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Agony Aunt: I Don’t Like My Job

by in Culture on 17th December, 2023

We know that Amaliah is like a Big Sis and sometimes our DMs have been filled with requests for advice on a range of life issues including relationships, friendships or work troubles.

We have started a new segment where we field dilemmas from the community and answer them as frankly as we can with love, truth and honesty.

Need some advice on a dilemma? Send them all here!

I entered the job market a year ago and I really don’t enjoy working at my current job. Don’t get me wrong, I know that everything has its pros and cons and the job isn’t the worst (I’m grateful that I even have a job to begin with), but I just really find myself getting demotivated when I think of continuing down this career path. I genuinely don’t like my job, but I also struggle to think of other jobs that I can take on with my degree considering that a lot of people who did my degree tend to do a PhD whereas I’m not sure I’m right for that kind of pathway. I know I shouldn’t do this, but I get really depressed when I think of how a lot of my friends in more “financial” or “tech” sectors have starting salaries which are way higher than what I’m getting paid currently. I’m also really worried because there’s no guarantee when my parents will retire (though they said it’s sometime soon) and I’m not confident that by the time they retire, I can help them out / myself financially. I try to remind myself everyday that rizq comes from Allah but at the same time, I can’t help but wonder if there’s something I should do more. I regret not doing university majors such as finance, economics, tech, medicine, or anything that generally “makes money” though deep down I also know that I won’t like doing any of those things as well as my career. I want to change my career path but it feels like I’ll have to start from 0 again and there’s things like visa issues that I need to think about. It feels like everyone knows what industry/sector they want to do/work in and I’m the only one who’s lost. I don’t know what to do.

Maya Areem Responds:

Salam alaykum, 

Firstly, thank you for reaching out and entrusting me with your thoughts. Navigating the uncertainties of your current job is no easy feat, and I want to acknowledge the challenges you’re facing. It’s entirely valid to find yourself questioning and seeking a more fulfilling path.

I’d like to reassure you that you’re not alone in feeling this way. Many people experience non-linear career paths and questioning our choices is a natural part of the process. Your acknowledgment of these feelings is a positive step towards aligning your career with the life you truly desire. The road to a fulfilling career is often filled with twists and turns. It’s perfectly normal not to have all the answers right now; you’re in a process of self-discovery, and that’s something to be celebrated. 

While true that a career change can seem daunting, it’s never too late to pivot. Here are a few career change resources you can explore: 

It’s also understandable that seeing friends in different sectors earning more can be challenging. I recently listened to a podcast which spoke about how envy can guide you towards what you truly want. Channel this energy – if they can achieve it, so can you. 

You can try reflecting on what truly inspires you. It’s possible that your degree, though not a perfect fit with your current role, has equipped you with versatile skills. It’s important to remember that you are not starting from scratch, you’re starting from wisdom.

I would also advise you to gain inspiration from others’ career journeys on platforms like LinkedIn – witnessing diverse paths might bring hope and motivation to you. In ‘The Artist’s Way’, a book by Julia Cameron, there’s a powerful message on discovering your path: “Sometimes we block ourselves with thoughts of being too old or not having time.” 

Approach this season as an exploration. Say yes to new opportunities, increase connections, and meet people for coffee. Setting a ‘I am going to say yes and try everything I can over 3 months to shift careers and explore’ mindset can build momentum and turn your journey into an inspiring exploration.

Now, let’s break down the steps to help you on this journey:

  • Self-Reflection and Career Assessment: Take a gentle moment and reflect on the skills that not only bring you joy but also those you’ve honed and found happiness in developing. Also consider aspects of your job that you like or that don’t resonate with you. Use this self-discovery to guide your career toward your passions and values.
  • Skill Development: Assess the skills required in the industries or sectors you are interested in. Identify any gaps in your skill set and explore opportunities for professional development. Online courses, workshops, or certifications can be valuable in enhancing your qualifications. 
  • Networking: Reach out to professionals in the industries you’re curious about. Networking is not just about jobs; it’s about building relationships, gaining insights, and possibly stumbling upon some golden opportunities. Conduct informational interviews to deepen your understanding of different career paths.
  • Transferable Skills: Recognize transferable skills gained from your current job and degree, such as communication, problem-solving and project management. Highlight these strengths as they are often applicable across different industries, making you more attractive to employers in various fields.
  • Financial Planning: Financial concerns can be truly overwhelming when contemplating a career change. Assess your financial situation, explore supplemental income opportunities, and create a budget for the transition period. Consider consulting with a financial advisor for personalised guidance. 
  • Set Incremental Goals: Remember, this is a journey, not a race. Break down your career change into manageable goals. Setting incremental milestones can make the process less overwhelming and allow you to track your progress. Celebrate small victories along the way. 
  • Seek Guidance from Career Counsellors or Mentors: Professional guidance from career counsellors or mentors can provide valuable insights and support. They can offer advice tailored to your unique situation and help you make informed decisions. 

I understand you will also be supporting your parents and are right in believing that rizq comes from Allah. That belief, along with your parents’ du’as and your intention to support them will guide you through the next steps. 

8 Duas for Wealth, Provision, Debt Relief & Other Money Problems | Amaliah 

This is your journey towards self-discovery and growth. Your path may not be as linear as others, but that doesn’t make it any less valuable or meaningful. Each step you take, no matter how small, contributes to your personal and professional development. Keep an open mind and continue exploring until you find a path that resonates with you. 

May Allah make it easy for you and open doors to insurmountable opportunities. Ameen

Love + duas, 

Aunt Maya

If you would like some wisdom from Aunt Maya, send in your problems here! Please note Aunt Maya may consult the opinion of others from time to time and ask the Amaliah community for their advice too. Aunt Maya is not a licensed therapist or mental health professional.

Maya Areem

Maya Areem

Maya is a teacher by day and student by night. She hopes to pass on what she learns.