Happy at Work? You can be
Did you know that the last week of September is International Week of Happiness at Work? Are you happy at work or would you like to be happier?
2020 has been a tough year for many and few are working as they were at the start of the year. The stresses of being furloughed, introducing Covid secure business practices and having to handle customers with varying attitudes to these new rules may well have changed your perspective on work.
How well has your employer performed and your workplace adapted? Some businesses have acquitted themselves well, generating fierce employee loyalties. Others may have struggled and caused already unhappy employees to disengage further, ready to move on when the time is right.
It’s important to separate these short-term feelings about work that we’re all suffering from to some degree, from the prevailing attitude you had prior to Covid-19. Were you happy at work before? Were you already thinking about a new job or even new career before the virus hit? Are you looking to break free, find a new opportunity or refresh your outlook? Has the pandemic changed your feelings about your happiness at work?
Try asking yourself these two questions.
If not this, then what?
What would you do if you weren’t doing your current job? Perhaps your next career move is alluding you or you’re struggling to find ideas and move on? It’s ok, that’s a common problem and one I coach on regularly. As a highly trained professional, it can be hard to see beyond the daily grind of your current skillset.
Here are three thought processes to help.
You can’t be something you can’t visualise
Maybe you have a mental picture of your new role, but if you’re struggling to see what it is, short of inspiration and bored of unproductive googling, then try stretching your bubble. We’ve all been locked in our personal bubbles for months, so it’s unsurprising that our vision is limited. You need to break out of your current routine and deliberately expose yourself to new ideas.
Find inspiration in a new podcast, TED talk, new book or, take an online class (at least until we can stat rubbing shoulders again). Drive home a different way to normal and pay close attention to those businesses on the route. Anything interesting there?
Your little voice is questioning your dream
You know that little voice that speaks in your ear, sowing seeds of doubt and defeating your cool ideas before they even fully form? We all have it, indeed some have it so strongly that it’s called imposter syndrome. That little voice can be really unhelpful in a new job search because it keeps you in your comfort zone, especially if you have a strong professional identity cultivated over years.
You may find your skill and job defining you, so you need talk to that little voice and question each negative. Next time you hear the voice say, ‘you’d love to do that, but you haven’t got the experience’, write down the thought that comes after the ‘but’. Then ask yourself, ‘How true is that? How can I fix it? What I could I do to bridge the gap? Now use that to quieten that little voice.
You’re focused on the rear-view mirror
Your hard-won work experience is in your rear view sure, but it doesn’t define your future. Think of it as a training ground for your next move.
If you wait to gather 100% of the skills for your next job, you’ll never move on or grow. Maybe there is a very specific skill or competency required, but even if you have a perfect skillset for your next job, you won’t know how the company operates and you’ll need to learn on the job anyway. What’s really stopping you moving on?
You need to focus forward and even then it can be difficult to see how you transfer your skills into a new career when you diversify. It may be that you can’t find the right skills description or language in job adverts.
Try this exercise; write down a list of things you do well (verbs) and a second list of things you love (nouns). Now mix and match these verbs and nouns to create a list of job types or descriptions. Do any of these jobs exist? Start exploring and get outside your normal thinking. The only limit is your imagination.
If not now, then when?
There’s a proverb that says the best time to plant an oak tree was 100 years ago: the second-best time is now. If you’re not happy at work during lockdown, then I can understand why you might be nervous to move jobs just now.
Covid19 has turned the job market upside down, creating thousands of redundancies and a job market packed with highly skilled and experienced candidates.
Yet companies are recruiting and now is as good a time as any to get yourself out in the market. Are you ready to break through your glass ceiling, trade an ok job for an outstanding one or switch careers to find the job of your dreams?
It will be highly competitive and you need to be an outstanding candidate, ready to make a great first impression, demonstrate your skills well and deliver the interview of your career so far.
That means you need to be prepared and ready to move, just in case the right opportunity arises. How up to date is your CV or resume? When did you last go for an interview? How confident would you be having a phone screening interview with a recruiter and then a Zoom interview with a prospective employer. This is the reality for the foreseeable future, so you need to prepare for it.
Do any of the following apply to you?
- Stuck and not sure where to start when it comes to writing a great CV or resume that differentiates you from the crowd?
- Have an old CV, desperately in need of updating, but not sure how to explain your skills?
- Want to write a memorable profile statement that has impact, stickability and doubles as an elevator speech too?
- Looking to change sectors & needing to demonstrate your transferable skills?
- Struggling to find great opportunities with your job search or fed up of being spammed by random recruiters?
- Stressed about your interview prep or anxious about making a great first impression and nailing those interview questions?
It’s a very common place to find yourself, especially if you’ve been employed in one place for a while. You’re out of practice and that’s ok.
Not happy at work and want to move now?
If you’re not happy at work and figuring that now is as good a time as any to move on, then how are you going to make forward progress?
Firstly, create a career development habit. Dedicate a small amount of time to this project daily and create the habit. Writing a decent CV doesn’t come overnight. If you build it carefully, craft your STAR competencies well and then test it out on friends, you need to allow several weeks as a minimum.
Secondly, creating a fruitful search can take time. Learning how to use LinkedIn, where to search and using the power of your network with recruiters will turn up jobs that appeal to you, but it has to be structured and methodical. Otherwise you’ll get spammed by speculative recruiters with jobs that don’t float your boat – that can be terribly demotivating.
There are lots of resources out there to help, packed with tools, strategies and coaching to help you build confidence and empower you to make your next big career move.
The Emerge Career Accelerator is one type of help, full of fresh ideas, hints, tips and tools to get you moving in the right direction. It’s a self-paced online coaching platform with three distinct chapters, 19 individual lessons and over 2.5 hours of video tutorials. Added together, with video tutorials, worksheets and reflective learning that’s more than 10 hours of CPD and you’ll have lifetime access to the course and resources.
Perhaps you’d prefer a 1-2-1 coaching approach? Get in touch if you’d like to explore what coaching could mean for you and your next career move.
Let me finish by reassuring you – if you are happy at work, that’s brilliant, but if you’re not, you aren’t stuck there either. You can and will find a job or career that you love. You’re not alone in this and I’m here to help.