Kelly Poulson
Coach. Career Navigator. Ass Kicker. Dog mom.

Turning a job you hate into one you love sounds like a mythical tale. But it really is possible to make this kind of change — all you need is to be willing to put in the effort. You'll need to take action and advocate for yourself in order to make it happen. If you're up for the challenge, here's how to get started:

Take stock. Examine your existing job. Where do you spend your time? Break your day down into things you like and things you’re less than thrilled about. Figure out how much of your time is spent on each and keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to make changes within that framework. 

For instance, do you spend way too much time on tactical work when your heart belongs in strategy? It’s valuable to know that. Is there a small part of your job that you dread and procrastinate on so it takes hours at the end of each month instead of five minutes if handled daily? You might be making things harder on yourself than you need to. 

Find your happy. What motivates you? Take some time to think about what matters most to you and how your priorities play out in your day to day. Find the parts of your existing job that light you up and figure out why you like them. Recognize your strengths and what parts of the role you find most invigorating. Now, think about ways you can fill more of your days with that type of work.

Mix and match. Once you’ve taken stock of everything, brainstorm ways to spend more of your time on the strengths/passions/fun part of the role and less on the opposite end of the spectrum. Think about it all in terms of the tasks themselves, relationships and your perspective. 

Could this task be delegated or moved to another role within the organization? If you really love working with people, is there a way to morph some of the work you dislike into team projects with people who are outstanding? Have you really thought about the work that you’re doing and it’s impact? 

The way you view your work has more of an impact on how we feel than we often realize. Check this out as a solid example of how perspective comes into play. Now that you’ve done that thoughtful work, scope out what’s coming up next in terms of your projects and see how you can approach them with your fresh perspective. Understand your company’s goals. Be aware of these and the ways you can use your identified skills sets and spend more of your time happily achieving them. And helping others do the same. That will make any role changes easier to sell into your boss or anyone else from whom you’d need buy in. 

Keep killing it. All along, you should be working your hardest to deliver on all aspects of your current role. The good, the bad and the ugly. Make certain your manager knows you will be able to stretch and modify your role without skipping a beat. Performing your best will make your employers more willing to make adjustments to keep you happily engaged.

Share your passions. Tell people what you’re up to. Get support from as many folks as you can. Make it evident to those around you how helpful changes to your role will be to not only the organization but their lives as well.

It’s a real bummer to walk from a company that you like simply because you aren’t 100% engaged in your existing role. Take back control of your career. This is a simple exercise hoping to get you to a better place. Take a step back, breathe and give it a whirl. You’d be surprised how possible it is to mold your dream job.


Kelly is a human resources pro and coach who helps people find and achieve what they want career-wise and beyond. Coaching, training, recruiting – if you name it in the world of HR, she's done it in a variety of industries. Her advice has been featured on The Muse, Career Contessa, Levo, Workology, among others. Learn more by scoping her out at