Last Christmas fashion vlogger Justine Leconte published a video about her somewhat circuitous career journey. She said: “For me, every winter break is a chance to step back, look at my job, my life, my situation and see whether I’m happy with it. It’s like a winter thinking thing.”
And we couldn’t possibly agree more. So this last Friday before Christmas we’ve got 9 questions we reckon will help you reflect on your career over the festive break. Remember New Year is just round the corner, at which point everyone and their colleagues will be looking to move jobs.
Get ahead by getting focused with a ‘winter thinking thing’ as Justine says – perhaps with a mince pie and a tipple? Make it fun. Here, you’ll discover whether it’s you, your role or your company which needs to change. Plus we’ll show you how to make your next role work in 2018. Ready?
1. Do you feel bad about work – a lot?
Do you get mega Sunday blues which start on Saturday evening and ruin half your weekend? Or maybe everyday is a bad day? While you can’t expect to have an all singing all dancing day at work all the time, if your job is adversely affecting your mood and your homelife you need to –
ASK: Why is my job making me so unhappy?
Once you’ve got clear on the root cause it could be time to make a change.
2. Do you care about the company?
Perhaps the company looked good on paper. Maybe you never really gelled. Maybe they changed. Maybe you changed. Either way if you don’t care about the company you’re working for you’re in trouble.
TRY: Creating a list of things you want from an ideal employer.
Think dream job. What does it look like? What does it feel like? How do people operate around here? How about the dress code? Got a list? Right. So, how does your current company match up? If the company’s mainly ok – it might be your role which is the problem. If so are there opportunities to move into something more appropriate in-house?
But, if your current workplace is fast food focused and you’re passionate about slow cooking then that’s an unreconcilable issue. In other words – it’s probably time to make a change.
3. Do you loathe your boss?
The survey of 7,200 adults found that about half had left a job at some point “to get away from their manager.” If you’re having a hard time with your line manager, or boss, then there are a few things you can try before taking drastic action. A great post on LifeHack.org suggests eight ways to solve your bad boss relationship, including this:
LIST: “[A]ll the reasons why you think things are not working between you. There are probably some big assumptions on your list so you will need to validate them carefully.”
Bad bosses happen to the best of us, but there’s usually a way to deal with them. But if it really is no deal you need to take appropriate action…
4. Feel like you don’t fit in with your colleagues?
Not fitting in isn’t always as bad as it sounds. Maybe you love your work, but you just don’t want to hang out with the people you work with. But if you really don’t click with colleagues it could be a sign you need to reassess things.
ASK: Do I feel heard and respected?
ASK: Do my colleagues try to include me?
ASK: Does my lack of inter-colleague social interaction put me at a particular disadvantage at work?
5. Are you using your strengths?
Hard work is one thing. But struggling is another. If your role doesn’t allow you to play to your strengths, then you might need to think again.
ASK: Am I getting a lot of negative feedback?
ASK: Am I trying to force myself to fit the position?
If you say ‘yes’ to either, or both, of these then it sounds like it could be time to start looking for a role which plays to your talents.
6. Are you embarrassed by your job?
Has this scenario ever happened to you? “I knew the big question was coming. I had met a cute guy at a bar, and I could sense it from a mile away. … ‘What do you do?’ he asked casually. At the time, I felt so embarrassed about my job that I lied to the poor guy. I was a designer, I said, although I hadn’t used Photoshop since high school.
“The truth was that I made most of my money tutoring rich kids in China, which seemed like the antithesis of who I really was. Who I was as a person, I mean,” wrote Kassy Lee on the Elephant Journal website. What’s more, is it still happening, like, err, now? If so, you KNOW what you need to do!
TRY: Speaking to a savvy recruitment consultant or career coach to help create a workable career change plan.
7. Are you uninspired or stuck?
In a role with no next level in sight? Feel like you’re stuck in Groundhog Day doing the same tasks on loop? If you’re not learning anything in your current role you’re not getting anything out of it anymore. Being in this kind of situation can be really demotivating, not to mention ultimately bad for your CV.
ASK: What do I need to do now to get into a better-for-me role?
8. Why are you staying in this job?
Winston Churchill probably didn’t say: “If you’re going through hell, keep going,” but it’s a common sentiment which conjures up the much admired ‘keep calm and carry on’ way. Basically it means commitment is good, no matter what – which when faced with possible Nazi invasion was probably right.
If you’re not faced with imminent Nazi invasion, however, your options are probably a bit more varied. While there are valid reasons to stay in a job you loathe – think: gaining key skills or upcoming opportunities – knowing when to quit can be the best thing for you.
In this Huffington Post article, Top 10 Bad Excuses for Not Quitting That Job You Hate, the writer points out that Tiger Woods, Reese Witherspoon, John McEnroe and John Steinbeck all dropped out of Stanford. And, they didn’t do too badly…
ASK: Why am I staying here? And is it really worth it?
9. How can I avoid being a bad hire?
Of course the best thing is to avoid getting into the wrong job from the start. Sometimes it’s inevitable – i.e. you outgrow the position or the company is taken over – but there are things you can do to help yourself in the future.
While a role may tick all the boxes it’s vital to use the recruitment stage to suss out the company.
And, remember if you wind up in completely the wrong job you’ll probably go on to experience many of the things we’ve outlined in this post. You may leave. You may even be fired. And you don’t want that. If you’ve decided now is the time to make a change work through the questions in this list and answer them as if you are your future self.
ASK: Would future you enjoy this company? The culture? The role? The boss? The people?
You get the picture.
For more career support contact Angel today!
Next Steps: We want to hear about your 2018 career plans. What did the questions above tell you about your current role? We’d love to hear your thoughts.