Updated: Feb 7
Your career has a lifecycle, and your job right now has a shelf life. Ouch.
Part of what I do is to career-coach, no not really. What I do instead is to tell them, "This is what I think, and you need to figure this out yourself". Again, ouch.
I know what you're thinking, there are career coaches, there's HR, there's L&D, they are all there to help me find 1. Satisfaction in work 2. Satisfaction in life 3. Satisfaction in work life balance.
Wrong, Wrong, Wrong.
It is not your employers responsibility to give you all of the above. 9 out of the 10 times I came across this 'form' of employee, they don't know what they want, they had these festered up frustrations and finally, there was no ONE root cause to it. Imagine you being in my seat, how mind boggling was that conversation.
"So how can I help?"
"I don't know, maybe a career path program? Maybe a pay rise? Maybe a promotion? Maybe enrol in a skilled course?"
Luckily, this isn't the end of the world because reality is, you can't know what you don't know. And that's when YOU come in, help your employer help you. Simple. Start by reverse engineering your thought process from the last time you felt "stuck" at work. I say, it's a four phases journey.
Suddenly, there is SPACE in my day to day, am I not doing enough?
Humans; when we get some free space, we fill it up. Maybe I'm kenophobic?
We all are.
Look at it this way, we fill our physical space with furniture and clothes and everything else. We fill our time space with busy work, day tasks, emails. We fill our mental space with news and information and other things sometimes we don’t need to know. Then, we fill our emotional space with toxic emotions that eventually drains our energy and more importantly our focus on what's really important.
This is what kenophobia means.
We are not Okay with space around us for a long time.
You start to fill your mental space with doubts if you're doing enough at work. You auto response is filling your schedules up with meaningless clutter and tasks that don't serve us because it shows the presumed status of being "busy", but really, you're just masking the emptiness you feel inside. All this being busy, have left you with no space for connecting with the nature, other humans and especially yourself in a meaningful way. Because soon enough, you don't know what you're doing and who you're doing this for. You're 'lost'.
The "I don't belong here" syndrome.
You're lost, and so you feel that everyone around you knows what they're doing, what they're capable of, except you. Everything in your box is moving but you. Truth is, the great things in our world is a byproduct of very brave people doing, failing, failing, failing, failing and then succeeding once in a while. If you don't know what's next, you can't possibly predict success with magic. Realise that nobody actually knows what they're doing. How they seem to have it more together than you do right now, is because they didn't bail at the first taste of failure.
"The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same." Colin R. Davis
Be one of them.
Have you lost sight of your values and drivers?
Managing your career is a long term job itself. It's long ranged and so every once in a while we need a refresher to bring us back to course. You've hit an inertia in your career because you've been in the role for a long time and your surroundings became mundane, unattractive, unchallenging, bland. It's okay.
I will advise that you take an exercise today, to list down what's really important you; our deal breakers, our non negotiable, things we must avoid. If you are answering these questions truthfully to yourself, you will quickly find that familiar path again.
Finally, take the "Grass is greener on the other side" mentality out of the equation.
Life is not about looking for an escape route ALL.THE.TIME. Knock some sense into yourself. Ask yourself, "Why did I leave my last company?". You've read a thousand articles about "Staff leaving managers, not companies" and so you thought, this isn't my fault, it's my managers.
Reality is, the grass isn't greener on the other side, it's greener where you water it. So today, learn to stop blaming someone else, stop pretending that you're doing this NOT to escape and pick up the damn watering can and water your relationship with your employer.
Communicate with your employer. Ask for help.
Make a list. I love doing this, it helps me organize my thoughts, and they provide a nice outline for tough discussions. No manager likes to hear a laundry list of what's wrong with your role or the company. Don't start your well earned conversation of negativity or complaints. Tell them exactly what you need, and what your goals and aspirations are. So, take the time to reflect, think about what you want. Bring in your big guns, and go for it.
You've been nothing but honest to yourself so far.
Don't escape, don't fill the space with other's presence, notice where you are, and be OK with it. If you're really not, then we both know it's time to move on and start counting backwards, 4....3....2....1.
Start again, because its never too late to feel great about yourself again. You deserve it.
Let me empower YOU, not sugar coat the reality because YOU can change this ending.
So let's recap, what do you do the next time?
Get some space, be honest with yourself, and think about what you want to achieve.
Define success to yourself.
Speak to your employer about how they can help you.
The grass is not greener on the other side.
If they can't, Move on, to better things. Work with someone who deserves you, because you are worth it.