Not Contributing? Just Hanging On?


You’ve met them and you recognized the tell-tale signs almost immediately; the apparent lack of interest and focus, the extended breaks and lunch periods, the internet surfing that doesn’t seem work-related whatsoever. I refer to the people who have lost their enthusiasm for what they once were passionate about; the ones who everyone around them knows should move on, but who for reasons of their own just keep hanging on.

It’s ironic that what such a person believes they are hiding so well from others is so blatantly obvious to anyone who spends any time at all with them. From the moment they park their car or get off the bus, you can see it there in their body language. You know, the casual saunter in to the office not a minute too soon or possibly even a few minutes past one’s starting time – on a regular basis. There’s no ambition to arrive a moment earlier than necessary, for there are 7 or more long hours in front of them to do whatever mundane tasks that come their way.

Of the real work that they are paid to do, there’s a noticeable drop in both quality and quantity. Frequent walks around the office, conversations with other employees, nipping out for a walk, doing their personal online shopping on company time or talking with people on the phone which appears to be personal and not professional – well, you get the idea.

So why do they hang around? Why not just chuck it in and get on with pursuing their retirement, a hobby or investing themselves in pursuing other lines of work they would be better suited for? Good questions!

For some of course it’s the pension. The longer one stays employed the more they are building up some company or government pension perhaps. Maybe they’ve looked ahead at their looming retirement and figured that whatever pension they receive will be based on their 5 best years of income, and so it makes sense to them to keep showing up for another 3 years to maximize that benefit for the duration of their retired years. Those 3 years seem like a prison sentence.

Thing is, it’s not just the employee now who is underperforming. Their quality of work has the potential to cause others to cut their own efficiencies to match the senior worker. After all, if he or she is dogging it and underperforming but from all appearances isn’t in any danger of losing their job, some others might feel inclined to do likewise.

Somehow though these senior staff seem to have immunity to discipline; well it can look that way to their fellow employees. After all they reason, everyone knows the quantity of work has dropped because others have had to pick up the slack. The fact that they keep coming in every day and underperforming would seem to show that nothing has been said to them or if it has, it’s fallen on deaf ears.

It could be a whole combination of things going on in that person’s professional and personal life that’s caused this drop in production and plain malaise. Personal disappointment that they didn’t advance in the organization as they once imagined; lack of recognition for what they’ve achieved, jealousy over others accomplishments they see as their juniors. Outside of the workplace, there could be pressures such as strife at home, health or financial problems, a mortgage that won’t be paid off 5 years after retiring, more financial strains caused by changes in family size, new grandkids, car payments, promised exotic trips that will put pressure on one’s savings. Who knows?

Weighing a persons contributions in the past to their present value is a tough position to be in for management. An employee might have the broad respect of the entire workforce for what they’ve added to a company or team, but the flip side of that coin is, “What have you done for us lately?” After all, businesses must stay competitive and their workers diligent to compete. Dead wood on the payroll at any level is a liability some organizations just can’t tolerate.

Of course other workers would be wise to focus not on the performance of others but rather on doing their own jobs to the best they are able. When it becomes problematic is when the actions, (or lack of actions) of one impact on the performance of others. So a Customer Service Representative who isn’t getting back to their client base, resulting in increased workloads of co-workers dealing with angry and frustrated callers who feel ignored becomes a major problem. Those frustrated customers might just take their business elsewhere and even more damaging, spread the word.

Know when it’s time to go and go out on top. Sounds like a reasonable plan when your highly productive, retirement is 18 years away and you’re still working with drive and commitment to excellence. Just about anyone can see this in others. Be it an élite athlete who’s lost their lustre or a musician that can’t reach the notes they once hit with dependability, there comes a time when … well, it’s time. Not many can hang around and still perform.

Look, you have to do what is right for you based on your own personal situation. However, the same holds true for employers with businesses to run. It won’t do you any good to be forced out. That could leave you bitter and resentful; and it’s likely you don’t want that to be your legacy.

Please Don’t Delay Your Job Search


Many people eventually experience a disruption in the continuity of their work history. That is to say they find themselves out of work either by choice or through means out of their control. Depending on why one is out of work, it is reasonable to take a break for reasons of physical and/or mental health; the length of which can vary greatly. Yet wait too long before jumping back in and you could have added challenges.

The most obvious problem that comes to mind is the gap of time between your last job and the present day. If the days turn grow into month’s, you should expect a prospective employer is going to question what you’ve done with your time. The reason this is of interest to them is because typically they like to hire people who use their time profitably; who keep up good work habits – often labelled as having a good work ethic.  You may not have paid employment it’s true, but how have you used your time to your advantage?

Now while it’s no one’s business but your own, another key reason to get back in the hunt for paid employment is to shore up the financial bleeding that unemployment accompanies. Sure you might have employment insurance of some kind where you live, but the weeks you are entitled to receive these benefits does go by quickly. True, you might also have severance pay from your last employer, but the sooner you get working, the more you can see these as additional funds and not your only funds.

You could also find – although you would never have thought so in the past – that you come to find certain aspects of being out of work attractive. So much so in fact, that giving what it takes to find work, often described as a full-time job itself, is more work than you’re ready to put in. This isn’t good! You could be falling into a bad situation where you’re rationalizing that your new-found free time is your right to enjoy; that you’ve had it all wrong up to now.

If you’re in a situation where you’ve got a second income in the family from a partner, could be that you’re immediate need to contribute financially to meet payments isn’t that urgent. While this is the case, your partner might now be caught in a very uncomfortable situation of wanting you working to contribute financially, but also not wanting to put too much pressure on you to get a job. Caught up in this predicament, they might be feeling increasing pressure at the same time you seem to be feeling very little pressure at all. This isn’t a good recipe for a happy partnership.

Of course as many people find, conditions in the job market change from time to time, as does how to even go about finding work. Many people who have to suddenly find work after decades of having held jobs find they don’t know how to go about it. The memories they have of handing out resumes in person and their personal experiences of having found getting a job easily are soon replaced with current realities; the job search experience has shifted and continues to evolve.

I need not tell many readers that the issue of age crops up often too. I’ve got people in their mid-forties telling me they are feeling their age is working against them. If 20 somethings are saying they aren’t being taken seriously because they lack experience, have we got to where only the 30 somethings are the ideal age to find work? Let’s hope not!

Despite all the above, there is another reason – the most troubling quite frankly and the hardest to overcome – that you should get back into the job search earlier and not later. You could develop a very unattractive attitude of bitterness, resentment or anger. Without even being aware of it, you might not be able to help it showing on your face, in your sighs of exasperation, your body language etc. Suddenly you’re at risk of becoming a prematurely old and bitter person who may have the skills to do the job and the experience, but the attitude you’ve come to own makes you a bad hiring choice.

It’s only natural to look at ourselves and see what we’ve got to offer an employer. We know more than anyone what skills and experience we have and how these could benefit others. Unfortunately, what we may fail to see when we look at things from this perspective is the people we are up against for employment and what they offer. Employer’s don’t have this dilemma. They have the benefit of having many applicants from which to choose for the jobs they interview for. They therefore look not just at the skills, education and experience applicants have, but at the intangibles too; the feelings they get from the conversations they have.

These feelings – call them gut reactions if you will – they pay attention to. They are trying to address the chemistry that will exist if you’re hired. Will you add to something positive or bring negativity and disrupt the current situation. A growing period of unemployment can make coming across as upbeat, positive, happy and enthusiastic harder to do, if not downright impossible.

Sure take a reasonable break after your employment ends to refocus on finding your next job; but do get going!

How You And Your Work Part Ways


Sooner or later we’ll all be gone be it retired, fired, quit, laid off, contract ended, downsized, company relocated, or one of several other possibilities. It will either come about for reasons within or beyond our personal control but it will come about as I say inevitably; one day you’re working and the next you’re not.

When it does happen it will be a cause for any number of emotions. You could find yourself feeling jubilant, excited, let down, angry, shocked, satisfied, sad, desperate etc. Even the way you walk out the door for the last time will be handled in any of several ways. You could find yourself having a big party thrown in your honour surrounded by all the co-workers you’ve had over a number of years with your partner invited to work for the big occasion. Equally possible is you could walk out figuring it’s just another day and come to work the next only to find the building entrance locked and the company out of business with a, “Closed: Have a nice day” sign taped to a chained fence.

Ouch! That last scenario is a bit tough to imagine; surely that doesn’t really happen? Oh yes it can and it has. Well hopefully for both you and I it won’t come to that!

Let’s look not at what might happen beyond our control because as it suggests, we have no control over situations dictated by others. Let’s look at things from the viewpoint that we’re going to leave on our own terms. We may work into retirement, quit or have a contract end which we knew would happen when we agreed to the contract duration in the first place.

As far as contract work goes, there are people who take contracts out of necessity because they have been unsuccessful at landing permanent part-time or full-time jobs. Others take contract work as their personal preference; stringing together contract after contract. For these folks, they see a variety of employers and starting over again and again as desirable. For example in an Administrative Support role, they might enjoy parachuting in to cover a maternity leave for a year or less and then just as they get restless and want a change, their contract period is looming and they leave before they become bored and less productive. They move on and now it’s covering for someone off on sick leave and they are welcomed as they take some of the pressure off others doing double duty.

If you’re the kind of person who likes the variety contract work brings, you’re likely okay with the instability of the security contract work has; you trade that off willingly for the stimulation of change. When you walk out the door of a company you’re not as emotionally attached to the desk you worked at, the people you worked alongside; a job is a job and it’s on to the next one.

Turning to look at quitting is a different experience depending on the reasons behind the reason you’re walking away from the work. You might quit for health reasons, a distaste for the work, to avoid being fired if you think that’s coming, or of course for a better job, a move to another city, This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, just some of the reasons you might walk out.

When you do quit, the, “How will I do it?” question arises. Will you just walk out and not tell anyone you’re not returning the next day? Will you march into the Boss and let her know face-to-face that you’re quitting and give her a piece of your mind in the process? Or, will you take her out for lunch and pay for it with some of your lottery winnings? (One can dream can’t one?)

I suppose the question in quitting is whether you seek to keep the relationship with the employer as positive as you can or do you just not care because in your mind you’re never coming back and won’t be affected negatively in the future. By the way, Life has a charming way of bringing many things around full circle so my advice is to always leave on the best terms possible.

Retirement is attractive if you have something to look forward to; some satisfying way to spend your time; for time is what people cite as the reason for going. Time to spend with the grandkids, time to travel, time to relax, time for me, time for us, time…time…time…

Timing your retirement is what it’s all about from an efficiency point of view too. You want to leave before your employer and co-workers resent you just hanging on doing less and less while they pick up the slack more and more. You want that last day to be a good one; whether you want a party or a quiet exit with a simple hug or handshake at the end of the day, you want to walk out with your head high and feeling appreciated for all those years you invested.

Looking at how you and your work part ways now might give you some measure of control about both when and how it will happen. The advantage in thinking ahead gives you the power and comfort of controlling what you can. This of course makes it a positive experience to embrace.

 

 

 

It’s Time For A New Job When…


These days the likelihood that you’re going to get a job at 19 and retire in that same job at 67 are almost nil. So it stands to reason that in your lifetime you’ll be transitioning from one job to another, or from one career to another. When’s the best time to go? How do you know when it’s time to go? Here’s a list of some indicators that your expiry date is almost up.

The first thing you do at work when you fire up the computer is to search internal job postings. If you’ve got into the routine of looking at what else you could be doing, it’s fair to assume you like the organization you’re in but have an interest in seeing what other opportunities there are. Sure you could just be checking out what’s opening up out of casual interest, but EVERY DAY? Don’t kid yourself; recognize the lustre has worn off what you’re currently doing.

Your boss suggests moves rather than promotions. Oh oh… If you had the skills your organization needs for those at the next level you’d be sitting down with the boss and they’d be encouraging you to put your name forward for upcoming openings at their level. However, if the boss is suggesting you look elsewhere so you can grow in other ways, that could be a sign you’ve reached a plateau. Are you a bad worker? No, not necessarily. In fact, they might just have your own best interests at heart when they suggest you look elsewhere for opportunities. Maybe they see potential in you in fact but know there aren’t going to be those kind of openings where you work now for years. The boss isn’t always bad y’know.

You wake up, realize it’s a, ‘go to work day’ and start thinking of reasons you could call in and skip out on showing up. Oh sure I suppose everybody does this once in a blue moon; especially on a sunny warm day when you’d rather be out in the sunshine. But if you’re finding these kind of thoughts are among the first to enter your consciousness on a regular basis,  you’d be smart to pay heed and address why you’re automatically looking to get out of going in to work instead of looking forward to the day.

You look around at work and see conspirators, not co-workers. While it’s true your co-workers need not be your friends, you do spend a lot of time with the folks you work with and so it’s reasonable to expect you’d at least communicate and support one another in your common organizational targets and goals. That being said, if you feel your co-workers are plotting against you, setting you up as the fall guy for projects that fail and you’re left holding the bag for things you feel you aren’t solely responsible for, ask yourself why no one has your back. Is it worth it to stay in what is being a toxic environment?

You’re counting down the days to retirement. First off let me acknowledge that if you’ve got less than a year to go, I can see the reasoning and the behaviour, so I’m not talking about you. However, I once worked with a person who had 7 years to go and kept checking off the days on their calendar on a daily basis. There focus was pinned on getting out as if they were serving a life sentence and had weekend visitations with their family. Is that any way to live? It certainly isn’t living in the present but rather pinning all ones thoughts and hopes on what will be in 7 years. Think of what you’re missing.

Anxiety, Stress and Uncertainty are your new best friends. If you find yourself anxious on a regular basis, you’re not sure why and can’t put your finger on it but you seem to have lost your focus that could be more than concerning it could be downright lethal. Exaggeration? Not if you work around heavy equipment, power tools or at heights etc. When you’re not thinking straight you put yourself and those around you in danger.

Anonymous hands put job postings on your desk; external job postings. When someone or worse yet, some people put external job postings on your desk it might signal you’re no longer tight with the in-crowd. While it might not matter to you at all, being excluded from simple things like joining others for a walk at break time or drinks at the pub after work could work against you and grow feelings of social isolation. If this is something you value, being excluded and essentially having it suggested to you that you should resign and move on could really sting.

The thrill is gone. What a great line from that oldies classic. But there is a reason that line endures over time; everybody who has ever lost the fire and passion gets it. If your job has become a chore and nothing more; if you find yourself watching the minutes drag by until quitting time….

Stay or go of course, it’s your choice. If you opt to stay at least make some kind of an adjustment in your thinking, looking at what you could do to make it better. If you opt to go, you could be giving yourself a tremendous gift. And who deserves it more than you?

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.

 

 

When It Ends How Long Do You Wait?


The job is over and apparently it didn’t end well. How long you wait before launching a new job search largely depends on two key factors: what else is going on in your life and what state of mind are you in at the moment.

Simply put, you can be self-motivated to find a new job but find that the distractions going on around you in your life make giving the job search the focus it requires an impossibility. You could also be conflicted in wanting to work; needing to work, but so mentally fragile due to how a job ended that you’d be better off taking some time to process and resolve things first.

For many people, losing their job has a similar impact as losing a loved one. You could be in shock when it happens, angry, might even go so far as to try to plead your case to have the termination undone or pray to God to have it back. Then eventually you come to terms with things and move on. Just as different people grieve the loss of people in varying amounts of time, the same is true of mourning the loss of employment.

Now of course it doesn’t always end with a termination for a job to end badly. No, you could quit a job due to harassment or where the working conditions were so toxic and your physical and/or mental health were being so negatively impacted that you quit to preserve your safety and sanity. In such a case you made the decision yourself to leave and that decision put the control in your hands, but the fact you are unemployed and the stress that brings are still taxing.

Remember though some people have to have some things end before they can turn their attention to new and better things. So while yes many people would look for another job while employed and make a seamless transition between the two, for others the one must end before they can invest energy in finding a new one. There are after all just so many hours in a day and your hours of work may preclude a real job search if you’re sleeping when the Hiring Managers of the world are working.

We are all different though aren’t we? In so many glorious ways we differ from those around us. Were we to sit down in a room of people in the same relative situation we found ourselves in, we’d find varying opinions on how long is right to wait between ending one job and starting another.

Some people would like a week or two; seeing the time as a holiday of sorts. Sufficient time to relax a little, decompress and even spend a little money on fun things or extravagances knowing that secure income is guaranteed in the near future. These folks find the 2 weeks healthy and see it as a transition period, washing away the anguish of a bad experience and living in anticipation of a better one.

Ah but then there are others for whom the trauma is so intense it is as if they are paralyzed. These people are fragile, unstable, finding it difficult to cope with the simplest of daily tasks. Their self-esteem is leveled, their confidence shattered and they question their decisions on everything from what to eat to what to wear. For these folks, the pressure of launching a full-time job search is unthinkable. The problem is that to look at them from the outside, they may be doing an adequate job of masking all this; they look, “normal”.

Creditors, landlords, banks and other people to whom they have obligations don’t generally sympathize to the point where they are willing to forgo payments however so the pressure is on to get a job and do it quick. The outcome then is people looking for work who are not marketing themselves as they would otherwise; they are damaged, broken, wounded and reeling – but all of this internally.

Of course there are those who even when a job ends terribly have the self-confidence intact and the fortitude to pick themselves up and get out there immediately. These are the realists I suppose; life sent them a lemon but rather than making lemonade, they opt for something entirely new altogether and no job is going to land at their doorstep unless they get out there, so out they go!

On the other end of the scale however are those for whom the trauma is extreme. They may go not just weeks or months without really even looking for work but perhaps a year or more. They wouldn’t wish it so, but they are entirely incapable of moving forward in this one area of their life. The danger of course is that this one area impacts all the others; income, housing, finance, debts and assets, social integration, recreation and discretionary activities, family and friends dynamics etc.

“Just deal with it and move on” is often what people hear when a job ends badly. In a way that flippant (and often annoying) advice is the best advice in the broadest sense. “Dealing with it” however, well that’s where those who give the advice are often the ones who can accelerate the transitional grieving period faster themselves.

Got someone going through this you know? Be patient and supportive, help as you’re able and wait.

Give Up; No One Is Hiring


You might as well pack it in right now and save yourself a lot of rejection, disappointment and time; nobody is hiring. All the employers out there have all the people they need; they are entirely satisfied with the talent they’ve currently got and there’s no new businesses opening up where you live either. On top of that, some employers were actually over-staffed recently and they’ve made up their minds to let some of their people go which makes looking for a job yourself even harder. Just give up.

Oh and you were thinking maybe you’d look into getting a job for Christmas? Yeah you should think again because the malls have done all their hiring and everybody they offered a job to accepted it and is working out great being trained for the big holiday shopping season. You’re too late; next year start applying in October.

Looking at the calendar, you should probably start thinking about looking for work in January; after all it’s a new year and you can start fresh with a whole new attitude right? Actually, come to think of it, who hires anybody in January? Christmas help is no longer needed so all the businesses are actually letting their staff go and some close down so the owners can take their Florida vacations because business is so slow.

Yep, you should start thinking ahead to say, March or April when a lot of organizations typically do most of their hiring. Let’s see…that’s November, December, January, February, March; 5 months from now. 5 months? That’s like half a year almost! Who’s going to hire you after being out of work for half a year? Probably nobody; no, definitely nobody. By then your references are out of date or they will have moved and you won’t be able to track them down. Your skills will have become rusty too. Might as well forget it altogether.

Do you believe any of this? Unfortunately there are some that will word for word. Some will believe it simply because it’s on the internet so it must be true. Others will believe it because they genuinely don’t know any better. A few will believe it because an Employment Counsellor (and therefore someone who they view as credible and in-the-know) is saying it. Another group will want to believe it because they aren’t looking at all and will want to use what I’ve said up to now as their justification for not working.

What you believe becomes your truth; your experience, your reality.

Say something long enough to yourself and it can become what you truly believe and impede you from coming to experience the way things truly are. Essentially  you create your own vision of the world as you live it.

Now perhaps you’re thinking I’m nuts, I’m loony, I’m smoking something that’s disturbing my usual good thought process. Your rebuttal is,  “Ah but if it was only as easy as that I’d have a job in no time.”

You argue that had I wrote everyone is hiring, getting a job is easy, there are jobs everywhere, now is the best time to look for work etc. and people believed this, they’d all run out and get good jobs right away. Well no, I don’t believe that to be the case and I don’t believe many readers would either.

You see it’s easier to believe pessimistic news and views as real than it is to believe optimistic news and views as true.  People tend to be cautious and question the good. They say things like, “Really? I’m not so sure about that”, or “Well, I’ll have to think about that one before I believe it.” Tell the same people pessimistic news and they’ll more often agree right away with comments like, “Aha! I knew it all along” or “See I told you so, nobody is hiring and here’s a professional who agrees with me.”

Job searching can often be a drawn out frustrating experience and a large number of people looking for work do wonder where their next job will come from and how long will it take. If you’ve never questioned out loud, “Will I ever get hired?” at least once consider yourself lucky.

Don’t give up; don’t pack it in. You’ll be tempted more than once to give up and on the days when you’re really fighting and struggling with your energy and resolve, maybe you should put it aside for the day and do other things that you enjoy more. However, get back to the job search and go about it with a plan; a plan that if adhered to, removes your barriers to finding the job you want.

Look, people are hiring. Not all employees do work out so there’s always openings and not all those jobs get advertised in traditional ways. Talk with people, look into the organizations you’d like to work with and learn how they operate and what they value in the people they do hire for the jobs you are interested in.

Take a course, volunteer your skills and time, take a part-time job, learn on-line for free, brush up your keyboarding skills or upgrade your education. Be active not idle in other words.

I wonder how many readers only read the first 4 paragraphs and then stopped because it seemed so negative? Then again, I wonder how many stopped in the 5th paragraph because it started sounding positive?

 

 

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.

Time To Move On?


As very few people anymore retire from jobs in their mid-sixties that they started in their early twenties, it’s a pretty safe statement to say that all of us at some point are going to move from one job to another. As it would be peculiarly odd to suddenly wake up one morning and decide to quit one job and look for another with no prior thoughts of doing so, it’s equally safe to say then that we evaluate where we are and our happiness in a job on a regular basis.

Now don’t misconstrue my meaning; I’m sure you don’t sit down with an evaluation sheet and check off how you’re feeling and how you’re being challenged or not in your present job. However, I do believe that like me, you recognize in yourself positive or negative moods and feelings as you prepare to leave home for work. As you go about your day, you’re probably pretty in tune with your emotions; whether you feel stressed, overwhelmed, happy, valued and in the end content with how things are.

If you are happy in your job, you decide to keep doing what you’re currently doing and you stay. If however you find you’re not as happy and content as you’d like to be, you have two choices; continue with the job as it is and be unhappy or change something up and then evaluate your happiness once the change has occurred. This process is true not just of your work happiness and career choice but of many things in life.

As much as we all want a measure of happiness with the work we do, the employer we work for and the products or services we produce, there does come a time when upon reflection, we opt for change. If the urge for change is dramatic – such as loathing the work we do or having an ethical or moral conflict with the products we contribute to make and distribute, we have a much easier time rationalizing and justifying to ourselves giving up that job or career to look for another which is a better fit. If on the other hand our motivation for looking for another job is only slight; the money is good, the benefits are good, the people around us are good – we’re just not being mentally challenged – we might stick it out longer than we should and look for another job with less urgency.

Remember that looking for another job is a natural activity; looking for a career in another field altogether is also something that many people encounter at least once in their lifetime and sometimes two or three times.

Your interests and needs change as you evolve and age. What you may have found uninteresting and boring in your early years you may come to appreciate and seek out later in life. As an older adult, your skills will have increased with experience and where you may find your quicker to grasp the bigger picture of things in the workplace, you may also find as you age that your body reacts differently to the demands of the job you once performed with ease.

Let me ask you a question. If you could change jobs right now and you’d maintain the same wages as the job you currently hold or receive an increase in wages, would you stay where you are or would you move on? If the answer comes quickly with a resounding yes, then it may be that financial security is a key barrier to finding your true happiness when it comes to the work you do. Unfortunately, there are many people who, fearful of the transition period from one job to another and the lack of income that they envision if things take longer than expected, stay in jobs they’ve long since if ever felt any real passion for.

For this reason, it’s a cracker of an idea to set aside each pay period a small percentage of your income as a contingency fund for just such a time when you move from one job to another. Suppose you had enough to live on comfortably for 6 months say. If you grew increasingly disinterested in your job, you’d be less stressed quitting the one to search full-time for another with funds to cushion the transition period, and you’d be motivated to find work before the funds run out.

Of course you don’t always need to quit one job before finding another. Many folks are well equipped to do their full-time job while they actively look for another to replace it. If you can handle this addition and not have your current work suffer in any way then it may be wise to do so. On the other hand, if you find you’re exhausted and have no energy to look for meaningful work after your existing job concludes for the day, you might be better suited to quit the one, then after a week to clear your head, move at full speed and look for another.

Possibly the worse thing you can do for the company who now employs you, your own mental health and those who surround you in your personal life is in fact what so many people end up doing; staying in a job where you’re losing your enthusiasm. Holding on for the income while losing your happiness is a bad trade-off.

Unemployed: The Emotional Toll


Let’s dive right in. You’re growing increasingly isolated from your friends, bills aren’t getting paid in full, savings are a thing of the past, skills are outdated, references are becoming harder to get, and you’re cutting both cable and the land line while eating a lot less healthy foods. Your psyche is becoming more fragile, your swagger like your clothes has long since stopped being trendy, your self-respect betrayed by a conscious decision to hide the weigh scale in the rear of the bathroom cabinet. Yes, there’s a lot of baggage you’re carrying around with this unemployment.

When it first happened, whether you walked away, were laid off or were terminated, you couldn’t have predicted you’d be out of work so long. “Not me”, you asserted with confidence; “I’ll be working soon. In fact, I’m going to actually give myself a little well-deserved break from work before rushing into my next job.” That ‘well-deserved break’ has long since gone from a break to what seems like a permanent reality. Things are different than they used to be when you’d be able to get yourself a job anytime you felt like it.

The television, once a source of entertainment and relaxation is now a diversion. It’s become a way to escape the prevailing thoughts of failure that are more and more prevalent, day in and day out. All the canned laugh tracks in those sitcoms that once got you laughing along now seem less funny as if they mock your idleness. Even the couch that you loved to lounge on no longer provides the comfort it once did, as you feel the guilt of inactivity every time you sit down for more than 20 minutes. So you stand and pace with nowhere to go, nothing to do – except feel so tired you just want to lay down on the couch again.

Being out of work does much more than drain the bank account. In fact, when you first find yourself out of work there are usually financial support systems already put in place to stave off financial hardship such as severance, employment insurance and if need be, government social assistance. The same is not necessarily true however for the emotional and mental strain of being unemployed. It’s this assault on your mental health that often goes unattended to, and failing to recognize the impact on your mental stability that arises from being out of work for a prolonged period of time, or failing to do anything about it can take an emotional toll with life-long implications.

There are for example some people who, having been out of work for an extended period, eventually regain employment and to all accounts have regained mastery over their mental health. The same individuals however may upon having those memories triggered, re-experience the stress without the loss of work. Being called into the office of the boss or an average performance review could set into motion some fears that the person thought they had left behind but in reality have just been dormant. Even hearing of others who are out of work; a relative of a co-worker who is struggling – any such reminder can bring the past crashing back to the present depending on how severe the person experienced their own unemployment.

On the positive side, we change jobs more frequently than in the lives of past generations. No longer is it common for people to retire from the job they started in their 20’s. So with more people experiencing the transition from one job to the next, the stigma of being out of work is not as rampant as it used to be. It’s still personal when it happens to you of course, and this doesn’t diminish or make light of your own experience, but unemployment is an experience that many around you have shared. Talking openly then about your unemployment will have more empathetic ears than in years past. In other words, if you talk about it, you’ll find understanding instead of condemnation.

Another good thing is that because more people are experiencing job loss, there are more supports in your community than in the past to help in the transition from your past job to your next job. There’s employment coaching, mental health counselling, financial planning, debt consolidation and restructuring and more services to help you deal proactively with your specific predicament. Look, you can’t be expected to be an expert in all areas of life. You’re good at what you do, and it stands to reason there are other people who are specialists in their work. Getting professional help to stabilize things at a time when you may not make the best decisions due to the strain you are under is a good move.

There is for many, a natural tendency to cocoon themselves from the world; hide unemployment and its impact from others, deal with it alone and then emerge transformed into something anew. This can work for some people. However, sharing what you’re experiencing could also lead to opportunities, job offers, leads, contacts; all of which could reduce your time out of work. This isn’t a time to let your pride rule the day. If a friend offers to pay for lunch, let them; they may not have any other way to be helpful. You’re going to get through this, and you’re not alone; help is out there.