ASK THE DOC: ‘My current career is sucking the joy out of my life’

Dr Eddie gives some valuable advice

Dr Eddie Murphy


Dr Eddie Murphy


ASK THE DOC: ‘My current career is sucking the joy out of my life’

ASK THE DOC: Dr Eddie helps a reader who says; ‘My current career is sucking the joy out of my life’

This week, Dr Eddie hears from a reader who has lost his passion for his chosen career.

Dear Dr Eddie,

I am married to my best friend Mary and we have four wonderful and healthy young children between 10 and one.

Both our parents are alive and live local to us. My wife, children and parents mean everything to me and when times get tough I remind myself of what I have.

However, I have no passion or desire for the career path I have chosen in construction. I don’t want to waste a minute longer feeling miserable and trapped in this career.

It’s a stressful environment and it drags my mood down. The shame of packing in a career I've worked hard in for the last 20 years keeps me here.

I am a very conscientious person by nature but care less in the last year about issues in work. I think this could relate to me exercising more by accident in the last year.

Recently, I learned that there’s more to life than work. I have completed my education to a masters level in and have extensive experience in project management.

I have been so focussed trying to acheive targets for the last decade with my employer in a tough environment that I have limited myself to what else I could do for a living. I don’t have an interest in construction any more. The biggest stumbling block is in my head and what to do next, which I have been pondering on for a long time. I have promised myself this weekend that I'm not going to remain stuck in this rut for much longer as I want and need to be happy and contented again.

I am a calm, quiet, non-materialistic person who likes to help people and likes to make other people laugh. I have put my mind through a lot over my adult life, mainly as a result of work stress, and have felt in recent years maybe training in helping other people deal with these situations is one my life purposes?

Ironic really!

I could probably include a lot more detail but the above snapshot gives a quick insight as to who I am and the conundrum I have at hand.

I hope you get a chance to read this, and if it’s the case you feel you could help me, Dr Eddie, I would greatly appreciate it.



Dear Sean,

Breathe. 'No rushed decisions' is my first thought. Let’s take it step by step and slowly.

With my clinical hat on I would first like to be totally sure that sustained stress has not led to a depression and that your decision is coming from this place.

I don’t think it is, but I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t raise it. Big decisions coming from such a place need to be thoroughly worked through.

Project Sean

I would call on you to use your project management skills and see this as a two year project, minimum.

You need to manage your way out of this. Projections, planning, execution and controlling play a key role before you jump.

You don’t want to do a big jump in the planning phase.

From what you are saying, your current work is sucking the life out of you. Given that you have endured almost 10 years in the hardest-hit area of the economy you are only coming up for air now. When it comes to this type of job change , looking at the pros and cons are so important.

Have you discussed this with you wife? You have four young children as well, so planning is so important.

Would a prospective new career give you the income that you want for you and your family?

If you have identified areas for helping others, have you considered careers in social work, counselling, nursing or medicine.

Key Questions

Do you like indoor work or outdoor work? Do you mind working shifts? Do you like to work independently or part of a team? Is time off important? Is matching your children’s holidays important? Is security important?

You have maths skills, and there is a shortage of maths teachers. Have you looked at this career, which is stable, with good time off and matches your children needs?

I would recommend that you go to your local Adult Education Information and Guidance Service for a consultation. It’s a free service provided in each county by the ETB, the Education & Training Board.

I would recommend attending a life coach with broad skills and experience in changing jobs and personal goals.

If it was simple, everyone would do it

Ditch the shame of changing, as this is only a shackle holding you back. This is a decision for you and your wife only, not others.

Most people have over eight jobs in their working careers now. Change is the norm.

As a psychologist, I have met people from hundreds of varied and interesting jobs and often have assisted their transfer — eg the construction worker to a guard or carer to teacher, or IT coder to farmer. I always start with establishing what would be your passion.

Now, it’s not as clear cut as you think. The teacher who wanted to be an actress, but realised there is minimal work in acting, ended up following her passion as her hobby. Could you keep working in your job and pursue your hobby more via night courses etc?

Yet I think that is not a route for you, Sean. Have a think about teaching, primary or secondary. I have a hunch it could be for you.

Dr Eddie Murphy runs a psychological and counselling service in Portarlington, Co Laois. If you are organising a speaker or training for school, community, voluntary, sporting or work groups, call Dr Eddie on 087 1302899 or go to dr.eddie.murphy.psychologist