DJHP / Careers
If you’re just surviving at work, here are some ways to get your head out of the sand and personally thrive while looking for a new position.
Face the Facts
It’s amazing how many people are dissatisfied in their everyday worklife.
In a recent presentation, Jeffry Brown, President of Global CashSpot reminded his audience that 80% of employees report being unhappy. That today people work 164 hours longer than 20 years ago. That the average person spends 90,000 hours on the job over a lifetime, and that less than 55% of that time is productive.
Where are you on this workforce continuum of negative statistics? So much time spent at work – shouldn’t you feel challenged, grow your skills. even enjoy it?
If you don’t like your current employer, find your colleagues annoying, or do something that bores you to tears, you need to ask yourself why you’re staying put, how to make the most of it while you are there and then how to move on.
After answering that question, it’s probably time to starting looking for a new position. But don’t just bide your time until you find a new one. It’s a waste of valuable hours. Be proactive and put them to good use.
Go Beyond Survival
No matter what your age or life stage, there are three cornerstones to life planning that are necessary to create a better future. These include self development planning, life development planning, career development planning and — if you are a couple — couple’s life development planning.
While they intersect, most people fail to address each cornerstone individually so they end up with a wobbly, off-kilter foundation for their career and life.
If you are unhappy in your current job, rather than playing victim to your circumstances, use the time to work on the self-development cornerstone — your “inner” skills and your interpersonal skills — while looking for your next job. It’ll help you build more self-awareness and confidence during your job search while taking charge of your professional life on the current job. You’re worth it.
Look out for self-sabotage. When you’re unhappy at work, it’s easy to fall into self-destructive patterns, like sloppy performance, tardiness, or even talking back to higher-ups. These behaviors can quickly lead to the unemployment line. Watch your attitude at work. It’ll get back to the decisions makers, and you don’t want to be without a job before you find another one.
Mind your emotions. Just because you’re not currently in your ideal job it’s no reason to get down on yourself or to be disrespectful of others. Watch what you say to yourself about yourself. Inflicting shame or blame for coming into a job you don’t love is a slippery slope, and it’s counterproductive to not just sharpening your skill set but finding a new job. In short, don’t gossip or be negative; treat yourself kindly, stay adult, stay professional.
Role model your values. Role modeling your values is a lot like leading by example. You conduct yourself at work in a way that best reflects your values. Doing this can give you a stronger senses of your personal and professional goals and objectives. It’ll also make it much easier to identify potential employers who have values that align with your own, and working for an organization with similar values can improve your engagement at work. You’ll be a much happier employee.
Practice communication skills. Learning to effectively communicate under pressure is a critical skill in the workplace, so now’s the ideal time to add this particular talent to your repository. Learn to really listen by paying attention to what others are saying and not saying during a conversation. Sometimes, what’s left unspoken can tell you a lot about the actual meaning behind the words. Also, practice biting your tongue and work on your empathy — it’ll help you respond more effectively in stressful situations. Speak up in a positive, proactive way when input is invited.
Manage the content you share. Sharing has become almost habitual, owing largely to social media. Be aware of everything you share — both written and verbal. Ask yourself if what you’re about to communicate is important to your occupational pursuit. Managing the content you share doesn’t just safeguard you from sharing something you may regret, it also helps you create healthy boundaries in the workplace. This is yet another skill you can take with you to your next job.
Think proactively. People often think either proactively or reactively. The benefit of thinking proactively is that you think through ahead of time, which means you’re better able to adapt to the ups and downs inevitable in the workplace. You start to anticipate what lies ahead. You see the consequences of actions. This informs how you act toward colleagues and managers, which allows you to do what you say you’ll do. As a result, you’ve just sharpened the skill of accountability.
Observe a little self-care. Reassure yourself that your current situation is temporary. You will find a new job that’s better than the last one.
Developing and strengthening skills can be hard work, especially when you’re hoping to jump ship soon. But the time and energy you invest will show up in how you handle yourself on the work floor and when you finally walk out that door.
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Dr. Jan Hoistad
Dr. Jan Hoistad is passionate about helping individual professionals, career seekers, business owners, partners, and teams develop the skills necessary to achieve success and fulfillment in their occupational pursuits and personal lives.
A pioneer in the field of professional coaching, Dr. Hoistad has advised countless CEO’s, executives, business group heads, emerging leaders, partners, teams, and professionals in career transition and business development. She helps them dig deep, and sometimes loosen up, so they can start living by their values, finding their purpose, and achieving their professional and personal goals with intent and confidence.
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