Previously in this Career Series we examined the 10 SIGNS THAT YOU NEED A CAREER INTERVENTION. In the post ‘WHY AM I UNHAPPY’ we then used The Wheel of Life tool to help you identify the root cause of dissatisfaction in your life. If after completing this tool you know for certain that it is your work that is the primary reason you are unhappy, then we need to examine why.
Before you even contemplate moving jobs you need to sit down and think about why you want to leave. We live in a grab and go, disposable world where we have come to believe that everything in life is disposable. But simply hopping from job to job because you are unhappy is a recipe for disaster. If you can’t get to the root of, and work through the problems in your current job, that dissatisfaction is absolutely going to follow you to your next job.
Here are the 10 steps that you must take before you throw in the towel:
1) What are the positives?
Jot down 10 things that you really enjoy about the job. If you’re currently very dissatisfied you will have a mental block at the start. But there is always something to be positive about so push yourself to get to 10. If you need a kickstart, think back to times that you felt really happy, engaged, motivated etc.
2) Define those negatives!
Feeling stressed and dissatisfied creates a dark cloud in your mind. As consuming as that cloud can feel it is of no benefit to you. You need to clear that cloud away and get clarity on the situation. Jot down the main things that you dislike about the job. For this point just write down whatever comes naturally.
3) Keep going!
Keep writing until you get all of that dissatisfaction out of your system! No matter how long the list is, you won’t be able to move forward until you have cleared away that cloud. You’ll know when to stop because you will feel that physical relief of getting everything out of your system.
4) Remove all Emotion
It is only natural that your negative list might include a lot of emotive wording such as ‘I hate x’, ‘I feel so x’, ‘I’m so tired’ etc. Go down through each negative point and elaborate on each point with a WHY – Eg. Expand ‘I’m so tired’ with ‘because of X that is happening on X project’. Get down to the granular detail of what projects/aspects of the job are causing each problem. You now have a list that you can actually work with.
5) Own It
This is a really hard one and prepare for your ego to get in the way! I now want you to write next to each point whether or not you have contributed to that result in some way. For example if one of your points is being overworked, ask yourself really honestly, am I a yes person? Did I agree to take on more than I should have? Did I say anything when extra work was being pushed on me? We often go through life feeling like everything is happening to us, forgetting that we are in the driving seat! So be honest, think about how you may have somewhat contributed to that point by what you did or didn’t do or say!
6) Examine the List
Stand back and examine the list. Do you have a lot of positives? Are the majority of the negatives points one that you have in some way contributed to? If so there is huge potential for you to turn the situation around.
If your negatives points were not workplace rants but instead were related to the actual work itself and the lack of challenge and engagement, then you may very well need to move on to a more challenging role. This may be a different or more advanced role within the same company or it may be because you should be doing something very different.
7) What do you Want?!
Before you have any conversation with your employer you need to figure out what you want. Your employer is not a counsellor and nobody is going to set you on the right path except yourself. We must all have a clear career direction or goal in our minds. There is no point leaving a job if you have no idea where you want to go! You need to start with the end goal in sight and then every move you make is getting you closer to that goal. In my next article I will equip you with the tools to establish what you really want to do and how to really live what you love.
8) Do Your Research
There is no point jumping into the fire just to get out of the frying pan! The grass always looks greener on the other side so before you look to move roles, understand exactly what the day job entails. You should never accept a new role if your sole purpose is to get out of the old role! You will most likely end up right back where you started.
9) Talk to Your Employer
Having seen both sides of the fence, it is very unfair to an employer to hear that you are dissatisfied for the very first time when you are handing in your notice with another job already in hand. Even if you think that they must be aware of how unhappy you are, think again! When someone is consumed with their own job, they are often completely oblivious to what is going on around them. So be fair. You have to give people a chance to make things better, the same way you would want to be given that chance.
The way that you talk to your employer is crucial to the outcome that you are going to get. In the next article we will examine how to have a successful career or grievance conversation.
10) Consider Outside Factors
When doing this exercise be aware that there might be other factors in your life that are affecting your job. If we are going through something very upsetting personally, we may try to redirect that upset and blame on our job. When we feel that we have lost control in some area of our lives due to a relationship break up, bereavement etc, moving job might make you feel like you are gaining back some of that lost control. That would certainly be a clear example of leaving for the wrong reason! So if you are going through a traumatic time in your life, you need to take time and work through that, with the help of a professional if necessary. Never make any big life decisions when you are not in your right state of mind.
If you have found this career exercise useful I would love to hear from you. Please continue to follow this Free Career Series in order to equip yourself with the tools and techniques that you need to get from where you are now to where you want to be.