What level are your career issues really on?

So you're not happy with your job.  You know it.  Maybe your whole career isn't working out.

Usually, you're pretty sure what it is – your boss, the position, the company.  However I'd stand back a second and ask yourself this:

Are you sure of just what you're dissatisfied with?

I often find people are dissatisfied with their job on a different "level" than they expect.  They may be happy in a particular industry, but not like the position – but have soured on the industry they work in.  They may dislike an industry and figure it's the position.  They may even dislike a particular technology they have to use.

It's too easy to get our levels of dissatisfaction mixed up.  A small thing can make us dislike an otherwise ideal job, we can do the ideal job in an industry we dislike, etc.

This is a complicated issue, but one I think is important – especially in geeky jobs where we assume we'll love everything about our career.  Dissatisfaction's origin is not always obvious, and possibly isn't at the same "level" we think it is.

So if you're not happy, ask yourself if you're sure why you're not happy.  You may be looking too high or too low, and miss what's right in front of your face.

– Steven Savage