Want To Get Past Probation At Work?


Hooray! You’ve landed yourself a new job! If you were unemployed, all that stress of looking for work is behind you now. If you left one job for this one, you’ve got a lot to look forward to, presumably this opportunity has more for you than where you worked last. Congratulations either way!

Your goal has actually shifted in any event, from finding a job to maintaining this job. So how long is your probationary period? 3 months is a good guess, but it might be longer. Oh, and if it’s a contract job, you’ll be hoping perhaps to perform so well they’ll keep you on. The same is true for many of you out there who land yourself a seasonal job for the holiday season approaching. Unless of course you’re the new Mall Santa; your job has a definite end date just before Christmas day!

Here then are some things to do to maintain that new job. Again, congratulations!

  1. Show up when you’re scheduled. It sounds completely obvious I know, but I’m continually surprised by the number of people who upon taking a job, think it is well within their rights to show up late or not at all. When your name is on the schedule, you’re being counted on to be at work. You might have good reasons to be absent or running late, but just the same, your new employer has a business to run and needs employees there to do the work.
  2. Get your childcare in place now. This isn’t exclusive to single parents. Get childcare arranged now – before you start a job – and work on getting a back up on call if your primary source of childcare isn’t available. In other words, a private sitter won’t watch your child if they are ill, or on vacation, have an accident; maybe even if they have medical appointments of their own one day – and they will. Don’t plan on figuring this out after you accept a job; you’ll be too busy.
  3. Dress the part. You want to last don’t you? Okay then, fit in. Now I know that individualism counts, that it’s your right to express yourself as you see fit, and yes, if people don’t accept you for who you are then that’s their problem. Sure, this all sounds noble and under many circumstances I’d agree entirely. It’s also just a tad self-serving too. If the job calls for safety equipment to be worn, wear it as it’s designed, not how you think looks most fashionable. If you interact with the public, keep in mind it’s not just your right to express yourself that’s on display, so is the reputation of the employer who hired you. Keeping up that desired image is expected of you.
  4. Be positive. Be friendly and accentuate the positive. People generally like being around people who are optimistic, personable and yes the odd smile goes a long way. Try a little experiment today – smile and see how many people smile automatically back at you. It’s a reflex motion!
  5. Stay until your shift is over. Cutting out early gets noticed. If you expect to get paid right up until your shift ends, you are expected to work until your shift ends. When you’re off at 5 p.m., that doesn’t mean you start putting on your coat and heading out the door 10 minutes early so you get to your car at 5 p.m.
  6. Pitch In. When appropriate, lend a hand to others. By appropriate, I mean make sure your own job gets completed and helping others doesn’t distract you from doing what’s expected of you. Where possible, a simple, “Hey can I help?” might win you some goodwill, get you noticed and signal to others that you’re a team player.
  7. Be careful who you listen to. At the start of your job, you haven’t any idea who the gossips are, the idle workers, the ones Management has targeted as in line to be let go. Be wary of comments, advice or conversations that just feel wrong, paint the employer in a bad light, or taint anyone badly.
  8. Focus on the work. Make sure the job you were hired to do is actually your focus. While you want to get along, you’re under the microscope more than the other long-standing employees. You’re being evaluated and if you can’t hit targets, seem to be standing around more than working etc., they’ll cut you loose and hire someone else.
  9. Ask for feedback. If you’ve got a 3 month probation period, ask how you’re doing long before you get surprised with being released. It’s too late to say, “What? Why?” You should have been told any concerns so you could improve in any areas they identified as needing attention, but it’s still your responsibility to find out how you’re performing. Ask your Supervisor this one, not a co-worker.
  10. Show some enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is my mantra; it’s the number one quality employer’s want in their employees. It’s no longer enough just to, ‘do the job for a pay cheque’. Employers look for workers with some passion, some investment in what they are doing; people who understand WHY they do what they do and HOW what they do contributes to the overall success of the organization.

I’m happy for you! Yeah! Follow the above and I you’ll hopefully keep your job long past your probationary period. Getting hired and staying employed are two different skills; don’t start coasting now.

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Employed But Stuck


The earlier blog I penned had to do with feeling stuck. It focused primarily on both deciding between two or more options and the advice was to do something, do anything to get moving; and the focus was when you’re unemployed. I’ll stand by that.

But what about you who are already employed? I mean you’ve got a job and while it’s okay – possibly even good, you have become restless wanting a change. The question is really what could be next? A promotion? A change of employer? What other jobs within or beyond the company you’re with now would be possible and what’s stopping you from launching a concentrated job search campaign? In other words, even though you’re employed, are you feeling stuck in your career? Oh I know you’re not alone in this one!

The problem in a nutshell is you’re experiencing some motivation to change, but the level of motivation required to actually start looking beyond a casual glance at job postings hasn’t grown enough. You’ve got a steady income, some security at the moment, and the lure of something new is less than the status quo. Doing nothing is safe, comfortable, takes less effort and yet this small but growing feeling that a change is needed is there. So yes, at the moment…. you’re stuck.

Now this is different from when you’re out of work entirely and stuck deciding between two career options or stuck deciding what to do at all. It’s also different from having a job you enjoy in all aspects and just feeling a mild tug every so often. What makes this unique from those others is that the job you have now fulfills many of your basic needs, it’s got a good upside, but there’s this growing and persistent idea of something else wanted that the job doesn’t meet.

Only when your satisfaction with the present wanes enough that your wish for something more tips the balance will you actually find the motivation to explore change. The key is not to wait so long that the job you have becomes intolerable; that would be unfortunate, especially if you then find new employment takes considerably longer than you would have imagined.

The interesting thing is that sometimes other people recognize your need for change before you might. It’s true! You might have a change in behaviour; subtle at first, such as coming in on time instead of coming in 15 minutes early, or taking your full lunch hour away from work instead of donating some of your time to the job. Not big things, but signs of change if they become your new norm. You might also be quieter in office meetings, a little less vocal in promoting innovation and new ideas. What you may be doing is stretching and challenging yourself less and less because your investment in the job itself is ebbing.

Now on their own, like I say, these may not mean much. However collectively, they can indicate to others that something has changed in you. Suddenly people are asking you if you’re happy; is everything good? One person asking might be normal, but two or three people asking, or someone who knows you well, and you might realize those subtle changes they picked up on are cues you should address and think about.

The motivation to change then is worth addressing. What would motivate you to change? For some, the obvious answer is more money and benefits. However money is less of a motivator than you might think as the current job is already providing a consistent income. Feeling challenged, reinvigorated and mentally stimulated by the work you do might be more accurate. You might even be contemplating how to take many of your current skills and find a way to incorporate them into a self-employment option; especially if you see retirement on the horizon. Transitioning to a part-time enterprise, working on your terms and answering to yourself might be appealing as you wind down your full-time employment.

If you’re in your 30’s or 40’s, retirement might not be on your mind, but nonetheless, you could feel the urge to make a difference, give back in some way using your experience but challenging the conventional way of doing business that you’re in now, constrained by the parameters of the company who employs you.

Oh, and let’s not ignore the idea that you might just want an entire break from what you do now altogether and rediscover your passion through some other line of work. How many of you can agree that there’s a hobby or past interest you’d love to turn into your full-time job. Why aren’t you exploring that option? Don’t dismiss it quickly because you’re too old, it would cost too much to go back to school or you’ve got responsibilities! At least invest some time crunching some numbers and getting factual information to base your decision on.

In my previous blog, I advised you to do something; do anything. I’d suggest the same thing again if you feel stuck in your current job. Talk to people in Human Resources, take a night school class, update the résumé, put out some feelers. There is a lot you can do without going to the extreme of quitting or just giving up and feeling trapped in the present job for the next 14 years.

Yes, do something!

You Need Acknowledgement, Progress And Success


Talk to anyone looking for a job and you’ll find what they expect at the minimum is to have their efforts acknowledged and feel progress is being made towards ultimately being successful.

If a person applies for work repeatedly without any acknowledgement from employer’s, or if they feel stuck without making any progress, their effort will likely ebb and flow at best, or they will give up altogether.

Now, depending on your personal circumstances, your motivation for seeking this new job and the results you are achieving, can have a significant impact on your self-worth, self-esteem and your confidence. Although very similar, they are different from one another, and all three are critical to your self-perception. You do want to feel good about yourself, feel valued; that you have something to give which others recognize and appreciate. When we feel appreciated, we feel better about who we are and that positivity  carries over into other aspects of our lives. Without feeling valued, we can start to feel doubtful, our ability to contribute suspect, and our worth as a person comes into question.

Acknowledgement and progress lead to success no matter what the situation. Were you to buy some carrot seeds and plant them in the garden, you’d feel optimistic when you laid them in that shallow trench. With the first sightings of some fragile green leaves popping up through the soil, you’d feel encouraged. As the plants take root and sprout, the higher the green leaves grow, the more you believe the orange carrots below are getting bigger and thicker. The promise of successfully harvesting some vegetables becomes stronger. When you do dig up those carrots, there’s satisfaction in washing them up and eating them.

However, without any seeds germinating, you wonder what went wrong. Not enough sun or water? Planted them too shallow or too deep? Bad soil? Bad seeds? Or maybe you just say you obviously don’t have a green thumb. That lack of progress in seeing something grow can put you off trying again. If that lack of success happens not only with the carrots but also the onions, potatoes and tomatoes, you might believe you’re not cut out to be a Gardener. In short, you’ll give up.

The thing about growing your own vegetables is that if you’ve never done it before, you might ask others with more experience or at the very least, read the instructions on the packets you buy and follow the directions. When you do this, you’re taking advice from professionals, and you do this because you trust their experience and want to give your seeds the best chance of ultimately being successful vegetables.

When it comes to applying for jobs, you’d be surprised how many people don’t follow this same pattern of behaviour. No, a lot of people – perhaps yourself – go about applying for work as best they can figure out on their own. It’s ironic don’t you think that someone will buy a package of carrots for $1.50, read the instructions and follow the advice to the letter, but then ignore the advice that’s available from professionals when it comes to finding work that could potentially bring in tens of thousands of dollars a year?

As I’ve said in many articles over the years, job searching without success is frustrating. That’s got to be a major understatement of the obvious. However, job searching with progress or even basic acknowledgement is even more disheartening. Resumes and cover letters take time to make, applying online takes time as does even finding the right jobs in the first place. You feel your time is valuable, and the last thing you want to do is put in a lot of time and get nothing in return. For some, even just being acknowledged by an employer that they’ve received your résumé would be nice.

Look, you have to decide what’s best for you personally. That has and will never change. If you are getting regularly acknowledged and are getting interviews, you might feel progress is being made and success is imminent. However, if you feel stuck and you’re losing momentum or have no progress whatsoever, what are you going to do about it? Your choice would seem to be keep doing what you’re doing and hope for a different result, or change what you’re doing and hope for a different result.

Changing what you’re doing is almost impossible if you don’t consider advice from others who have had success in what you’re trying to do – get a job. Without learning how others have gone about it, you’ll just be guessing about what you need to change or how to go about things differently. For all we know, how you’re going about looking for a job now might be like buying a packet of carrot seeds and planting the packet while still in the envelope or scattering the seeds on gravel. There’s always a chance one or two might grow, but the odds are slim.

By all means, do what’s best for you. Hammer away doing the same thing or enlist the help of a professional who can share some ideas on how to improve your odds of success. It starts with having your skills and experience as well as your applications acknowledged, moves forward with feeling you’re making progress as interviews start coming, and ultimately you’ll be successful when the job offer is made.

Thinking Of Quitting?


Long ago, say in our parents and grandparents generations, it was often the case that people would hold their jobs for decades. Get a job and you’d hold it for life. If you came across someone who had held several jobs over a few years, it was assumed with a high degree of accuracy that the person had issues and the frequent changes was due in large part to their poor performance.

In 2018, things have changed dramatically. People often change jobs now, for reasons of their own choosing or having the unemployment come about for reasons beyond their personal control such as plant relocations, changes in ownership, layoffs, plant closures. While these can be distressing times for the individual worker, the silver lining is that the stigma associated with having several jobs as an adult is gone.

So feeling that leaving one job and taking another is not only more socially acceptable, it may be that you’re developing a mindset that has you restless for a change because you see it going on around you. Not surprisingly, if many of the people you know are changing jobs, you start evaluating your own situation and wonder if you shouldn’t do the same; landing a better job, with better income, closer to home, in a more appealing atmosphere perhaps.

Think carefully. I won’t tell you to jump ship or stay where you are categorically, just think what you’re contemplating through and do your best to make sure that this decision you’re considering is the right one for you.

Much of the time it’s a good thing to have a job to go to before you quit the one you have. The transition from one job to another is smooth, the income steady and if you’re able to create a small window of a couple of weeks, you can treat the gap as a holiday. The real benefit of a short gap between jobs is actually what will be going on between your ears; a mental readjustment period mixed with closure, release, anticipation and readiness for what’s coming. Go to a new job with zero days off and for some, the change is overwhelming and unexpected pressures can result in illness or being less than your best.

One concern that I want to point out is something you can’t control. There is a tendency with some organizations to go through the hiring process on an ongoing basis. Some industries and specific employers in those industries hire and terminate with regularity; people don’t typically stay long and the turnover rates escalate. I know of many people who left a secure job in the belief the job they moved to was better and would last for a long time and found themselves laid-off after just a few months, or their hours reduced significantly. In such cases, they’d rather have stayed in their first jobs, but hindsight is 20/20.

It really depends on you and what you need from a job to be happy – however you define happiness. While a higher income might be on your list, it may not be the number one thing you’re after. Greater flexibility of hours, more autonomy, opportunities to lead, the challenge of a small startup company or the chance to move within a large organization could be the attraction. Maybe you want more stimulation, challenge, or less pressure, a shorter commute, a better benefit package. A better job takes on all kinds of looks to different people and at different times in one’s life.

So you make a decision to move on. Now the question is do you or don’t you let your current employer know you’re looking, and how do you do it so you leave on your timetable, and not have unemployment unexpectedly thrust upon you. Well know your company and the impact of your departure on them. If you hold down a key role and your departure is going to have a seismic explosion, lots of notice and succession planning would be likely expected and greatly appreciated. If you’re on the front-line and have only been employed for a few weeks or a month or two, your announcement might not even create much of a ripple. Look at things objectively and your position is one easily replaced with a minimum of disruption.

Usually the goal is to move on in such a way that you leave with the best reference possible, maintaining the relationship of having been a good employee with a good organization to have worked for. Life after all is ironic from time-to-time and you might find yourself wanting back in with this same employer you’re planning on walking away from at this time.

Now despite the obvious appeal of having a job to go to before you quit the one you have now, there are benefits in walking away so you can look for something new. You might need that mental break if the job you’ve got now has become extremely stressful, causing you sleepless nights and unusual anxiety. Walking away so you can actually think clearly about what to do next might be good advice for you personally. Yes, you might quit one day and give yourself a month without even looking to mentally transition from what was to what might be.

Don’t wait too long however. Update the résumé now. You won’t want a gap in employment, outdated experience and aging references to hold you back.

Thinking Career Change?


Are you considering a major change in the kind of work you do? That’s a good thing, whether you end up continuing to do what you’ve done for some time or yes, you do indeed choose to venture off in a new direction. The process of evaluating where you are and where you’d like to be, what you’d like to do is healthy.

Resist the urge to put down your feelings and musings about a new line of work or career change as a sign something is wrong. Acknowledging these feelings and doing some exploring of what you’re feeling and where these feelings are coming from can be quite illuminating.

Typically, thoughts about a career move go through stages where we become aware of our feelings, then we might share these with a significant person or partner and then move to share with the rest of our immediate and extended family, friends, co-workers and employer that we’re moving on. That is of course if we make that decision to move on at all. If after some time of reflection we choose to continue in what we’re doing, then it’s possible that we share our musings with no one whatsoever. The key here is to realize that mulling over a big career move can be a very private experience; we have full control over who knows what’s going on in our thoughts.

There are a many reasons we might consider a drastic career move. Boredom, needing a new challenge, health concerns, being burned out, declining performance, aging, taking early retirement, a company buyout, relocating to another area, a lifestyle change are just some reasons that could prompt these thoughts.

“What could I do that would make use of my skills and that I’d enjoy doing?” Some version of this question is what you may be thinking yourself. Given where you live and where you are in your life, you might also entertain the notion of a return to school to stimulate your brain, acquire some new knowledge or hands-on skills which could take you in a completely different line of work. You may not even mind starting in an entry-level job in a new line of work and be quite content to do so, having no interest in moving up to greater responsibilities; something you might have felt you needed to do 20 or 25 years ago.

So the clock is ticking, days and month’s are rolling past and you’re looking ahead at Life with a capital ‘L’. What do I want to do with the remaining time I’ve got with respect to my work life? We’re not talking your time beyond complete retirement. We live with the assumption and belief we’ll have some time of an undetermined length beyond the day we retire. So we’re looking at the time between where you are now and say, 65 or 68 perhaps as a ballpark figure. How many years is this in your case?

Depending on the number you have after answering that question, you might have a few or many years. You might only have time for one career move or have several years meaning you could have a few career moves left to ponder.

Sometimes what’s needed isn’t a change in career at all, but rather, a change in employer. A fresh start bringing your accumulated skills, experience and education to a new employer. The attraction might be a start-up, where you’re highly valued and your leadership and expertise is drawn on for guidance in some early period where the company is set on just establishing a reputation. Or conversely, a big organization is undergoing a thorough clear-cut; moving in a whole new direction, and the attraction to get on board is exciting. Another scenario is a big organization provides some stability and job security which appeals to you over the stress you feel in the fledgling organization you’re with now. There are so many possible scenarios!

Your financial security – or lack of it – also plays a big part in what you can afford to do or not do. We should also acknowledge some people are risk-takers and gamblers and others less so, hence it’s vital you have a clear and accurate picture of your financial status and know the risks you may be entertaining in making a move. Then again, what might you risk with your mental health by sticking with the status quo?

Some questions to ponder then…

Am I doing work that I find meaning in and is this important to me or not?

Am I secure in exploring other options, including reinventing myself?

Who other than myself, might my final decision to change careers impact?

What is the status of my financial health?

How comfortable am I dealing with uncertainty? For a move seldom if ever comes with guarantees of success.

Do I need to take time off my current job to explore these thoughts or am I able to give them their due while continuing in my present line of work?

What are my commitments ie. mortgage, children, spouse, credit repayments, loans etc. and what weight do I give these things in arriving at some decision?

Of course there are other questions to pose and you’re welcome to throw in some of your own to the comment section below. If you’ve been through or are going through this process now, I urge you to share some of your thoughts.

Replaced When You’re A Top Perfomer


When an employer decides to part ways with an employee, it’s typically when the employee is underperforming; they fail to meet quota’s, miss too much time away from work or their behaviour is problematic. I suspect most of us would agree that these reasons lend justification when the parting comes. However, what is less immediately understood is why an employer would remove an employee from their position when they are excelling; performing at a high level.

Think it doesn’t happen? Well of course it does and furthermore, it’s not a bad thing. It’s often in the best interest of not only the company but the employee themselves. “Surely not” I can hear you thinking. “How could dismissing an employee who is performing at a high level of excellence be in the best interest of the employee themselves?”

Well, re-read my opening paragraph and you’ll notice I never said the employee was being dismissed at all. No, I said the employer might remove an employee from their position. The difference is significant and not just a play on words. Dismissing an employee means the employee and the employer part ways. Removing an employee from their position leaves open the possibility that the employee is retained by the employer but put into a new position; a position that makes better use of that employees knowledge, experience and qualifications. So yes, it can be in the best interests of the employer and the employee.

From an employers perspective, the worst time to replace an employee is when they are performing badly. This is the typical time when people are replaced not of their own choosing of course. You see the employer has a problem that can’t be allowed to continue in this case. There’s pressure to find the right replacement, someone with a better attitude, appropriate skills and who can quickly address the immediate needs of the company so production can return to full capacity.

The best time to replace an employee? An interesting way to look at things I admit, and not one the typical worker thinks much about. The best time to replace an employee is when things are running efficiently, there’s no crisis at hand, production is high, morale is good. As for the employee themselves, the employer; (the good employer I should say) sizes up the employee and while they appreciate the good work they do, wants to retain the employee over the long-term and seeks ways to both provide new personal challenges for them and seeks to leverage their excellence the best way they can to benefit more people in the organization.

In other words, if you’re doing great work, your employer might just want to put you in a position to best spread that performance excellence around, hoping to capitalize on the chance you’ll influence others to work similarly. This new work could result in a promotion, or a change in work duties to keep you stimulated, keep you motivated and satisfy your own needs for creativity or change.

Now not everyone realizes they need change when to those around them it’s obvious. Change is neither inherently good or bad, yet many people hear the word change and feel a rise in their own anxiety level. “Change? Oh, I don’t think I’m ready for change”, they say. Yet change is not only necessary but sometimes highly desirable. Many professional athletes reignite their careers and take their performance to new heights when they are traded to another team. They may not have wanted or asked for the change, but quickly adjust out of necessity to meeting new teammates, putting on a different sweater and learning how to contribute with their new co-workers.

An employer may as I say have an employees best interests at heart when they take a top performer out of their comfort zone and put new challenges before them. Perhaps an employer sees a bigger picture here; looks at past employees who excelled in their jobs but who, left too long in the same position, started to rot away. By moving the top performer around, they just might lend their expertise and improve performance in a long-standing low performance area, or they might have to take on the new responsibilities that come with a promotion.

The trick for an employer is to sell not only the employee affected but also the other workers affected by the change on the positive implications of such a move. If a great employee has a severe aversion to change; perhaps their one weak area, the intended reward could backfire. The high performance employee might be adversely impacted and a drop in productivity occurs in the short-term. Don’t explain the move to co-workers and they might get the wrong message; perform at your best and the company will move you to a job you didn’t ask for.

Not all leaders in an organization work on the top floors of the office towers; some of the best leaders are the people on factory floors with their shirt sleeves rolled up, steel-toed boots scuffed up and broad smiles on their faces. Being in a position of authority does not a leader make. It’s an intelligent organization that realizes leaders are needed at every level and so are top performers.

Perform to the best of your ability; see where it takes you. When you make yourself replaceable for the best reasons, opportunity may come knocking.

 

 

Happiness At Work. Lost It?


Today is Valentine’s Day; the year 2017. Around the globe, countless numbers of items will be bought and given as gifts; expressions of the love someone feels for another. There’ll be cards of course; chocolates, flowers, plants, maybe even diamonds and pearls if you’re fortunate and desire them.

While the focus for the day will be on the one who holds your heart; has it ever occurred to you to pause on this day and review the love you have for the work you do? I rather doubt it. If you imagine your job or career as a physical entity, would you be writing words of love and passion or would you be acutely aware that the thrill has gone? Instead of toasting your job with a raised glass you’re looking at a bologna sandwich in your cubicle for the 5th time this month.

How long has it been since you sprang out of the house with a bounce in your step at the thought of heading on into the workplace? A sadder question for some is whether you’ve ever had that joy of anticipating what joys your day will bring? If you’re happy, really love the work you do, you my friend are fortunate. You’ve found a measure of success in that how you spend a large amount of your time has meaning for you; you’ve got purpose and satisfaction in abundance.

However, if you’ve come to the point where the job has simply become a daily chore; the work is far from fulfilling and it’s a daily grind or test of your mental endurance, you may be wondering where it all went wrong? That job you once loved, that work you found so satisfying; something changed.

What changed is probably not so much the job but rather you; the person performing the work. Maybe you mastered the skills and job requirements and nothing new has been added to stimulate your need for a challenge. Maybe you’ve changed so much yourself that just adding new challenges won’t do at all and you need a complete change of scenery, a different kind of work altogether. You’re just hanging in there; hanging on and holding on. This you’re afraid to acknowledge, is not how you envisioned your life. Worse still, you always believed you’d have the courage to make some changes if it ever got to this point…but you haven’t.

It’s as if there is a set of scales before you and on the one side you see the job with all its responsibilities and duties. Here’s your security, salary, benefits, seniority, vacation entitlement. On the other side you only see a single thing: happiness. If only happiness were on the other side along with all those other items life would be perfect. Try as you might though, you can’t move happiness over without tipping the scales and throwing off the balance.

So you stand in a state of flux; wanting happiness of course, but paralyzed at the dilemma of risking everything on the one side to seize upon your happiness. The longer you do nothing, the worse you feel because you live in the conscious knowledge that you are unfulfilled and fulfillment is becoming increasingly important t you. Fulfillment you assert, will bring you happiness.

You are faced with this choice; you must either find happiness in the work you currently do, or you must find happiness elsewhere in some new activity. Going on day after day without making a change of some sort is not going to result in anything different and to expect you’ll rediscover or ignite some happiness on a long-term basis without action isn’t realistic.

Of course if you have the ability to stay in an organization but assume new challenges, you owe it to yourself to do whatever is necessary to bring about that change. Talk with the boss, maybe HR, meet with Supervisors in other departments and put out some feelers.

Ah but if there are no options such as those above, you may have to cut loose your ties, free yourself from the trap of the status quo and take that leap of faith by pursuing happiness somewhere else. Your friends, family and current co-workers might not understand it, they will definitely question it, but they might secretly envy you for it too. They might see it as your mid-life crisis but for you its saving yourself; this one chance to finally take a risk and live!

It could mean a return to school to re-educate or update your skills and knowledge. You’ll burn with a love for learning though. It might mean a whole new career doing something others see as a step down but isn’t that their issue not yours? If you know or feel confident you know what will make you truly happy, staying where you will only eventually have you disappointed in yourself. You may grow despondent, become bitter and resent  the choice you failed to make. Following conventional wisdom may be safe but safety has its limitations.

So on this Valentines Day, look around the workplace and give a thought to the work you do. Love it? Feel fulfilled and happy for the most part? Excellent! If you don’t feel passion for the work however, if the lustre is gone and the fire that once fueled you on a daily basis, it might be time to make some changes.