Wasting Time in a Job You Don’t Like?

You can meet some of the best people through work.  Recently, I reconnected with a wonderful Canadian couple on their family trip to NYC.  My husband and the other gentleman had worked together years ago during our Arthur Andersen days.  Great people – very smart, fun, and loving with two beautiful children who just loved Mercer.  

Of course, the conversation led to career (with and without some prompting from me).  Here’s what I found interesting…

  • Our friend had shaved his head as part of his three-week vacation. Talk about letting your hair down.  His workplace up north was too conservative and such self-expression wouldn’t fly.  So for three weeks he got to look the way he wanted and was ecstatic about it. 
  • Our friend’s wife felt great about the steady nature of her job but not the content.  With a sigh at one point, she said she wished her husband would get promoted so she could quit her job.  

Are these feelings you share?  Do you feel you can’t be yourself at work?  Would you rather not work at all?

I can’t help but take to heart these insights.  Yes, they were shared quickly and in passing (not sure my friends would even remember saying them as part of the long and very fun conversation.)  But to me these are critical clues that something is amiss and further exploration (dare I say it, Soul Search) is warranted. 

Coincidentally, I was contacted by a talented writer from Forbes.com to weigh in on an article about what to do when you hate your job.  If you know me, I believe there are no coincidences and everything happens for a valid reason.  It was an honor to be quoted and the article is full of great advice.  However, my point about Soul Search wasn’t included so I want to share it here.      

Why people remain in jobs in which they’re unhappy:

  • From my experience working with thousands via my coaching practice and SIRIUSXM show, people often stay in jobs they don’t like because they don’t realize what else they CAN do.  They haven’t taken the time to identify what makes them happy or where their talents lie.  They haven’t clarified their values and thought about how they’d like to use their abilities to make a difference and align their work with their purpose. Too often people assume work is supposed to be a chore so they don’t even look for anything other than that when embarking on a job search.    

If you hate your job, what you can do about it:

  • The number one thing you can do is Soul Search BEFORE you Job Search.  Look back on your life and career to those projects that you did enjoy.  Delve into each situation and get to the important details such as the role you played, the skills you used, the outcome you produced and anything else about it that made it fun/engaging for you.  You can also ask others about your best skills, abilities and talents.  This is a great way to stop taking your strengths for granted and to articulate what it is you do for others that is so special.
  • I have found that when looked at from this perspective people come up with more exciting, more rewarding and more fulfilling career possibilities than when they just scour the job boards and shoehorn themselves into what’s out there. 
  • I find people desiring a career change also don’t have the proper mindset. It is easy to look at what is wrong, what you disdain, and what doesn’t work, but it is more beneficial to look at what is working and to be appreciative of the aspects of the job that can enable your next career move.

I’ve learned that offering unsolicited advice doesn’t work out for the best, eh? So I didn’t share these insights with my friends.  But if you or someone you know feels they are wasting time in the wrong job, feel free to pass this along or better yet, tell them to call in for advice on my weekly SIRIUSXM radio show.  Living fully while on vacation is a good start, living fully everyday is what you were meant for!

 (NYC photo courtesy of Maveric2003.)

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