At the end of the business year, we often reflect on the year that is ending and focusing on what’s happening in the year ahead. Business Objectives 2011.

You may have had a great year and hope that your hard work, dedication and results will pay off in a bonus, even if pay rises are no longer a given.

But what if you have had enough?

What if the joy in life seems to have gone?

What if the things you hate about your job are now greater than the reasons why you originally went into Medical Information/Pharmacovigilance/Whatever (delete as appropriate!)?

A regular stream of people I know quietly come to me and say

I’ve had enough.

What next? Fear, dread and longing to escape.

I have been there and moved onto to a far better place. I now love what I do and fully believe that anyone can do what they love too, with a strong enough will and belief in themselves. Pharma does not employ people without dedication and talent (well, not for very long!) so you can take that as a given.

  • What do you do if you’ve had enough?
  • Terrified that this is your life at the moment?

Here’s some ideas that I think will work for you (it’s certainly helped many people I know, including me!)

First. Give it time.

It may be that this is always a bad time of year for you. It’s winter, you’re overloaded with 2011 objectives, appraisals, development plans, budget cuts, phone cover for the holidays, Christmas presents to buy, cards to write and the delicate negotiations about where you spend Christmas Day. (Even I think I need to go and lay down when I think about that lot!).

Wait for a few months…. but when things are tough, think : what would I really want to be doing right now? Let’s take skiing or lying on a beach as the given – what would you want to be doing that would make you feel fulfilled?

Second. Buy a lovely notebook (or start a blog)

Buy a beautiful notebook. Treat yourself – your dreams and hopes deserve a beautiful notebook rather than a cheap A5 pad. Just let it all out. Your fears and frustrations will be the essential springboard that will get you through the hurdle of change. Once you’re releasing all that negativity, a small light will start to come shining through. If you want to start a blog – you can do it for free at Blogger (Google’s package) or wordpress.org. This is time to nuture and unleash your creativity.

Third. Surround yourself with positive people, ideas, thoughts.

You’re looking for the light at the end of the tunnel so make sure you are doing everything to see that light. I recommend checking out two people:
John Williams – author of bestselling book and website Screw Work Lets Play.
Nick Williams – Inspired Entrepreneur. who’s theme is “The work you were born to do”.
Although they both have great books, they have weekly email newsletters that can help inspire you. To make any change effect, you have to keep at it. Drip, drip, drip.
Make sure that every week something is happening that is keeping you positive. Ideas (try TED , exercise, art, films, friends. Anything. Each week I put up inspiring ideas, news and links on my Facebook page

Four. Save like crazy.

If your salary is essential to a family unit, plan an exit strategy and use your ideas to help you plan what you’re going to do by this time next year.
You’ll need to save six months salary, in case you want to go do something completely different. Worried about not earning so much?
Is your unhappiness costing you a lot of money?
Treats to help you feel good?
Retail therapy to forget the frustrations?

Five. Explore every idea.

It’s time to think back to when you were just starting out. What did you want to do then? Did you compromise on a dream to do a steady job?
What are your hobbies? Could they be an income stream that you can start doing now? Think working 5 – 9 now, rather than 9-5. Yes, there’s even is a book with that title (by Emma Jones). You first idea to pursue might not be the one that takes off but it will open you up to trying, failing then moving onto something else. When I first left AZ in 2006, I half heartedly tried consultancy but no jobs were coming in as I didn’t believe there really was a market. So I also tried out renting property as a side line. I rapidly realised two things. 1) I really do love Medical Information and the people who do it. 2) Renting properties was a game for someone else, not me. Someone handed me an opportunity to work on a great project (Thank you, Jayne) and business took off.

Six. Don’t give up too soon.

When you’re used to succeeding in life, a small failure can seem like a major setback. There is no such thing as failure, just feedback. Corny but make it your mantra.
Write it down in your notebook – what have you learnt? What will you do next? what did you do right and need to carry on doing? Time to regroup and rethink.

Finally – I wish you luck!

I can’t advise you what to do as you know that in your heart. But I can help encourage you to go for it, find someone who will help inspire, encourage and free you to go with your heart. It may be that you rediscover enthusiasm at work but equally it may be that you satisfy that part of you that is gradually being strangled in your current job

Our lives consist of stories. What do you want your story to be?
I put up with unhappiness as I need to make money?
I compromised what I loved to be successful at something that didn’t really matter?

Be brave.
Be strong.
Go with your heart (but take your brain with you).

You don’t have to fundamentally change everything.

It could be that you could;

  • take a career break
  • volunteer in your spare time
  • go part-time or job share
  • make your hobby into an income stream
  • work less hours and see your productivity rise and satisfaction soar
  • find a new interest – exercise, art, photography, salsa, anything!
  • Inspired you? Excited you?

I’d love to hear your story! Free free to comment (anonymously if you need) and share your ideas or story.