people are dissatisfied with their jobs. Most of those people have no idea what to do to fix it, so they do nothing. I have a pretty good idea of how to tackle this problem, and you can be sure that “nothing” is nowhere near the list.

ivanka trump construction

In fact, the solution can be broken down into three steps:

  1. Figure out what you want to do
  2. Acquire the necessary skills and/or training (if needed)
  3. Find a job

The most important thing about this list is that you do it in order. Most people, when they are unhappy with their work, go straight to step 3. See Ivanka Trump’s tweet above for a prime example.

Jumping past step one is often disastrous. A few examples of what might happen include: spending tens of thousands of dollars getting another college degree that qualifies you for yet another thing you don’t want to do; becoming unemployed and spending all day sleeping and watching TV in your mom’s basement because you don’t know what jobs to apply for; working a new job that you hate even more than your last job.

Many people embrace change when things are going bad because they find it difficult to envision something new being worse than what they had before. It’s important to remember that change can be for the better or for the worse. Are you listening 2008 presidential election? (Sorry Obama voters, I don’t care how you feel about him now; you elected someone who unashamedly ran on the “Hope and Change” platform, aka “At least I’m not that guy/party”)

Figure Out What You Want to Do

The hardest part of this list is the first step. If I had the solution to figuring out what someone should do with their life, I’d be swimming in a pool of $100 bills instead of writing this blog. Fortunately, it is much easier to figure out what you don’t want to do. This should be your first step.

Once you have defined what you don’t want to do, you may realize that you can tweak your current job and change it into something you don’t hate. Most bosses will realize that a happy employee is a productive employee, and if you recommend certain responsibility changes that will make you more happy and productive, any good boss will take your suggestions into consideration.

Once your job has changed, see if you enjoy it. If that fixed it, I accept tips via cash, check, or credit card. If it didn’t then try again to change the things you hate until you either find what you like or determine you must leave the company.

If you’ve determined that your current job cannot be salvaged, then you need to figure out what you want to do before you can find something else.

Unfortunately there is no single answer to this question; however, I do have a few ideas that might help people figure it out:

  • Ask your closest friends and family members what they think you would love (This helped Tag decide to go to Nursing School)
  • Read the ever popular “find your career” book What Color is Your Parachute?
  • Learn more about yourself and your interests on a long, cheap vacation.
  • Volunteer to better the world in the Peace Corps and hope you find something you love.

There are certainly thousands of other ways to figure out what you should do, but one of these might work for you. My only guarantee is that doing something is better than doing nothing.

Don’t waste any more time complaining about your current job. Transfer that effort into figuring out what you do want.

The Hard Part is Over

Once you’ve finally determined what you want to do, you may need to acquire skills to qualify yourself to work in that position.

This may include taking out more student loans, moving back in with mom and dad, selling your fancy new car, and many other seemingly terrible financial implications. It may also be very challenging and you may need to work harder in school than you’ve ever worked before.

And it will all be worth it.

A few years of financial hardship is a piece of cake if you can be sure to place yourself in that 20% of people who actually enjoy their work.

Finally, you just need to find a job. This can take some time and may not be simple, but unless your chosen career is Broadway Star or Professional Football Player, the passion you have for doing something you love will certainly give you an advantage over 80% of the applicants.

Good luck Ivanka Trump, and good luck to any of you who are unhappy with your job. Remember, finding what you want to do is the first step in what may be the most important decision making process of your entire life.