You may have a job to go to every morning, a paycheck you collect twice a week and health insurance-but, are you happy? You may think, “What do I have to complain about, I should count myself as one of the lucky ones.” True, but are you happy? If you are still pondering this question, welcome to the world of the “under-employed.”
The Career Rebel
Like zombies looking for their next meal, your career can start to resemble the survival of the last few humans looking to escape the clutches of a hungry mob. Which begs the question, does your career deserve a proper burial or perhaps a resurrection? It’s no time to give up even when you’ve lost all hope?
The concept of “work” is a bi-product of the Industrial Revolution where you needed to produce in order to survive. But today, work has taken on a whole new meaning or has it? Have we just bought into the notion that we are living in a material world and it’s the only thing we need to focus on in order to move through this lifetime?
Your career can start to resemble the dating field, a little uncertain, a little frustrating and sometimes, full of surprises. Not knowing what you are looking for in your next career move is okay. No one said you have to get it right out of the gate. Interviewing until you know what is right for you can resemble dating, but at least at the end of the process you won’t need to worry about who is going to pick up the tab.
You just don’t stumble into your career these days, you need to claim it, seize it and by all means retain it if you want to get ahead. Staking your career claim is like venturing into uncharted terrain looking for the last piece of unclaimed land like the Land Rush of the 1800’s.
What’s on your holiday wish list this year? Are you still looking for the right relationship, enough money in the bank, the perfect job or maybe a raise? Are you grateful for what you have or are you still searching for a reason to get up in the morning? Have you been deservedly naughty or particularly nice and just waiting for a bounty of beautiful gifts to descend upon you? Whatever your lot in life you are in a unique position to hit the reset button and start over as the New Year approaches.
During this holiday season and sometimes throughout the year, we need to be reminded that it’s ok to give, share and spread the wealth especially in a crowded job market.
It’s not about what you do that defines who you are as a person although I think our society and how we are programmed culturally often portrays a different image. And so it might seem that the “larger than life” your response is to the question “What you do for a living” may further the perception that you are as big as your title and your paycheck.
Trying to stay focused on your original plan, you continue to go out of your way to make it work even when nothing is coming together for you. Do you dare ask yourself, “Is it time to initiate a Plan B?”
Ring Ring, no answer. Ping, Ping no reply. Does this sound like a tune you’ve heard over and over again? It’s called “the silent treatment” and if you’ve ever heard the sounds of crickets when you try to reach out to a recruiter for a job you’ve been dying to interview for, you are probably not alone. The silent treatment doesn’t mean that a recruiter does not want you. It just means that given the amount of people banging down their door, you are let’s just say, not necessarily a priority.
Sometimes you think any road looks better than the one you are on. Knowing you have choices in how you get there might help lessen the burden of thinking you’ve got to decide fast in order to get back on track. Not so. There are many roads that lead to your goal. Choosing one that’s right for you are part of the process and it’s not so much about racing to the get there, it’s just important you eventually get there.
You may make the mistake of thinking that the only way to change your circumstances is to make a clean break. Sometimes that strategy helps, other times it can be seen as an over-reaction in your attempt to shake things up. When you are in doubt about your circumstances, whether you should stay or whether you should go, or think about moving to a new job, stop, and ask, “Could I improve my situation instead?”
Which ride would you be? You can tell a lot about a person by what they do in their leisure time. You might ask how this helps you in your career pursuits but just hold on to your teacups and let me explain. Exploring what motivates you personally may help you define what motivates you professionally. You might seek to balance your lifestyle in a way that supports you professionally. Meaning you may be on the go at work and desire a more leisurely sport, or you may have a more sedentary job and therefore go thrill seeking during your playtime.
Wonder why recruiters are not returning your calls? How many resumes have you sent with little or no response? Ever wonder why a recruiter is reluctant to provide “feedback” in the hopes it will help you figure out what you are doing wrong in an interview? Next time you get the cold shoulder or a blank stare from a recruiter you might just stop and reflect, “Am I committing “recruitercide?”
You can’t be anymore inspired or motivated to change your job, rethink your career strategy or plot your next move as outlined in the new movie, “Horrible Bosses.” Hey desperate times as they say require desperate measures. I’m not suggesting you hire a hit man (or wanna-be hit man) to take out your boss or any colleagues who might be getting in your way towards career advancement. However, when it comes time to really reflect on how miserable you might be, keep one thing in mind: any alternative starts to look good when you are stuck in the middle working for a horrible boss.
Like a car that changes shape as it picks up speed, your job, can change shape, accelerate or derail just as quickly. The only difference is you are in the driver’s seat and are able to defend your right to pursue the career you were meant to lead. Having faith in yourself and in your ability to know what you are good at and what talents, skills and tools you have to contribute will help you know whether you are living your dream or are in need of a transformation.
As a colleague recently described, “Your job search is like the airlines. You have candidates in arrivals, those waiting in the departure lounge and then there are those who are lost in baggage claim.” When your job search resembles a plane stuck on the tarmac, it’s time to take matters into your own hands as opposed to waiting for a queue from air traffic control!Managing your career these days can feel like a trip to nowhere when all you want to do is get home. When the gates seemed closed, move forward and find the next flight out.
Much like a mad dash through the drive-through at your local fast food, your job search can take on a strange twist as the employment situation looks bleak and competition takes center stage. Not sure whether you are choosing large fries with that combo? Your job search offers the same challenges as it relates to whether you truly know what you want from your next career move from what you think you want. When your job search resembles an In & Out Burger, how do you keep your job order straight and make sure you end up with what you want vs. what someone else ordered for you?
Do you find yourself questioning your career sensibilities lately? Doubting how well you can respond to change or if you lack a certain something to get ahead? If you believe you’ve lost your “career mojo” don’t feel bad because we all have periods of self-doubt. If you believe you have strayed too far from where you thought you were headed, it’s not too late to turn it around. Getting your career mojo back may take time, but it’s certainly not as impossible as you may now think.
Knowing when to put yourself on the line for what you believe in these days can be a precarious task. Trusting yourself more than you trust your co-worker may be your first line of defense. Now you have to weigh the odds even when the top brass encourages you to “speak freely” under promises of providing an “open work environment.” Not true. When in doubt you have two choices: 1) Put up or, 2) Shut up.
Making sense of the rules and regulations that govern every aspect of our lives, particularly how we work and whom we choose to work with, isn’t always a case of black and right. You think there is a higher judge, a fairness police that sorts it all out, making the nimrods with jobs seem like the lucky ones when the rest of us need to struggle to survive the politics. Not knowing which end is up is never easy. Not knowing which end is down is even harder. When the rules of the game change and you seem to be lost in figuring it out, don’t sweat the small stuff, just change the rules.
Walking on a tight rope? Feeling like you may need them, but they don’t necessarily need you? Wondering when you might be fired or worse just “ignored” enough to make you want to quit? Managing to survive in your career when the odds are building up against you takes a certain amount of courage and guts. It’s not easy not to feel wanted or needed when you were hired to do a job and you feel like you are constantly looking over your shoulder, uninvited to attend meetings or questioned at every turn.
Figuring out what you want from what you don’t want when the choices are not always abundant or exciting, may make you feel like you are forced into a corner without too much wiggle room. When you are faced with the inevitable challenge of choosing a job when the choices are limited, make room for yourself and move the borders. Knowing that there are limitless choices in the Universe of Jobs makes it easier for you not to feel like you are sorting fact from fiction in your quest for your next career adventure.
Spring is the time to get rid of the old to make way for the new. Flowers do it. Birds do it. So why don’t you do it? It’s okay to take stock of what’s not working in your life. But do you ever focus on what is working in your life and do you take it for granted? Purging the past to make way for the new doesn’t mean just going through your closet to see what does or does not fit. Accepting what does not work and heralding what does work makes your career cleanse an easy process.
Like Rapunzel in the ivory tower throwing down her long braid in hopes of a rescue, does your career feel like you need more than a prince on a white horse to help you out? Having a job these days has become more than a blessing given the alternative. But do you somehow feel that you are sacrificing more than you think? Feeling trapped in your situation even though you are collecting a paycheck is not any better than not having a job-you’re tangled by your circumstances no matter which side of the braid you are holding.