If you find yourself daydreaming at work and your thoughts turn to a new job, you are not alone.
About two-thirds of working adults surveyed spend literally every second of every day wishing they could be at a different job, according to an August survey from Monster.com.
The reasons are simple. You could be bored because you’re underemployed and don’t find your work challenging enough. You might have a toxic workplace or a difficult supervisor.
Perhaps changes at your company mean it’s no longer a good fit. “Maybe [your company] changed the policy on working remotely, which can impact so many things, like child care,” said Vicki Salemi, career expert at Monster.com.
The very fact that you’re spending a lot of time at work thinking about a different job is a tipoff that something is wrong. “If you are really busy and engaged on the job, you don’t have time to daydream,” Salemi said.
Daydreaming is a sign that you’d like something to change. There’s nothing wrong with it, but make sure you don’t spend too much time in this mode.
Instead of getting stuck in a rut of job unhappiness, treat it as an opportunity. “There is a better job out there,” Salemi said.
The first step is to make time for introspection.
“Figure out what is specific about your daydreams,” Salemi said. Do you want a different location, or specific job or change of industry?
Make a list of the things that cause dissatisfaction on your current job and your dream list of specifics in a new position. “Write down those elements,” Salemi said. “I want to work from home two days a week. I want a boss who will let me run with projects. Create that picture of your awesome dream job.”
Your resume should have your most recent accomplishments.
“Instead of living in fantasyland, apply ASAP to jobs you’re interested in,” Salemi said. “Let’s say you updated your resume a month ago and you just worked on a new project. Make sure your resume reflects and be ready to apply that day.”
When you see a job listing, you never know where a recruiter is in the interview process. It may already be several weeks or months along. “Assume it’s going to be filled immediately,” Salemi said. Have your resume and cover letter tailored for the specific job ready to go.
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“Get a sense for the listings that match up with your dream job,” Salemi said. “How does your dream job compare with the jobs that actually exist?”
Look for patterns in the job descriptions to see the required skills and experiences.
“Typically, employers list them in order of importance in descending order, so you can focus on honing your skills in areas that are most coveted by employers for your next job,” Salemi said.
Networking is a relationship you build over time.
To build your circle of contacts, remember that you’re not looking to get hired immediately. Reach out to people whose companies you might want to pursue, and ask them for advice.
Look for the things you might have in common with someone, whether it’s an alma mater, an organization you both belong to or a common interest.
Research an organization you’re interested in. “It’s actually ideal if there are no current openings,” Salemi said. “There’s no pressure, so you can contact this person to say you’re curious about their company and would like to learn more. Then, you follow up.”
“You want to offer something to them when possible,” Salemi said. “[It could be] insight into your company or industry. Ask if there is something you can help them with.”
It’s sad how many people dream about being somewhere nearly every working day. “Life is too short to be stuck in a job you don’t like,” Salemi said. “Realize that many fantastic jobs are waiting for you. You might feel like you’re in prison, but you’re not.”