I know – your job sucks.
It might just be sucky enough that you’re bored, or checked out, or exasperated with your responsibilities or work environment…
…or it might be so sucky that it’s leaving you feeling ill – physically and/or emotionally…
…or it might be somewhere in between, falling on the scale between “soul-crushing” and “barely tolerating.”
If you find yourself complaining about your job, here’s 10 things to do instead:
1. Write down what you enjoy about your job. Thinking about it in your head ain’t enough – get it out on paper! What was it that made you interested in the job in the first place, and are those things still resonating? When have you felt useful or helpful at work? What is it about the culture, company mission, and/or people that you like?
2. Write down what you’ve enjoyed about past jobs. I don’t care if you’ve had 20 jobs in 7 years. Answer the questions above for each prior position. You don’t have to write a novel. A bulletpoint or three is more than fine!
3. Find the connecting threads, and ask yourself what would need to happen to feel more positive about this job. What do you see as a common theme for you? You might find that you like being a relationship-builder, or that you enjoy working with children. You might be someone who thrives with autonomous work, or someone who knows you do your best as part of a team. Now that you know that, how can you articulate what you need in your current job?
4. Uncover your mission statement. When you can articulate your personal mission statement, you can use it as your compass throughout your career. It’s not enough to be “an accountant”, but “to teach and empower women to be in control of their financial future.” Why do you do this work, and who would it be most meaningful (and enjoyable!) to do it for? This, this, and this could help.
5. Send an APB to your trusted peeps about what type of job you’d like to have, being as specific as possible. Did you know that half of all jobs are never advertised? That’s because recruiters and HR staff know that they’ll probably find the best candidates from their own network as opposed to putting out an ad and getting hundreds (or thousands!) of random applicants. Stop spending the bulk of your time blindly applying online, and instead, send an email around to your trusted people about the type of opportunity you’re looking for – and don’t shy away from specifics! Saying “I’ll take anything! Get me out of here!” might seem like it’d lead you to every available opportunity, but it won’t ring any bells for the reader of your email. If you say, instead, “I want to utilize my experience in customer service and my passion for building relationships in a start-up environment,” then that’d be just the thing for the reader to introduce you to their friend who needs a customer service rep, and/or works for a start-up. Don’t be afraid, either, to stress what’s most important to you. Some of my clients realize that their job responsibilities are secondary to the environment they work in, and you don’t need to hide that from your perspective connectors or employers.
6. Spend time on LinkedIn, searching for connections to jobs and/or companies you’d like. You’d be surprised at how useful LinkedIn is when it comes to searching. Take advantage of your 2nd and 3rd connections to ask for introductions and/or informational interviews.
7. Treat your career as if you’re an entrepreneur. I honestly believe that there is no such thing as “stability” any more, and anyone who isn’t an entrepreneur also shoulders a fair amount of risk as to their employment status. By putting up a personal site and/or blog and/or About.me page and/or twitter account and controlling your own reputation, you’re only doing yourself a favor to ensure that your next job is an even better fit for you. Danielle Maveal and I talked all about this on Grown Up Gigs last year, which can be watched here.
8. Start a project in your free time. I know it’s tough to do when your sucky job zaps your energy, but it can make a huge difference in your perspective if you have something tangible happening in your personal life that you feel is meaningful. Don’t censor yourself or only start something “productive.” Instead, pick up and work on what feels fun, enjoyable, and fulfilling. You might find that’s just what you needed to feel better day-to-day…or that – nope! – it’s still time to transition out of your current gig.
9. Be honest as to whether it’s the actual job, or “just” the people/culture/environment. I’ve had a few clients and Career Campers discover that it actually wasn’t their job that they hated – it was where they did it! If you have an abusive boss, snobby co-workers, or work for a company that doesn’t align with what you care about, then you might feel much better doing a similar job somewhere else. If this sounds like you, take some time sussing out your ideal environment, and get the word out as to what that looks like for you. Again, specifics are key here!
10. Discover your passion-based lifestyle biz. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: 1 in 10 women is an entrepreneur, and those women make over $20K more AND report 3x as much happiness as their counterparts. If this sounds like something you wanna start thinking about for yourself, lemme help you figure it out at Career Camp! Registration is only open for another 48 hours, and it won’t be offered again for at least another 6 months. Join us!