Nothing is worse than feeling helpless in your career. Helpless. Hopeless. Stuck.
The notion that you don’t have any career options is a myth. Every day you are making choices. Every day you make the choice to work for the company where you are. You make the choice to work for the boss you have. You make the choice to work on the projects you drive. Every day you’re making decisions about your career.
So what can you do if you dislike your company, manager or your job?
I’ve been a leading career coach and author for the past 6 years (and working at a 6-figure job for a Fortune 100 Company for the past 14 years), and what I know for sure is that when my career is moving in the right direction – it’s fun, exciting, challenging, scary (in a good way) and immensely rewarding. And when it’s moving in the wrong direction – it’s excrutiatingly difficult. That’s when I know something’s gotta give. It’s time for ME to make a few changes.
Below is a simple a step-by-step process and that even with the small changes can help you find your career flow –
1. Know what you want.
What’s pulling you toward your career right now? What’s pushing you away?
The first step in getting un-stuck is to sort through the logic and emotion of everything going on in your job right now and make a list of what all the positive things are that you’re getting in your job, such as a salary, benefits, doing purposeful work, working for a company you love, working for a manager you respect, being in an environment where you can constantly learn new things, etc.
Now make a list of things you dislike about your job such as little or no career advancement, limited visibility with leaders, feeling unvalued or unappreciated, being under-challenged, etc.
Look at both lists. Are they out of balance? Is there anything you can change on your “dislike” list? Many times it’s difficult for us to come up with solutions on our own so try brainstorming possibilities with a few people you trust such as a mentor, manager, department managers or colleagues.
What’s in your control that you could change? How could change it? Who could help you?
2. Shake things up internally.
If you like your job, but just wish one or two things would change – then see if you can make it happen. There may be some parts of your job that you enjoy, and parts that you don’t. Identify what those are and then have a heart to heart talk with your manager.
Try saying something like, “I am really enjoying my job, but there are a few things I’d like to see if we could change.” I once said to one of my managers something like, “I’m really not sure how much value I’m adding to the research project, but if you gave me those 4 hours each week, I would use them to create a new leadership initiative.” I then went on to explain the new initiative and how it would benefit me, the department and my manager. Ten minutes later he told me to, “Go for it!”
Another time I asked one of my manager’s if he needed any help with the budget and told him that I wanted to learn about managing the department’s finances. He gave me more financial responsibility and taught me everything I wanted to know!
Other great sources to help you shake things up internally could be your boss’ manager, other department managers and anyone who has, or has had, a responsibility that you would like to have. Two key things to remember are –a. You are the only one who can make a change happen. b. You cannot make a change by yourself – you need the support, wisdom and mentorship of others.
3. If you can’t get what you want internally – go external.
Sometimes our career requires big bold changes. If you’re unhappy in your job and you can’t get what you want inside your current organization, then it’s time to explore external opportunities.
The first step is to simply start exploring possibilities. Talk to others who are in the industry or job role that interests you. Ask them what a good day looks like, what a bad day looks like, if they have any special training or education, and how they got their job. You can learn a lot about different career options simply by talking to others.
After you identify a job role that you are really interested in, the next step is to start exploring job openings. Let your network know that you are ready to take the next step in your career and ask if they could send you any job leads, referrals or recommendations.
Also, search the job boards on company websites where you want to work. Be sure to set up Job Agents on Glassdoor.com and Indeed.com so that you’ll receive weekly job openings in your e-mail box.
Whether you make a few small changes in your career or one big bold change, you owe it to yourself to have a career that lets you do meaningful, purposeful work and makes you feel valued, appreciated and energized. You really do have control over your career – you just have to get in the driver’s seat and make it happen!
Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist. She teaches others how to think differently and more proactively in their career. Her book, ”The Bounce Back” is the 2013 winner of “Best Career Book” by Indie Book Awards for independent book authors. Her first book is on AMAZON’s TOP 50 LIST for personal branding books, “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a powerful personal brand.” As the Founder/President of Career Coaching 360. Sherri specializes in providing one-on-one coaching to professionals and executives who want to change, reinvent or advance their career.
For a limited time, you can download the three FREE chapters of “The Bounce Back” at http://www.MyBounceBack.com
Sherri offers personal one-on-one career coaching to professionals who want to change their career. Learn more: www.CareerCoaching360.com