Bang Away Or Find The Right Fit

Have you ever left a job under poor circumstances and vowed to make a fresh start with another employer; one where no one knows you – only to find that things turn out pretty much the same in a short time?

Despite the change in scenery, co-workers, supervisor and job, things just haven’t changed all that much. You’re starting to wonder if every job is going to be like this? You’re questioning how all these people you work with can like going in day after day with a smile on their face? When it goes wrong in multiple places, in various kinds of jobs, the common denominator keeps coming up… well, you.

Now wait! That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ‘THE PROBLEM’. Nor does it always have to be this way.

Recall the toddler toy where there’s a bunch of wooden or plastic, brightly coloured shapes, and there’s a corresponding cut out of a shape into which the piece fits. Watch a child at place and try all they want, that red triangle won’t go into the yellow square or the blue circle hole. Eventually, the toddler figures it out and looks up with a big smile at what they’ve both achieved and learned in the process.

As you continue to watch, when all the pieces are removed again, the toy becomes a little easier to play and takes less time to solve. The child also will look around and call attention to their success by saying, “Watch me!” In so doing, they want to show off what they’ve learned and get rewarded with a, “Good for you!”

If you haven’t taken the necessary time to get to know yourself fully – and people evolve and change with the passing of time – you might not be a problem, you just haven’t found the right fit yet. Now that single block is easy to figure out; it’s shape and colour. There’s an easily recognized corresponding shape and colour slot too. Assessing your strengths, preferences, skills, experience, education, attitude, areas for improvement, learning style – these are some of the things which make you who you are. Networking, online research, investigating company culture, reading job postings, interviewing people in the jobs you find interesting, checking out the commute, the dress code, the vision, mission statement etc. of companies as well as their reputations; these make up the research which provides the information you need to assess the likelihood of a good fit.

Here’s the problem; most people assume they know themselves and don’t want to bother putting out a lot of effort in researching companies they might not even apply to. That seems like a lot of work and with very little reward; a waste of time. But what’s a greater waste of time is not bothering with these two critical steps and going through a cycle of applying, getting hired, fired, applying again, getting rejected, finally getting interviews, rejected, still applying, finally getting another interview, getting hired and quitting, or leaving under poor circumstances. It’s like that toddler just banging pieces into the wrong slots and expecting the piece to go in. It’s not the toy that’s at fault, it’s just that reasoning things out hasn’t happened yet at the child’s end. There will always be a perfect fit for each piece.

Likewise, there will always be a perfect fit for you with respect to a job and an employer. Sure you can jump from job to job and hope the fit is good, but more often than not, it will appear that way at first and soon become obvious to the company you’re not the right person for the job, or to you that the job isn’t the right fit for you.

So how much time do you have to invest just randomly moving from job to job? With each bad fit and failure, are you learning anything or just writing off bad experiences and taking nothing away you can learn next time? Be cautious! These series of failures can lead you to develop a short fuse; a bad attitude; a ‘me against the world’ attitude. The person you turn out to be could be very different from the person you were meant to be; a darker, less attractive soul who others want to be around less and less. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

When a child struggles to understand how the pieces get inside, another child or adult who has mastered the concept will take a piece and slowly slide it in the corresponding hole and not letting go, move it back and forth then drop it. The child watching may have to be shown a few times, but they’ll get it. The new learning is shortly mastered and the toy eventually becomes a, ‘Time how long it takes me to do this!” challenge; it’s easier.

This is no different from getting help figuring out the self-assessment piece of who you really are in the here and now. You can also get help learning how to do employer research too. When you know yourself fully and seek out the best fits, you actually speed up the time between where you are now and being employed where you should be. In the right situation, you’re not a problem at all; you’re a success with a big smile on your face. Soon you’ll want everyone around you to view your achievements too.

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.