When The Job Kills, What Next?

By: Laurie Sheppard

You say the job is killing you.  Here are some questions to help you assess your situation clearly before you chuck it all.

What happened, you or them?
Somewhere along the line things changed.  Your role shifted.  Your work became redundant.  Your boss became unbearable.  Your co-workers don’t respect you anymore.  Something started looking different.  How much of this is due to other people and what is your responsibility?  Is the problem all work-related or have you experienced changes in your personal life?  Determine the weak links, because wherever they are, if you don’t identify them and correct them now, you’ll bring those problems with you to your next job.

Do you know your strengths and weaknesses?
If the problem centers with you, then before you decide on a career change, go to counseling, hire a coach, or do what it takes for you to regain your confidence and be able to make a clear, reason-based decision.  You can’t afford to be one of the walking wounded at this job or in looking for new work.  If you try to pass yourself off as passionate and ready for new opportunities, then you will likely show up as inauthentic.  It’s time to do an assessment of your strengths and weaknesses ─ behaviorally and in transferable skills.  Sit down.  Write them out.  Undervaluing as well as over-inflating yourself and your capabilities does a disservice to your job search.  Accurately assess the expertise you bring to this field or any new field you’re considering.

What do you want?
If you don’t clearly visualize your ideal work, you’ll always be treating symptoms of a deeper pain of dissatisfaction.  What excites you?  Where do you shine?  What are your high-priority values?  What do you prefer but could live without?  What do you absolutely want in your work type and work environment?

What would you be giving up?
Assess your pain quotient.  No one else can do that for you.  Your current gripes may have caused you to lose touch with what benefits the job held in the first place.  Make a list of positives and negatives to rate your job experience.  It’s important to know what you’ll be giving up or, if you stay, what you’ll change to stop the pain.

Weigh the positives against any risks in not being able to replace them in new work. 

Will you jog or sprint to the exit door or avoid it altogether?
If you have decided it’s worth staying where you are, what’s possible to change?  You might be able to offload or share undesired duties, such as extensive business travel, late night or weekend work.  Set up talk time with your supervisor to make changes and lay out a recommended plan of how it can still work well without you doing it.  If you can hire your own assistants, then do it.  If you’ve decided to leave the job, be sure your resources are in place and you can cope with a temporary lack of security.  Devote this time to reevaluating your needs and laying out a clear job search action plan.  However, if you have a low threshold for uncertainty, or can’t permit a break in income, line up a new job that meets all your criteria first. 

With any of these choices to stay, go now or leave later, you’ll need patience to accept the transition time.  YetArticle Submission, isn’t it worth it to know you’re the one creating the opportunity for more fulfilling work?

Careers and Job Hunting
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