Is Your Job a Joke?
If so and by this I mean a not-very-funny one at that where you do more crying on a Sunday night or raging every Wednesday at 5.25pm rather than laughing, then it is probably time for your Great Switch to a new career. Or company. Or industry. Or team.
Last's week's article was all about the Great Career Switch which we are beginning to see play out as unfulfilled, undervalued and frankly, p****d, employees are making the move to pastures new.
Some are choosing a complete career transition; they are retraining, setting up their own businesses, trialling secondments or even sabbaticals to give themselves time and space to discover what they really want to do at work.
Many have realised that it is time to move on and are therefore changing companies or even industries to get more job satisfaction and better rewards.
Those who are progressing their own 'side hustles' into fully formed businesses to gain an extra income or with a view to regain control of their working lives by doing it on their own terms. Bring on that Life Work Balance.
Which one are you?
And how do you Know when it is time to leave?
You may be have been toying with this question for a while now - it's one that many of my clients come to me with because they believe that they are incapable of making it. Or they know deep down yet feel they lack the courage to make such a change.
Note I have used the words 'believe' and 'feel' here - these are not facts for my clients but huge blocks in their way which we commonly refer to as limiting beliefs.
It was a big decision I struggled with for a long time before I went full-time with Kate Bishop Coaching
I was waiting for the 'right time' before I left a small yet steady income to run my business full time. I was waiting until I had a strong pipeline of clients coming, waiting until potential clients would be banging down my door in droves, until I knew I had 6 months of expenses covered. I would have been waiting a long time as there is never the 'right' time to make such a change - it never magically appears - you make it the right time by being brave and going for it.
There are few key questions you can ask yourself if you are struggling with this question:
What is causing your unhappiness at work? This may be obvious but keep asking this question until you reach that deep, underlying reason - the real ‘why’ as to how you feel. This will also ensure that you don’t repeat similar patterns in your next role.
How long have you felt this way about work? So many people state that they stayed in a company for too long as it is easy to keep giving it another chance but then find themselves still stuck 18 months later. For others, a knee jerk reaction to difficulties sees them jumping from one role to the next. This question will highlight to you if this decision needs to be made now or if you need more time to assess your situation. It may be that you need some time off to recover rather than completely leave.
What would happen if you stayed? It’s natural to think of all of the negatives here and for many clients it would be unthinkable to stay (bullying, harassment), however, if your main frustrations can be tackled and solved then it may be prudent to explore how to do this.
What would you sacrifice if you left? The quick commute? The family healthcare plan? Extra annual leave? A great boss? Friends? Essentially - is there enough of the good stuff to keep you there?
What would you gain in leaving? This is a more positive take on the above question and works a treat for people who have been with their current company for a long time. They begin to see that a fresh start has many benefits and is not as scary as initially thought.
Have you fully explored every option with your current employer? Clients often allow their negative thoughts and feelings to fester rather than be open with their employer. Sometimes they fear negative repercussions, however, more often than not by having an honest discussion their current situation can be improved enabling them to stay on and be happy.
Can you afford to quit? If you are moving to a similar role then ideally you want 3 - 6 months living expenses as a cushion whilst you look for another role. If you are making a significant career change which involves retraining or starting your own business then you will want at least 12 months worth of expenses and to ensure that your start-up costs are easily accessible. Get really clear on your financial situation and consider your current package when comparing with alternatives. Take expert advice from an IFA or accountant if you are not sure. Basically - don’t leave just because of salary!
Is now the right time to go? If you are facing an intolerable situation then you most likely have time to take things slowly. I retrained whilst I was still working before setting up my business and then worked part time until it was more established. Set a few deadlines of when you want to leave by and when you want to be in your next role so that you remain on track. However, don’t put yourself under any undue pressure.
How are you stopping yourself from making this decision? For most of us we know what to do - we have that ‘gut feeling’, however, our safe brains often get on our way (“it’s too much of a risk”) or our emotions stop us (“think of all of your friends at work”) This decision needs to work for you - now and in & for your future.
Only you can make this decision, however, you may find it useful to work with a career counsellor or career coach to help you navigate the leaving process and to decide what you want to do next.
To give you a head start on that process take a look at the following 3 key questions:
What do you want your life to look like and to have in it? Your job is a part of your life - it facilitates what you want to do. Or at least it should. If you are living way beyond your means then get some financial help asap. I always start with life first with my clients - we work to live not the other way around.
What do you really want to do? Ahh - the million dollar question! I spend a lot of time with clients focusing on this; assessing their values, their skills & strengths and what they want to continue to use in a different role, the lifework balance they wish to have - the life they want to create.
How does your new career idea fit with your life ideal? This is the question to see if it would work for you. Would a complete career transition be appropriate now? Can yo start & run your own business? Would a geographical move be in your favour?
Whether you are torn between staying or leaving, tussling with several career options or in need of a confidence boost to make that leap then it will be worth your time speaking with an expert career coach like myself.
Make sure you are choosing the right coach for you - they should challenge and support you in equal measure.
Oh - and it should be fun too!