New Year, New Career?
In mid-January, I received a phone call from a client whom I met for the first time in December. She called me from the carpark outside the company she works for. She’d been sitting there in her car for 20 minutes, dreading to go in.
“I can’t do it anymore. I can’t do another year of this! Every day, I drive for 90 minutes, work all day with a fake smile pretending I’m happy, then spend another 90 minutes in the car to get home. I’m embarrassed to admit this but when I get home I shout at my husband and kids. It’s not their fault! I’m so tired and I don’t know what to do,” she said.
When we met late last year, she told me she hated the long daily commute, she was being paid less than others in an equivalent role and frankly, the job was boring. But, it paid the bills, she’d been there a long time and it wasn’t worth changing jobs so close to Christmas.
I knew then her days in this job were numbered but she hadn’t reached the point where she was ready to leave. But when January rolled around, the thought of another whole year in the same predicament was too much to take.
Why do you hate your job?
In a previous article I hate my job, what should I do?, I explored research by the Australian National University, investigating the factors that lead to unhappiness at work.
The research suggested there are four main factors:
• Lack of control: minimal freedom to make decisions and exert influence.
• Lack of security: concerns about the future of the company and the job.
• Lack of pay: perceived unfairness in how performance is rewarded.
• Lack of complexity: simplistic work, little learning, and an under-utilisation of employees’ skills.
I think this research is interesting. But based on years of clients telling me what they hate about their job, I would add another two factors, which are:
• Having a poor relationship with your manager.
• Not playing to your strengths and doing what you’re good at doing
In my client’s case, the last two factors, lack of pay and lack of complexity, combined with a 3-hour commute left her feeling exhausted, unhappy and in her words, “really, really disappointed in myself”.
Understanding why you don’t enjoy your current job is the first step to figuring out what you want in your next job, because the last thing you want to do is repeat the same mistakes. I have seen many people make this mistake, where they have jumped to another pasture only to find the grass was not greener.
I recommend you write down a list of what bothers you about your current role (if you really hate your job, it should be easy). Then, categorise these issues using the five factors above, and add an extra one called “other” if it doesn’t fit these five categories.
Example 1: What do you hate about your job?
So, what job do you want?
Once you’ve realised what you don’t want in a job, you can start focusing on what you do want.
In my blog, What Career Is Right for Me? I provide detailed recommendations on how to find the right career for you. Essentially, it’s about combining your strengths with your preferences and strengths and weighing those up against your priorities. Every job has its bad days but if you’re driven by a higher sense of purpose, it’s easier to tolerate small set-backs.
Author and Senior lecturer in psychology, Steve Taylor, says finding purpose is key to feeling connected in your career.
“When you’re ‘in purpose’ – that is, engaged with and working towards your purpose- life becomes easier, less complicated and stressful,” said Dr Taylor.
Again, I recommend writing down your thoughts.
Sometimes, it can be hard to objectively see your own strengths. This is where assessment tools can help.
A good assessment tool should not only help you to discover what are you good at but also show you what you can actually do with those skills and personality characteristics.
There are many tools out there but as a professional career coach, my preference is the Career Navigation Report produced by Harrison Assessments which I use with my clients. This personalised and interactive assessment tool provides predictive insight into career enjoyment and career success by assessing 175 relevant factors and then compares the results with 650 careers.
Change Your Job, Change Your Life
Now that you know what you’re good at, what gives you purpose and what your priorities are, it’s time for action. You don’t want to be the person sitting in the carpark dreading to go inside. You deserve better than that.
Over the course of your career, it’s likely you will work approximately 84,480 hours. You will spend more time at work than you will with your family. That’s a lot of important time doing something you don’t love. It is almost insane to spend that much time doing something that doesn’t feel right.
As a career coach, I hear many excuses why people can’t change jobs, some of them valid but most are based on fear. Clients tell me:
• “This industry is all I know and I can’t leave”
• “What if my next job is worse than this one?”
• “What if I don’t fit in?”
It’s okay, I get it. Changing jobs is a big deal. But what are implications of staying in a job you hate?
Research conducted by Jonathan Dirlam and Hui Zeng from the University of Ohio shows job dissatisfaction in your 20s and 30s can have cumulative effects that impact your health in your 40s and beyond.
“The higher levels of mental health problems for those with low job satisfaction may be a precursor to future physical problems. Increased anxiety and depression could lead to cardiovascular or other health problems that won’t show up until they are older,” said Mr Zheng.
Once again, it’s time to write it all down. Consider the impact a new job would have on your wellbeing. It’s important to weigh up your fears with the possibilities a new job can bring.
Example 3: Should I stay or should I go?
I my blog ‘I hate my job, what should I do”, I outline how to make a plan to quit your job.
• How much money do you need to live on?
• Do you need to study or retrain?
• Updating your resume and LinkedIn profile.
• Asking for references or recommendations on LinkedIn from colleagues and customers before you leave.
• Drafting a thoughtful resignation letter. Tempting as it might be to give some feedback, avoid saying anything that might tarnish your reputation.
• Setting a date to hand in your resignation.
• Start “working” your network to see what opportunities are out there.
Ask for Help
Changing jobs is one of life’s major stressors. As well-meaning as they might be, friends and family aren’t trained to give you career advice.That’s where someone like me, a qualified career coach, can help you navigate the humps in your career. If you relate to any of the above then act now. I offer a free 45-minute career breakthrough conversation so you can assess whether my service is right for you. Click below and take the first step towards making 2019 your year for a new career.
• I hate my job, what should I do?
• What Career Is Right for Me?
• Know your Strengths and Find Your Perfect Career
• The jobs we hate and love the most
• The Power of Purpose
• Lousy Jobs Hurt Your Health by the Time You’re in Your 40s