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Being stuck in a bad job is like being stuck in a bad marriage. In both cases, we most likely do this by choice. In either situation, it is not an easy decision to gain courage and start anew. There are just way too many "what ifs" that interfere with making the only right decision. And that is to break out of your miserable situation where you feel shackled by fears, pain, and suffering.
Making a change and breaking out of your personal prison is possible with proper planning.
In my career, I’ve coached a lot of clients and employees and helped them through the dark times of uncertainty. These clients varied in age, gender, race, sexual orientation, education, and experience levels, so it is definitely not an issue pertaining to a certain cohort.
“Never too old, never too bad, never too late, never too sick to start from scratch once again.”- – Bikram Choudhury
Challenge your approach to making a change. The old way that got you where you are now is obsolete.
When we are put in a situation at work or in personal life where our values clash with reality, we suffer. Many of us choose to tough it out and stick with “it” for the time being. Only a few challenge the situation and question if keeping a status quo is going to bring long-term satisfaction.
When my clients are looking for a resume writing and LinkedIn profile updates assistance, I usually ask, “I see that you are looking to update your resume, what is your story that led you to me?” The answers vary, but the majority fall into these 5 categories:
“I have worked for this company for the last X number of years and am considering a change. I am unhappy because of....”
“I just got my advanced degree and wanted to see if I could find something that fits my new education.”
“I am being laid off in the next X months/weeks (or was let go) and will need to find a job quickly.”
“I am looking for a promotion to a more senior role, but after having my resume posted for months, I heard nothing back from employers.”
I am ready to start my own business and this is the right time to do it. I do need to get my resume and LinkedIn ready to ensure that I have my marketing materials ready to go when bidding on contracts! (This response doesn’t come too often, but when it does, I can’t help but admire a person who is willing to take a leap of faith.)
Then, I ask, “What is the job that if offered tomorrow will change your current situation and make you happy?” This is the moment where I frequently hear quietness, uncertain or very vague responses. We just want to run but often don't know where we want to end up.
Here, I want to address a situation where we are just so fed up and are looking for a change out of desperation. Doing a prior research about the jobs that can change your situation for the better is a very important step. A brand new shiny resume without self-discovery is not going to deliver change. When I feel hesitation and sense the uncertainty, I know that a client is not ready to make an informed decision. If this is you, sleep on it!
Taking chances for the right reasons could lead to success.
We want to run from a current job for various reasons: wrong company culture, crappy boss, lack of balance in life… You name it, I have heard every reason under the sun.
In the moment of painful realization that we are in the wrong job, we forget to breathe and figure out what our happy place could be. We are so emotionally disturbed that nothing can stop us from jumping from a cliff into the unknown waters regardless whether we have the skills and stamina to withstand the impact of the freezing and shocking surface. We jump and hope for the best.
Sometimes, there is a pleasant surprise and beneath the cliff we gently fall into a dreamy lagoon with turquoise and warm but refreshing waters that carry us to the blissful surroundings. And, we thrive. We are happy that we took that chance and plunged into the unknown head first. Yes, this is an option, and you can take that chance.
I am not here to talk you out of quitting a job, but I want to encourage you to stop and breathe to gain clarity first. Don’t make a decision based on the immediate reaction to an unpleasant situation. We all have emotions and since we spend a lot of years at work, your emotions can change drastically depending on the current situation and surroundings – outside influences. When upset, it is easier to burn the bridges. And, yes, from my life experience, you do at times have to cross them again.
Still tempted to just quit "cold turkey"?
- Firstly, remember, the sound decision is important because it takes time to find a new job or build your own business. Being absolutely sure and prepared before making this life changing decision will save you from further disappointments in life. Be prepared to write a new chapter of your life!
- You are put in the situations to learn. Sometimes the lesson is unclear, but start with creating the list of what you don't want to choose next. Having a clear idea of what disappointed you will lead you to the discoveries for what to avoid in your future.
- Find a way to get unstuck. If you can't do it alone, find a friend, mentor, coach, or therapist - anyone whom you can trust with your thoughts, ideas, and feelings.
- Be patient! It might take time to find your next job but with planning and commitment, you can make it happen.
“You can pick your career by choice or let it pick you by force.” – Hedi Rian
Whatever you decide to do, stop being miserable in your current job and live according to your values daily. Live and work on your terms and with purpose. The transition takes time and effort. We are all here to learn. Whatever approach you choose, it will be YOUR learning experience. Here is to all the new discoveries!
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