Crossroads wrong career choice dreamstime xl 108983888 Pivotal HR Solutions Blog

How Many People Believe They Have the Wrong Careers — and Why?

In today’s dynamic and fast-paced world, many people find themselves questioning their career choices. A study conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of CNBC Make It in 2021 revealed that nearly half of older millennials approaching middle age wish they had chosen a different career path[1]. Another source suggests that a staggering 99% of people choose the wrong career path[2].

This blog post will delve into the latest research and trends on this topic, exploring why so many people believe they’re in the wrong career and providing insights on how to get your career back on track.

The Extent of Dissatisfaction With Career Choices

The aforementioned study by The Harris Poll in 2021 found that 47% of older millennials, aged 33-40, felt that they had made the wrong career choice. The reasons for this dissatisfaction vary, with some citing a lack of passion, insufficient financial rewards, or a desire for more work-life balance. While this study focused on millennials, career dissatisfaction is not exclusive to this demographic; people of all ages and generations can feel discontent with their career choices.

In addition to the 2021 study, there is other research to support these findings. A 2018 Gallup poll reported that only 34% of employees in the United States were engaged in their jobs, with the remaining 66% being either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” [3]. This widespread lack of engagement in the workplace further emphasizes the discontent that many people feel towards their careers.


success and failure can be a matter of career choices dreamstime xl 28793955 Pivotal HR Solutions Blog
Success and failure can often be a matter of career choices. Good HR Recruitment practices lead to fulfilling careers by helping candidates find the most rewarding career.


Reasons Behind the Dissatisfaction

Understanding the factors that contribute to dissatisfaction with career choices is crucial in addressing this widespread issue. In this section, we will explore some of the key reasons behind career dissatisfaction, ranging from a lack of passion and fulfillment to misaligned expectations and external factors. By shedding some light on these underlying causes, we can better comprehend the complexities of career discontent and develop strategies to help individuals find greater satisfaction in their professional lives.

Lack of Passion and Fulfillment

One of the primary reasons for dissatisfaction in career choices is the lack of passion and fulfillment that many people experience in their jobs. This may stem from the pressure to pursue careers that promise financial stability and societal approval rather than focusing on personal interests and passions.

Misaligned Expectations and Reality

Another reason people may feel discontent with their careers is that their expectations do not align with the reality of their jobs. Many individuals enter a profession with high hopes, only to be faced with the harsh realities of long working hours, high levels of stress, and minimal work-life balance.

Insufficient Financial Rewards

While financial rewards may not be the sole driver of job satisfaction, they do play a significant role. Many people feel that they are not compensated fairly for the work they do, which can lead to dissatisfaction with their career choices.

Limited Opportunities for Advancement

A lack of opportunities for growth and advancement can also contribute to career dissatisfaction. Employees who feel stagnant in their roles and have limited options for promotion or skill development may begin to question their career choices.

External Factors

External factors such as job market fluctuations, technological advancements, and economic downturns can also impact career satisfaction. These factors can lead to job loss or a decrease in demand for specific industries and roles, resulting in dissatisfaction with career choices.


Crossroads wrong career choice dreamstime xl 108983888 Pivotal HR Solutions Blog


How to Get Your Career Back on Track

Embarking on the journey to get your career back on track can be both challenging and rewarding. In this section, we will discuss practical steps and strategies to help individuals reassess their career choices, explore new opportunities, and ultimately find a path that aligns with their passions, interests, and strengths. By following these guidelines, you can take control of your career trajectory and move towards a more fulfilling and satisfying professional life.


The first step in getting your career back on track is to conduct a thorough self-assessment. Identify your passions, interests, strengths, and values, and consider how they align with your current career. Determine whether your dissatisfaction stems from external factors or a genuine misalignment with your career choice.

Research and Networking

Once you have a clearer understanding of your career goals, conduct research on potential career paths and industries that align with your interests and strengths. Networking can also provide valuable insights into potential career opportunities and help you build connections in your desired field.

Skill Development

Developing new skills and knowledge is crucial for transitioning into a new career or advancing in your current one. Take advantage of online courses, workshops, and certifications to enhance your skillset and make yourself more competitive in the job market.

Seek Professional Guidance

Career coaches and counselors can provide valuable guidance and support during your career transition. They can help you assess your skills and interests, identify potential career paths, and develop a plan to achieve your goals.

Create a Plan and Set Realistic Goals

Develop a concrete plan with realistic goals and timelines for achieving your career objectives. Breaking down your goals into smaller, achievable milestones can make the process less overwhelming and help you stay motivated throughout your career transition.

Be Patient and Persistent

Changing careers or getting your career back on track can be a challenging and time-consuming process. Be prepared to face setbacks and obstacles along the way and maintain a positive attitude and persistent mindset to overcome these challenges.

The Role of Employers in Promoting Career Satisfaction

Employers play a crucial role in promoting career satisfaction among their employees. By creating a supportive work environment and implementing strategies that prioritize employee well-being and growth, organizations can help reduce dissatisfaction and increase engagement among their workforce.

Here are some steps employers can take to support their employees in achieving greater career satisfaction:

Foster a Positive Work Culture

A positive work culture that values collaboration, communication, and inclusivity can help employees feel more connected to their work and colleagues. Employers should invest in team-building activities, encourage open communication, and promote diversity and inclusion initiatives within the organization.

Provide Opportunities for Growth

Offering employees opportunities for growth and advancement can contribute to increased job satisfaction. Employers should establish clear career paths, provide regular feedback and performance evaluations, and support employees in their professional development through training programs and mentorship opportunities.

Encourage Work-Life Balance

Promoting work-life balance is essential for employee well-being and satisfaction. Employers can implement flexible work arrangements, offer generous vacation policies, and provide resources to support employees in managing their personal and professional lives effectively.

Offer Competitive Compensation

Fair compensation and comprehensive benefits packages can significantly impact employee satisfaction. Employers should regularly review and adjust their compensation policies to ensure they remain competitive within their industry.

Reward Employee Achievements

Recognizing and rewarding employee achievements can boost morale and increase job satisfaction. Employers should establish formal recognition programs and celebrate employee accomplishments through awards, bonuses, or other tangible rewards.

By taking these steps, employers can create a work environment that supports employee satisfaction and helps minimize the likelihood of employees feeling that they have made the wrong career choice.


In conclusion, a significant number of people believe they are in the wrong career, leading to widespread dissatisfaction and disengagement in the workplace. The reasons behind this dissatisfaction include a lack of passion and fulfillment, misaligned expectations and reality, insufficient financial rewards, limited opportunities for growth and advancement, and external factors such as job market fluctuations and economic downturns.

To get your career back on track, it’s essential to conduct a thorough self-assessment, research potential career paths, develop new skills, seek professional guidance, create a concrete plan with realistic goals, and maintain patience and persistence throughout the process. By taking these steps, you can increase your chances of finding a career that aligns with your passions, interests, and strengths, ultimately leading to greater satisfaction and success in your professional life.







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