My Experience With Career Dissatisfaction

Ella Gregory Cocos Tea Party

I’ve been debating whether or not to write this post, because I hate to structure a story around a negative. But I feel like there’s so much value in honesty. So, here’s the truth: I’m currently experiencing a wave of career dissatisfaction.

For me, there are a few factors that have lead up to this point… For one, I’ve been blogging for 13 years in total (!!!), and it’s been my full-time job since late 2011. That’s a long time to do anything, so it’s only natural for there to be ups, downs and dips in motivation.

I also turn 30 next year, and I’m currently going through my Saturn return, so clearly I’m at a key point of transition.

But, beyond these two very personal factors, I also think that the blogging and social media industry has, for the most part, become a stifling and somewhat-unsettling environment.

The Instagram Issue

Everywhere I turn within the “influencer” community I’m hearing similar stories from my friends and peers. They’re tired of chasing likes on Instagram, and measuring their worth in numbers (numbers that, let’s face it, no longer mean much, because it’s so easy for people to inflate their follower counts).

There is such a huge appetite for the industry to revert back to content that provides substance, point of view, personality and authenticity. Yet little seems to be changing. And everyone’s content has started to look the same (tea outside Peggy Porschen, time-lapse videos of people getting dressed, etc).

So I’m starting to question whether there’s still room for me to grow and thrive within this space.

(FYI, the fact that I’m privileged enough to be in a position where I can make a living via social media, and then complain that it’s not fulfilling enough, is not lost on me. And a part of me feels incredibly guilty and ashamed for feeling this way.)

Ella Gregory Cocos Tea Party

What comes next?

I can’t imagine that I’d ever stop blogging and podcasting altogether. But I’ve now reached the point where I want (and need) something else to occupy 40-50% of my workweek.

I’m ready for the next chapter of my career to begin. The only problem? I’m struggling to define exactly what that chapter will look like…

When it comes to ideas and inspiration, I currently feel completely paralysed. There are lots of things that I’m passionate about, but nothing is currently calling out to me (or, if it is, my brain is in such a tangle that I’m unable to hear it). And the more I try to force a lightning bolt moment of clarity, the more confused I become.

A few weeks ago I was reading Busy Philipps’ book, and in one of the final essays she writes about a point in her career when she became completely disillusioned by Hollywood and the auditioning process. She was just about ready to throw in the towel, but then a SoulCycle class switched her mindset. Busy writes:

One day, in SoulCycle, as I was sitting on my bike, my favourite trainer Angela started talking about being grateful in the waiting room. “I’m not saying you haven’t been in the waiting room before!” she yelled at us as we peddled away, “I’m not saying that you don’t deserve to skip the waiting room altogether. But here you are! And you need to be GRATEFUL in that WAITING ROOM! BECAUSE THAT DOOR IS ABOUT TO OPEN AND IF YOU ARE NOT SITTING THERE IN GRACE, YOUR NAME WILL NOT BE CALLED! BE GRATEFUL IN THAT WAITING ROOM!!!”

So that is what I’ve decided to do, for now: be grateful in the waiting room, and sit tight until the next chapter is ready to begin. Here’s hoping a bright idea isn’t too far away…

Have you also experienced a period of career dissatisfaction before? Did it lead to a change in direction, or did you ultimately find your mojo again?  Or are you experiencing similar struggles right now, and feeling equally as confused? Share your stories in the comments section below… 

Photos by Kylie Eyra

HAVE YOUR SAY

  1. I loved this post Ella and totally relate on the instagram piece and it stifling my creativity and goals.

    We definitely need to get back in our coffee and chat about this 🙂

    Mel x mediamarmalade.com

    • Ella Gregory says:

      It’s nice to know I’m not the only one feeling this way, Mel! Although sorry to hear you’re experiencing it too.

      And, yes, I’ll DM you about coffee xx

  2. Vanessa says:

    I’ve been an avid blog reader (and blogger) for the better part of 15-20 years (remember LiveJornal??). To this day, I read blogs daily through Bloglovin and I consider it my way of starting my day – just like some people will read the newspaper to start theirs.

    Instagram literally means NOTHING to me. Over time it’s become such a drain and a platform that promotes a completely unrealistic way of living your life. It breeds negativity and I want absolutely nothing to do with it. I honestly don’t understand why bloggers rely on it so much. Why? Because it brings in a lot of money? So what? You can find other ways to make up that source of lost income if you delete it.

    • Ella Gregory says:

      Hi Vanessa! Wow, you’re such an early adopter.

      And do your point about why bloggers rely on it so much… Most brands will no longer pay for blog content, and just put their budgets into Instagram. Which means that most full-time bloggers now have to support themselves purely from Instagram campaigns (along with any other side projects they might have). So for me the challenge is finding another revenue stream that I can have *instead* of Instagram, which would also allow me to blog as much as possible.

  3. Michelle says:

    I really resonated with this post Ella. Around two or three months ago I was beginning to feel a little confused about my career path and my goals. I’m a copywriter, specialising in copy and content for fashion and lifestyle businesses and running it as my own business. Particularly in this age where so many people are striking out on their own, I can’t stop feeling as though there just isn’t room for us all (there is!), and as if my little space is being taken over. And yes, totally agree with you on the Instagram issue. Feeling like I need to assess my goals and focus on that darned app…

    Michelle / Daisybutter

  4. Marta says:

    I feel like I can’t really talk much about the subject because I’ve never really had a career but blogging has probably been the thing I’ve been doing for the longest time and sometimes I do feel a bit down. It’s not something that drives income so for me, taking a break was always easy and I always felt better when coming back but if blogging is your job, it can be different. I totally agree with the whole Instagram thing, I love taking pictures and currently my Instagram is on hiatus and I constantly feel unsure if I want to go back or not. I want to do it because I enjoy it but I also know that I’ll care about likes and followers and that once those numbers start to lower down I’ll feel pretty low. I’m sure time will bring you something beautiful to work on so always hold your head high and I’m definitely gonna be using that waiting room analogy more often, it’s amazing. I wish you the best.

    • Ella Gregory says:

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Marta! And it is such a brilliant analogy, isn’t it? I think it’s so interesting that you’re taking a hiatus from Instagram (I hope to be able to do that one day).

  5. Hi Ella! I absolutely appreciate your honesty and transparency by sharing this with us.

    I think it is normal to feel this way, irrespective of what career we have, which is what the Maslow hierarchy of needs theory is all about.

    I hope the feeling will dissipate and you’ll get some sparkly bright ideas soon, but if you ever fancy a chat, feel free to reach out. Sometimes getting views from someone who’s entirely independent/ not an insider in a particular industry can be helpful. x

  6. Masha says:

    I cannot tell you how much I relate to this at this point in my life. I know that my current role is not right for me and I know there is something out there that is, but currently I am definitely in the waiting room hoping it all comes together in a cohesive way. It is really hard to just sit there and hope that your name is called without questioning why you have to wait so long in the first place but I think this is the part where the real growth happens. In a lot of ways this is the hardest and most critical part of the journey. Thank you for sharing. Right there with you girl.

    • Ella Gregory says:

      Hi Masha. I’m sorry to hear you’re going through a similar experience at the moment too, and I hope you don’t have to spend too much longer in the waiting room. It’s very unnerving to sit with so much confusion, but I think it is just a big growth process (like you say), so I can’t wait until we both come out on the other side!

  7. Estranged says:

    Amazing post, thank you so much for sharing Ella! I was pretty unhappy with my career and other aspects of life in general about two years ago. My bestie had moved to another city, I had lost any joy in doing my job and I felt really low in general. It was then that I made a decision to quit my job, move to London to do a post-grad degree and to transition to a different career afterwards.

    I am now in the middle of my degree and enjoying every minute of it – definitely the best decision I have ever made. I have a job offer waiting for me when I graduate this summer and once again I’m able to feel excited about things.

    I hope you discover your next chapter soon and would love to read more such posts on your blog – judging my the comments your experience clearly resonates with many viewers and it’s always reassuring to know you’re not alone in these situations.

    • Ella Gregory says:

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment, and for sharing your story. It’s so inspiring to hear that you made that big change, and are enjoying every moment of it! Congratulations on the job offer too.

      And it’s been really interesting to read the comments in this thread, and see that this is such a universal experience.

  8. Hellen says:

    Good for you. You are too young to say this is it. Plenty of challenges, creativity and experiences to have in a long career. Do what feels right and sometimes courage is required to make a leap of faith. Never sell yourself short or compromise your values.

  9. Flic says:

    I think this is SO normal and just wanted to send a hug, because it can be really unsettling! Grace and peace are definitely required… I find getting creative elsewhere can help, maybe try a new hobby or learn a new skill to spark your creative juices in the meantime?

    • Ella Gregory says:

      Thank you Flic! At the moment I’m trying not to force myself into coming up with answers, and am just hoping ideas will flow to me whilst I’m doing other things. I’ve been doing a lot of yoga lately haha

  10. Anna says:

    Just wanted to say that I very much sympathise – I just hit 36 and have been in my career for about 15 years and trying to figure out what is next. Some really good advice I got was to write down on index cards what I have been good and not good at in the past, and what I have enjoyed and not enjoyed. And to get others to input as well. And then to play around with the cards to see what resonates and to get an idea of what I’d like my next role to look like. I’m at the beginning of the progress but I already find it’s been good for getting out of that mindset where everything is just spinning in my brain and I’m feeling stuck!

    • Ella Gregory says:

      Thanks so much for that suggestion Anna! I’m definitely going to try this next time I’m brainstorming or journalling in an attempt to find answers.

      And I hope you’re able to figure out your next steps very soon. Good luck!

  11. Michelle says:

    Hi Ella,

    I think this is a very normal feeling, but probably made more difficult because working in social media affects more of your life. There is no home time and no switch off form work.

    I go through phases of feeling the same at my job, I work in pharmacy and have done for the last 15 years. Sometimes I absolutely hate it and others it’s ok. For me through I try to think of it just as my job and try not to let it define me. When I go home, my work phone is off and I don’t think about work. Recently I’ve put a lot of effort in to building my life and identity outside of work

  12. Good evening, a note to tell you that I love your blog, so I do not deprive myself! Thank you for all the work that it represents and for all the pleasure that I find there.

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