Staying When You’re No Longer In It


I can’t help but wonder how many readers of this piece are themselves stuck in a job they really don’t enjoy or worse, have come to truly hate; and hate my dear reader, is a very strong word. But that’s it isn’t it? I mean, knowing you don’t enjoy the work, the people who surround you, the company, the commute; and nonetheless hanging on and holding on, going in day after day, week after week, just living for the day when you retire. Oh what sweet release awaits you!

You might think this is an extreme comparison, but haven’t I rather described a prison sentence? Wow, that’s something to think on. Is it worse or only slightly better to realize that unlike my prison analogy, in this case you’re walking around with the means to your release in your possession. After all, you only need walk in and resign and you’re free.  At least in prison you get time off for good behaviour!

The reasons for staying may be well documented elsewhere, but for the record, it could be you’re feeling too old to be hired elsewhere, the vacation you’ve accumulated would be reset at two weeks if you moved; your benefits are just too good. Could be you’ve built up too much of a dependence on your current income to pay for a mortgage, cottage, vacations, kids education, your wardrobe etc.

Somewhat ironic that you might feel trapped in a job in part because of the benefits you’re receiving when you are no longer benefitting from the work you’re doing where you’re doing it day after day. What price are you paying with your mental health when you grudgingly drag yourself into your workplace 5 days a week and loathe both the trip there and clock gaze the entire day. This just has to be affecting your personality, your good-nature, your self-esteem and most importantly your self-worth.

Self-worth is ironic in and of itself. Look on the internet and you’ll find articles about how much some well-know figure is worth. That’s dollars and cents; a financial commodity. Were we to ask that same person, (presuming we could even get their attention to ask), how much value they put on the life they are leading, we might get a much lower evaluation.

Don’t you think it’s rather disappointing to know that you’ve only got this one life and you’re spending a great deal of your waking hours surrounded by a place and people you don’t really want to be with, doing work that you find no happiness in? Supposing it wasn’t you in this situation but rather your child or grandchild, wouldn’t you strongly suggest and hope that they’d chuck it in and find something that makes they truly happier? It would make you sad knowing the one you love and care for so much continues to do this.

It ultimately comes down to choice doesn’t it? Sure it does. It may not be what you want to hear, and you might stop reading right about here, but it is your conscious choice to stay where you are, just as it’s an option to walk away. Don’t say you’ve got no choice in this, that you have to stay, for that’s not true. What is true is that the reason you’ve stayed and not quit already is because it’s going to need some courage and a struggle of a different kind to actually walk away.

Quitting is going to mean job searching, curtailing your expenses until you find another source of income. It might mean you’ll get less time off each year for some time. Can you picture how the six weeks off a year vs. the two weeks off a year in a new job, might not be that big of a deal if you enjoy going to work 50 weeks a year instead of loathing the 46 weeks a year as you do now?

I mean if you’re popping painkillers or self-medicating just to get through your days, are you factoring these things into your decision-making when you look at how you’re doing? How much you make a year isn’t the only bottom line here; how much you’re paying each year to make that money is far more significant.

Come on, this isn’t the life you dreamed; this isn’t how they drew it up for you back in high school or the family home. And by chance if someone did envision this life for you, it is still within YOUR power and control to pack it in. The hardest part is just deciding you’re going. Then there is a release; freedom. You’ll likely get some package of sorts, and if you don’t, it’s still more valuable to know you’re rekindling your self-esteem than sacrificing it to stay.

If you do walk away from this kind of situation, give yourself time – perhaps a month – to decompress. This is a big change after all, and transitioning from that job to the rest of your life is a stage to refocus and indulge in some healing time.

Sorry if you decide to stay; really I am. I understand your decision though; even if I’d recommend leaving. I do hope you make it to retirement in relative good health – physically and mentally. For many though, the view of retirement and time to do what they want is actually dictated by the health with which they arrive at it.

Looking For Work? Then Consider…


I see it every day where I work; people standing in front of a board covered with job postings or browsing a job search website. Many of these apply for a job or two and then come back the next day to repeat the process and I must say with very few results. Sometimes of course they get interviews and a few even manage to land the jobs they applied to. Somehow or other though, the job doesn’t work out for both the person and the company who hired them.

Does this sound like your own experience? So what’s going wrong? Isn’t this how everyone looks for work today?

The most successful people; and by successful I mean the ones who find work they enjoy, can perform well at and who manage to maintain those jobs don’t go about looking for jobs as described above. They’ve taken the time to do a number of things that maximize their odds of getting hired faster and in jobs that fit better with their own needs. So here I’ve listed some things to at least consider doing to help you out; some you may be doing already and some which will require a change in your thinking and actions; that is if you’re open to trying.

  1. Apply to jobs you’re actually qualified for based on the employer’s stated requirements. You’ll stop wasting your precious time – and theirs – going through the application process. You only have so much time and energy.
  2. Research the salary and know ahead of an interview what you’re worth on the market and the amount of money you require in order to live within your means. Again, you’ll avoid a lot of grief applying, interviewing for and accepting employment only to quit when you get your first pay cheque if it’s substantially less than your bare minimum requirements.
  3. Whether you’ve had a poor experience with a boss in a previous job or you’ve been fortunate enough to work for great ones, ask questions about the style of supervision you’d receive with the organization. Clues can be usually found if you read web pages where they mention company culture, what you can expect or promotional opportunities.
  4. Get on a computer and figure out the distance you’d have to travel to and from your home to the job location and back home again. How much time will this add to your work day? If you use transit, how many transfers are involved? If you drive factor in any parking expenses to your budget.
  5. Think about how long you might invest with your next employer. You might only wish to work for a couple of years until you retire, and therefore a contract job might be an ideal fit. Younger? Perhaps you’re really looking for a variety of experiences in order to figure out what you’d like to do on a longer term basis and so again a short-term position might give you that experience to add to your growing resume.
  6. Most jobs involve some level of customer service and interaction with people. A growing number of people who are looking for work seem to have weak interpersonal skills, anxiety and wish to avoid jobs were conversations and frequent contact with other people occur often. If this is you, it appears you either have to increase your level of confidence and develop in this area like any other skill, or seek out jobs where people interaction is at a minimum in the first place.
  7. The first few days, weeks and months on a job are critical evaluation periods where you’re ability to learn the job and perform it in the way that fits with the employers preferences are being examined. While some employer’s have extensive training programs and support built for new hires, others expect you to learn on the job and be up to speed quickly. Know the employer’s expectations.
  8. Conflict resolution and problem-solving skills are highly sought after skills because quite frankly you’ll experience dilemmas and challenges be they with co-workers, supervisors, customers, clients, the public, couriers, tradespeople etc. Can you articulate or describe your own style of dealing with these kind of challenges in such a way that you solve problems but at the same time preserve relationships with the very people you find challenging?
  9. Do yourself a huge favour and make a resume for each and every job you apply to rather than making multiple copies of resumes and handing them out. Although I and others have said this numerous times before, people aren’t getting the message and that’s a shame.
  10. Considering the work you’ll be doing, will you find it personally meaningful and one way or the other how much of a factor is this to you? Presumably you’re spending up to 12 hours a day (some shift work positions) so think carefully.

Look, there’s a lot of things to consider if you really want your next job to be satisfying and if you want to be successful in both getting it and keeping it. The 10 things I’ve listed here is hardly a comprehensive list, but maybe 10 things is a more effective read than say a 10,000 word blog on the 157 factors you should consider; that would be entirely too overwhelming for anyone and pointless!

Bottom line readers; the more you educate yourself the better you’ll be suited to the job you’re after all around.

The Urge To Quit


There is a very good chance that at some point in your working life you’ll experience the feeling that you’d be better off quitting your job to look for another. While it’s impossible to make a blanket statement that is right for everyone, you should take those feelings seriously and consider packing it in.

I suppose really it’s going to depend largely on how often you get the feeling; is it just now and then or do you feel the job isn’t right for you on a regular basis? Of course the other thing you should examine is where these feelings are coming from. If you realize that you feel this way once a month and it’s always at month’s end when some big report is due, you might rationalize that most of the time you really do enjoy your work; that you could perhaps find ways to make adjustments in your daily ‘to do’ lists that make end of the month reports easier to compile. Maybe this kind of strategy would make you feel differently; perhaps better.

However, if you find yourself almost constantly going in to work with a growing and nagging feeling of just focusing on leaving the job altogether, you should really consider moving on.

The best way to quit your job is when you have another to go to for most people. So when you are working, it’s always an extremely good idea to keep your resume up to date. By doing so, you will be well positioned to make small adjustments to it when you spot an ad for a job you would like to apply to, or should you meet someone in a position to help you along.

Most employed people do not bother to update their resume. After all, they work and don’t see the need. Not only do they not see the real need, they don’t like resumes in the first place, so why bother to update a document that isn’t on a person’s favourites list of things to do.

Many individuals who are not happy in their jobs stay however. Why? The appeal of what they’ve got outweighs the risk they’d have to take to move on. Even if they are offered a job elsewhere, they hesitate and opt not to move on because they’re afraid that if they quit their present job and the new job doesn’t work out, they’ll be stuck with no job altogether.

Now I get that; I really do. There is an element of risk in quitting what you know for something that doesn’t come with a guarantee. However, consider the risk in staying put doing a job you’ve come to intensely dislike or dare I say it come to hate. That’s got to affect your mental health, your positive outlook, your happiness and yes your work performance. No employer is going to be oblivious to the unhappy worker who isn’t performing at the same level of other workers. The logical consequence of this is that you’re going to be identified then as a growing problem and instead of worrying about quitting, you may find yourself fired.

You my reader, deserve better than this! Now remember, I’m talking about feeling like it’s time to leave on a regular basis. The occasional bad day here and there when you briefly think of working elsewhere is normal and healthy. The people who do this and stay are making conscious choices to stay in jobs they generally like or like quite a bit; but their open to considering possibilities elsewhere.

So what to do? Well for starters, yes you should update your resume. Pull out any performance evaluations that you have in your desk at work and take them home. Look them over for positive comments made about you and your performance which you could use later should you be asked in a future interview, “How would your Supervisor describe you?” If you leave them at work and ever get let go, you may not have access to these valuable resources.

Second, get a hold of your current job description from Human Resources. This too is something you should take home and leave there so you can update your resume with some of the language contained in it.

One thing that is going to help you along is to start looking for new jobs in your spare time. You’ve got the security of a steady income at present, but discipline yourself to look for another one at least 3-4 times a week. If you don’t know how to job search using technology, now is the time to find out. Many advertised jobs make you apply online using a computer so if your skills are weak in this area, take a course or get someone who is computer savvy to help you out.

You may notice as you start to take the initial steps of looking for another job that you feel a little better at work as a result. Mentally, you’re starting to detach yourself from what you see as a bad situation and this proactive movement will feel good.

Consider alerting your family and friends and business contacts too that you’re exploring other employment options just in case they hear of opportunities you may be interested in.

If you are fortunate, you may work for an organization that actually encourages movement from within and if so, look at the internal job postings. Moving on could be the best move you make.

You’re In The Wrong Job If…


There are two ways you can find yourself in the wrong job; you land in it right away or over time things change and what was once right is now wrong. But how do you know if you’re in the wrong job? Here’s some indicators:

  1. You live for your days off.

Suppose you’ve got that typical Monday to Friday job and you find yourself becoming stressed on Sundays thinking about Mondays, and when you are at work, you focus on just surviving the week until quitting time on Friday releases you. You my friend are most definitely in the wrong job.

2. You’d never apply for the job you have now.

Knowing what you now know, if you could go back in time you’d never apply for it all over again.

3. Physical and Mental illness.

Wow! If performing your job is literally causing you to be physically and mentally ill, why on earth are you still doing it? Isn’t your health more precious than whatever is keeping you going in day after day?

Should you find yourself using up all your sick days, visiting Emergency Clinics, sucking back pills during the day and using up the Employee Assistance Program allocated to you for counselling just to be able to go into work day after day, well…heed the signs.

4. Conflicting priorities.

If for example you’re number one priority in life is family and your job is robbing you of time that you planned to spend with them, why are you allowing your work to eat away at what you know is your number one thing? Fact is my friend, if you actually permit your job to do so, you’re consciously choosing to make family you’re number two priority; and what’s replaced it is your job. If you’re uncomfortable with this new reality, why aren’t you doing something about rearranging your life to align properly what’s important to you?

5. You can do the job blindfolded.

There may have been a time when things were challenging at work, but that was so long ago. You find you’re able to do your work pretty much on auto-pilot because you’re no longer stimulated with problems to solve and challenges to overcome. Read the signs my friend, you’re at danger of being brain-dead if there’s nothing to stimulate your little gray cells of the brain through the work that you do.

6. Isolation.

Now I realize we are all different and that while some of us enjoy socializing with our co-workers, others actually are attracted to work with limited human interaction. That being said however, if your job has somehow changed and you are so isolated to the point where co-workers don’t even recognize you as a fellow employee, you’re far too isolated from others. That isolation could lead to anxiety, a fear of others and depression. Is your job worth it?

7. The job morphed.

If you compare the job description that once attracted you to the job requirements you currently have, you may find your title is the same but the work you felt passionate about is no longer the work you are actually being compensated to do. What changed? If there was some organizational shift and your job functions were drastically adjusted, it could be that the job title you really want isn’t the one you hold now. If this is the case, maybe all it takes is finding out the title of the job that holds all the things that really excite you. Seek the move.

8. Your Supervisor.

Yes we have to look at the person just above you on the organizational chart. Did the person who so inspired you retire, get promoted, quit, get fired or laid off? Maybe the person who is now in their former role isn’t connecting with you and providing the kind of leadership that inspires you to do your best. In fact, maybe the Supervisor you work for now actually restricts your freedoms, curbs your creativity, shuts down your enthusiasm for the work you do, and gives you zero incentive to do anything that shows initiative. Yikes! Is waiting out their tenure and playing a game of who will leave first really in your best interests?

9. The benefits and salary have you trapped.

Are you staying in your current job simply because the money is good and the benefits you’ve earned just aren’t going to be offered to you in some other job? If you’re tired of your present job and just dragging yourself in to work but you’ve lost all real enthusiasm for the job, don’t fool yourself; you’re paying a heavy price for that income.

10. You’re slacking and you know it.

If you’re consciously looking for ways to cover up your own poor work; spending more energy devising ways to avoid doing the job than just diving in, it’s a clear sign that you don’t find the work itself rewarding. Or is it that you clearly see the quality of what you can produce is diminishing rapidly. Would you tolerate this production drop from a co-worker if you were working at your peak efficiency?

Look, the time you’ve got left in your working life is too precious; you’re too valuable to spend 5 days of each week in a job you know is no longer doing it for you. Start looking for another job with zeal; find and save yourself; you’re worth it.

 

 

 

 

Let’s Talk Your Perfect Job


The perfect job; well it depends doesn’t it. What’s a great job for some is a terrible fit for others. So it’s fairly safe to say that there is no one job that is going to be the ideal or perfect job for everyone. That being said however, you’re probably not looking for a job that is perfect for everyone anyhow; you’re looking for a job that’s perfect for you and you alone.

There are 3 core things that make up the perfect job and all three of these must be present and felt by the person for the job to be the best possible fit for the person doing the work. These include: a job that pays well, a job you’re good at and doing work that you love. There are a lot of factors that you need to consider when you’re evaluating the possibility of a job and / or career.

Before looking at the things you might want to contemplate when considering a job, imagine jobs you’ve held where only 1 or 2 of the 3 things has been present. Perhaps by way of example, you’ve found a job you’re good at and it pays well but you didn’t love it. Well you may have disliked the day-to-day work that you said, “There’s got to be something better!” so you left. Or imagine a job that you were good and it was work you loved doing, but the pay was so poor you couldn’t actually afford to keep working and needed more income and cried, “I love my job but I have bills, a mortgage and I want a better personal life!”, so you left. Of course the other possibility is that you loved the work itself and the job paid well but you weren’t really all that good in the job and you were let go.

Maybe one or more of these above scenarios have happened to you. Ah, but if you could find the right job with the right employer where: 1) you were good at the work, 2) it paid well and 3) you did what you loved, now that would be a winning combination!

Thinking of these three core items, here’s a short list of some of the things you might take into consideration when looking for that perfect job. Some of the items will have a low importance to you but perhaps be a key element for someone else. Conversely, someone else may put a low importance on something you feel very strongly about. So, think about how each of these impact on you personally as must haves in your perfect job:

  1. Getting positive feedback
  2. Doing physical work
  3. Outdoors vs. Indoors
  4. Working alone
  5. Group work
  6. Short commute
  7. Small Company
  8. Salary and benefits
  9. Supportive boss
  10. Challenging Work
  11. Tight deadlines
  12. Few distractions
  13. Creativity required
  14. Minimal change
  15. Job security
  16. Entry-level
  17. Advancement
  18. Recognition
  19. Humour and Fun
  20. Commission
  21. Flexible hours
  22. Shift work
  23. Weekends off
  24. Contract work
  25. Target bonuses
  26. Customer service

As you read each of the criteria I listed, which prompted a strong response and which were the items that you neither held a strong view one way or the other? When it comes to your commute, you may have such a small geographic area you are willing to work in, that you won’t be able to find a job doing what you love that pays well. And speaking of paying well, what does that mean for you? Some people are willing to sacrifice excellent pay for an average income if they work in a job they are good at and have passion for.

It may be that in order to make the high income you want, you have to expand your geographic area that you would be willing to work in. So now you require knowledge of what levels of income there are both where you live, and all the way out to the furthest you would be willing to commute. If an hour is your maximum commute, how do salaries vary between these distances for the same work? If you’d only commute 40 minutes, those incomes 41 – 60 minutes away must be passed over given your limitations.

Here’s how things break down if you only have 2 of the 3 core things required for the perfect job:

If you have a job that pays well and you’re good at it but it’s not what you love you’ll be bored.

If you have a job that pays well and you love it but you’re not good at it, you’re dreaming.

If you have a job you love and you’re good at it but you’re not paid well, you’ll be happy but poor.

You win when you have all three areas completely satisfied: you love what you do, you do it well and you’re paid well to do it.

Add other factors to your list beyond the 26 I’ve shared here. What’s important to you? Speak with people who love their work and are good at it who feel paid well for their services. As you have conversations you learn first-hand what the job is all about and from that you make your own assessment of what you’d love, what’d you be good at and what income you’d receive.

So Desperate To Work You’ll Do Anything?


Have you ever told someone that when it comes to work you’re so desperate you’ll do anything? Okay so you and I both know that this isn’t actually the case. There are jobs you won’t take because they don’t pay enough, the location is too far away or the job itself is too dangerous or menial. Still, there are people who everyday say to somebody in a position to help them find a job, “I’ll do anything.”

The very key to why this approach almost never gets the person the result they want lies in one word that’s contained in the opening sentence of this blog; ‘desperate’. Here’s the thought process that I as an Employment Counsellor go through each time I hear someone make the statement, “I’ll do anything.”:

  1. You’re saying this because you’re desperate.
  2. If you get this job, you’ll no longer be as desperate.
  3. As you’ll no longer be desperate, you’ll want something better.
  4. Because you’ll want something better, you’ll quit.
  5. Because you’ll quit, you’ll be right back here repeating history.

Employers know this as well. People who are desperate to work don’t usually make good employees. You can make the argument of course that someone who is truly desperate will do whatever it takes to hang onto the job they get; they’ll be dependable, work hard not to mess up and be as productive as they can because they need the money. That’s one point of view, but it’s not the reality that the employer and employee experience the majority of the time.

Look at two employers; a good one and a bad one. The bad employer hires an unemployed, desperate person and decides to exploit that desperation. They may pay them under the table or worse promise to pay them and then string them along with excuses like money is tight and that they’ll get paid next week. The money never comes of course but the employer knows the worker is desperate and so they squeeze every hour they can out of the person until they quit. Then the bad employer looks for another desperate applicant and repeats the process; essentially getting free labour in the end much of the time.

The good employer on the other hand has no such intentions of treating the employee badly. They take on the desperate worker, invest time and money into training them with the expectation that the person will get better on the job over time, and eventually come to truly be 100% productive – usually after a five or six months or more depending on the job. However, what they experience is that despite their willingness to invest in training the new employee, the employee often quits after only a short time. As the job was never really wanted in the first place, they never stopped looking for other jobs. They hate themselves when they wake up in the morning and hate their present reality going to this terrible job, and not being quite as desperate as they once were when they had no job, they just don’t show up and quit.

Therefore, it is highly likely that the good employers don’t want to repeat the mistake of hiring desperate people who are wrong for the job in the first place. They’d rather hire people who are cut out for the work and really want to do a certain job as evidenced by their past work history. They think, “If I hire this Accountant to pick mushrooms, they’ll probably quit soon because they’re really going to keep looking for a job as an Accountant. When that happens, I’ll be looking for another Mushroom Picker in 3 weeks or less.”

Look, I understand that what you mean when you say, “I’m desperate; I’ll do anything”. You’re really saying, “I’m open to considering many kinds of work that I haven’t before, until I can lock down the kind of work that would ideally suit me.” When you’re feeling desperate, it isn’t the best time to make a big decision; such as finding employment. Little decisions like whether to have cereal or a bagel for breakfast? Sure; go ahead. Making a decision to apply for work you find on a job board, that up until you read it you’ve never seriously considered or even thought of before; no! This is a bad decision. Even if you get the job you’ll immediately feel bad; you never thought you’d sink this low, you hope no one you know ever sees you at work, you didn’t go to school for this, they money isn’t worth the hard labour etc.

It’s important to understand then that good employers aren’t likely to hire desperate workers while bad employers are more likely to do so. Therefore saying you’ll do anything increases the odds of landing with a poor employer and the job will be a poor personal fit. It’s now a lose-lose proposition for both you and a good employer.

A better decision when you’re desperate is to seek out the help of an Employment Coach, Employment Counsellor or Career Counsellor. I don’t mean to self-promote here, but things aren’t working out doing things the way you’ve been doing them. What’s to risk by getting some objective help from a trained professional who can help you get more than just a job; they can help you get the right job.

Trapped In A Dead-End Job


Are you trapped in a job that’s draining your life away? Stuck in a job with no future, no chance for advancement or worse yet, not even some variety in the work you do?

To people on the outside it might seem a simple solution; find something else to do and quit. Ah, if only it were that easy! It’s not like you haven’t thought of this very solution yourself of course, because you have. The real sticking point in the plan is finding what that, ‘something else’ could be.

That’s the difficulty isn’t it? You put in a full day grinding it out, and by the time you check out at the end of your day, you’re beat. Your skills may be confined to doing a certain kind of work; a specific job. You haven’t got a clue how to go about finding something else you’d enjoy doing, you can’t quit outright and start looking because you need the income. You look ahead at the time between the present and the day you can retire, and see a lot of monotonous hours doing the same thing you’ve come to hate. You don’t even want to think about it because it’s so depressing.

Some hard choices are going to have to be made, and you’re the one who has to make them. Before doing anything rash, do two things; determine your financial health and your obligations. Knowing how much money you have saved in bank accounts and any investments is critical to knowing how long you can support yourself if you had no pay coming in. Knowing your mandatory obligations will tell you the length of time you’ll have before exhausting those funds. You should also look for areas you could conserve or cut back on expenses before you quit and when you find them, start now.

So let’s look at your choices. The first choice is both the easiest and at the same time the worst.; do nothing and keep dragging yourself in daily hating both the job and yourself for not doing something about it. Depending on the length of time we’re talking about, can you mentally and physically tough it out? Does the money you receive compensate you enough that you can keep going without breaking or just withering away on the job?

A second choice is to speak with someone in your organization and see if you can be laid off. This could not only answer your prayers but make them happier too. The company might appreciate your years of service but at this point rather have a younger, hungrier person on the job, and one that costs them less. So it could be a win-win, and you’d be able to apply for financial help while you job search; maybe the employer even has some severance package that would get you out quicker and in better financial shape.

You could just quit of course as option number 3. This is usually a move made by people who are desperate, or by those who haven’t thought things through very much. If you quit, you potentially lose all references you worked hard to earn, and you may not qualify for employment insurance because of how you left. Quitting also makes you ineligible for many re-training programs and severance packages. On the other hand, if you are seriously finding the job is killing you, quitting might be the option you choose if just to save yourself.

One of the best things you can take advantage of when you walk away – no matter how you choose to do it – is to get involved in  re-training programs or employment workshops. These help you deal with the stress of unemployment, help you answer those tough questions you’ll face from future employers regarding the circumstances around why you left your last job. You’ll also find help figuring out what potential jobs or careers you could turn to next.

Be advised though, things may have changed significantly since you last looked for work. How are your computer skills? Many jobs now require online applications, emailed resumes, some require you to complete long assessments. Look around for free computer classes either online or in your neighbourhood.

Saving your sanity and being a nicer person to be around for the family might mean a drastic alteration to what you do for a living and for whom you do it. Such changes sometimes require courage and a complete makeover. Are you willing to invest the time and put in the energy to change your life for the better? It’s going to be hard work make no mistake; but the potential benefits might save your life.

There may be another option which is to look at the organization you currently work in and look at advancement, transfers, job sharing or cross-training into another role and split your responsibilities between several jobs. This requires a discussion, succession planning on the part of your employer and some flexibility on your part. If you go this route, don’t just present your problem to the boss, present the benefits the company would realize and make it an attractive alternative.

Look for ways out of the trap you find yourself in, and get yourself prepared now for the big leap you may choose to make. Breaking free may just be the answer and lining up support systems the way to make it happen.

Being Fired Can Be A Positive


Losing your job by being fired is hardly a positive thing at the time of the firing. It almost always stings, brings with it embarrassment and shock, and is rarely the kind of thing that prompts you to call up all your friends and family and say, “I was fired today; let’s go out and celebrate!”

No, in reality, being fired is often a time when people go into shock, with feelings ranging from numbness and fear, to anger and resentment. The sudden loss of employment can come as a huge hit to the self-esteem, and a person can go into social hibernation, hiding their unemployment from others.

Yet finding yourself forced out of a job can be liberating. It could be that the writing was on the wall; your performance wasn’t what it should be, you just weren’t happy there for a long time. Maybe if they hadn’t fired you, you would never have had what it takes to quit and move on to something else; something better. In this sense then, having someone else make that decision for you can later on be a blessing.

This is the very situation several people I know have found themselves in; people I count as former clients, and some I know in my personal life as good friends. Now let me again state that at the time of the firings, there wasn’t much joy. Most of those people told me that they were hurt, shocked, angry and they felt unjustly treated. At those moments, it would hardly be the time for me to have said, “Well, getting fired is a good thing in the long run, you’ll see.”

It’s important to see the person who loses their job much like the person who loses a family member. There is a time when the loss is sudden, unexpected and time has to be set aside for grieving. Someone might even try to bargain with the employer, pleading to reinstate them in a desperate attempt to hold on to the employment and making promises to change.

After the grieving period, when the person turns to looking for the next job, the key things the unemployed usually deal with are both the stress related to the unknown length of time they will remain unemployed, and the stigma of having been fired. Even though we’ve all heard of people being laid off, fired, terminated with cause – it never seems to be entirely relevant until it happens to us; to you. Then, the full impact of being terminated becomes personal. Suddenly you have a first-hand appreciation for what it truly feels like to be dumped and without the security employment brings.

Now even when you saw it coming in retrospect, it isn’t pleasant to experience. The moment you’re hearing those words come out of the person’s mouth can still come as a shock. A number of questions floods through your mind: Can I  get my personal belongings ? When do I get my last pay?  How do I get out without all the other people – now my former colleagues – watch me be walked out? This certainly isn’t the time to be expected to see a larger picture or the good in being terminated. You’re living second to second at this point, and thinking the same way.

I will tell you that in several but not all of the personal situations I am aware of where a person has been terminated in the last two years, the fired people found employment. One even launched his own franchise business. In talking to them today, while they wouldn’t want to be fired again, they do see the positives looking back in getting out from jobs they had grown stale in and a couple of cases had come to loathe. Being released from a job they would never have quit on their own as it turns out was a good thing.

In some ways it’s been compared to a spouse announcing they want a divorce. Just like the job, you may have already known things were far from the best, but that announcement can hit hard. At some point down the road that announcement could be the best thing for both of you, but on your own, you’d never have initiated the break up. Finding yourself with a partner that better matches up with your current needs is like finding a better fit with respect to your employment via a new job.

Another thing that can and often does occur is that once employed again, your sincere appreciation for employment rises. You have empathy you never had for others who lose work. That feeling of entitlement, a guaranteed position is replaced with a strong understanding of how fast things can change.

If you are trapped in a job that you don’t love anymore, you can appreciate how the loss of employment gives a person the luxury of time to explore other opportunities that would bring greater happiness and fulfillment. Your seniority, benefits, age or vacation entitlements might have you feeling you can’t possibly look for other jobs that would bring you greater happiness. It is only when you are free of your current job – sometimes involuntarily – that you can turn to exploring other options with enthusiasm and purpose.

I don’t wish being fired upon any of you, but should you find yourself terminated, understand there can be positives in the experience