February is often touted as the month of love. On the personal front, it’s the month where cupids and romantics worldwide unite to hype up hooking up and being loved up. On the career front, it’s the month where the love for what we do in our jobs and work starts to wane. The enthusiasm for keeping the New Year’s resolutions falls to the wayside. With the hope of a fresh start and things being different, there’s the realisation not much has really changed since the year before. The grim thought that the year isn’t living up to the expectation we created means there isn’t much love to be found.
It appears we have reached a tipping point in Australia with less than half of Australian workers happy with their jobs. 1 That’s a lot of people not feeling the love for something they could be spending more than half their waking hours doing.
If you fit into this bucket of lack of desire and are pondering the path ahead, considering changing jobs, or even planning ditching the 9 – 5 lacklustre routine, here are some things to consider.
Explore Your ‘Why’
It helps to have some clarity around your career objectives, purpose and direction. That confirms what’s important to you and can drive the development of clear career ambitions and goals.
Take some time to reflect, dig a bit deeper and go beyond the surface of feeling disgruntled.
Ask yourself the question, ‘Why’? Are you achieving your ‘Why’ and purpose in life? To answer this consider where you are now and where you want to be. Why are you doing what you are currently doing? What is important to you? To what extent are things like wealth, health and family important? What are the things that will make you happy?
Being clear on your ‘Why’ can help to assess if your requirements are being met in your current job and provide an indication of whether something needs to change.
Define Your Brand
Too often we associate the concept of brand with a big corporation. When we work for a large corporation in particular, it’s easy to describe and define ourselves based on the job title we are given and what the corporation represents. The danger with this is that it prevents us from developing a personal identity.
What are you and who are you without the job title? What do you stand for and represent as an individual as opposed to an employee? Go on, be a bit selfish, it’s about you. What does this self-discovery of ‘Brand You’ tell you?
It’s easy to go with the flow, and allow your brand to be moulded to fit that of the corporation. You can abide by their rules and find a definition of you that fits the definition of the perfect employee. Or you can create your own mould and be better for it.
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” George Bernard Shaw
Do you have an element of freedom where you currently are to create you?
When I broke free from the corporate shackles and quit being an employee to follow my own path in my career, I realised the importance of personal brand. I was behind the eight ball in developing my personal brand. I should have paid attention to developing it as an employee. It wouldn’t have done any damage even if I had decided to continue as an employee. It just may have meant aligning myself instead to an organisation that saw me as a person, not a job title.
Assess Your Strengths
Are you being given the opportunity to utilise your strengths in your current role?
Many corporations spend so much emphasis on identifying weaknesses and forcing employees to fix their shortcomings with the hope this will fix productivity and results. The reality is we aren’t good at everything.
The positive psychology school of thought supports the focus on strengths. When you apply your strengths, you are more productive and get better results. Focusing on something that is a strength or what you are good at will drive fulfilment, motivation and enjoyment. It makes sense. Spend more time doing the things you are good at and you will feel happy about yourself. This also includes spending less time trying to rectify or improve your so-called weaknesses.
When you know your strengths, it’s easier to ensure your future career endeavours align to what you are good at and what you enjoy.
Recognise Your Hurdle
What’s currently holding you back in changing careers or leaving your job? Is it fear? Is it self-doubt? Have you become comfortable with being comfortable?
Is it the thought of change and the consequences and risks that come with change?
When it comes to making a change, there is never a right time and you will never be ready. Some people take the easy path and push back, putting the idea on hold, waiting for the right day. For some, that right day never comes. Waiting for the right time won’t help. Waiting until next year won’t help. Waiting for someone else or something else or a magical moment to initiate a change in circumstances won’t help.
Whatever your hurdle, just taking some action, even the smallest steps help. Achieving results comes from taking action, being consistent and being persistent. Achieving results also comes from taking risks and being open to failure.
Find Your Sounding Board
When there are things that don’t seem quite right in your career, it always helps to share your thoughts with a trusted colleague, friend or mentor.
This ‘sounding board’ can help with clarity around the issue(s) and the next steps to take. They can ask the hard-hitting questions to find the source of dissatisfaction.
With an interest in your growth and development, a ‘sounding board’ can take the time and be honest in giving you any feedback and advice, and hold you accountable when decisions are made and next steps planned.
A ‘sounding board’ who is a couple of steps ahead or is already doing what you want to be doing in the coming years will have a wealth of expertise and experience to share.
Ultimately, they can also help with providing additional motivation to take action.
As another month of love draws to a close, is it time to consider getting out of the comfort zone in the quest to find career love? Perhaps leaving the 9 – 5 altogether is the answer to rekindling the love?
1. Blatchford, E 2016, Less Than Half Of Aussies Are Happy With Their Job, According To Survey, The Huffington Post Australia, viewed 19 February 2017, http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/03/22/hate-my-job_n_9519688.html