Is it the American dream or a shaggy dog story? As a highly paid corporate manager of information technology, Stacy was successful in her career but personally unhappy being a cog in a giant wheel. When a round of layoffs left her at leisure, she consulted a career counselor to help her make use of her real interests: an affection for animals and a desire to be self-employed. Instead of looking for another IT position, she started her own dog-grooming business. While it was a risky enterprise, she's ended up with more work than she can handle and plans to expand. "I didn't mind what I did before," she says, "but this is something I really love."
Considering the time and effort it takes, if our work isn't mentally stimulating or emotionally fulfilling, it's virtually impossible to live a satisfying life. And a job that's overly stressful is just plain unhealthful. Studies have linked job stress to everything from back pain to heart disease, says Thomas Pickering, M.D., director of the Behavioral Cardiovascular Health and Hypertension Program at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City. Are you ready to find work that's genuinely enjoyable? The first step is to believe that it's possible. Even if you can't make a complete career change--at least, not right away--you can take action to make your current situation happier and healthier. Here are solutions for three common career quandaries.
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