I have some shocking news for you, and I'm going to give it to you straight.
The average person spends 8.8 hours per day at work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in its most recent 2015 study. (And let's be honest, many of us work more.) We start working at about 21 years old and keep at it until at least 65. That's 44 years of work.
Translation: you will spend nearly 93,000 hours at work in your lifetime.
It's difficult to comprehend just how big that number actually is. Let me break it down for you.
The amount of hours you will be at work in your lifetime is equivalent to:
Attending 23,250 professional football games
Flying around the world 2,162 times on a Boeing commercial jet
Climbing Mount Everest roughly 187 times
Mastering 9.3 skills according to Gladwell's Outliers "10,000 hours" theory
So I ask you this, is it worth being in a job that makes you miserable? A job that stresses you out? A job that gives you the Sunday Scaries?
You will spend nearly 93,000 hours at work in your lifetime.
That's a gargantuan chunk of your life. So let's talk about how to land a job that makes you happy.
Make the firm decision that you want to find a new job. It can be a tough decision to leave your current role and land a new gig. The first step is to commit to the idea of switching roles. It's going to take research, preparation, and time to secure a position, so start out in the right mindset to tackle the process.
Identify your strengths. Think about what you like to do and what you're good at. Is there a certain task that people typically compliment you on after you complete it? If you don't know where to start, take this MAPP career quiz to get a sense for the types of jobs that may fit well with your interests, personality, and ideal work environment.
Research job openings. You can use websites like Monster and Indeed to see what's available. Be sure to utilize Linkedin's job listing section where several millions of positions are posted at any given moment. After reading a handful of jobs that pique your interest, take a look at the qualifications of ideal applicants and do a quick mental check: do you embody a portion of they're looking for? (A common misconception is that you need to "check all the boxes" on the job description. No way! If you do, then you're not choosing a job that will challenge you and allow you to learn new skills. You want to have some of the traits and experience with some room to grow.)
Polish your professional materials. Boost your chances of landing a job that makes you happy by improving your resume, cover letter, and Linkedin profile. Be proud of your accomplishments. Look polished when presenting your materials to HR Directors and recruiters. Feel confident tackling the job market. Focus on the value you bring to the table and how you're right for the job.
Apply, apply, apply! Get your professional materials out there to all the opportunities that interest you. You can use popular job sites, but don't forget to take advantage of your network. Connect with people who work at companies you're interested in. The more you put yourself out there, the greater likelihood you will land a job that makes you happy.
Sarah Sax is the founder of Write For The Job.