Have the thoughts “I hate my job” crossed your mind recently? If our jobs are great and we love them (no matter how banal they might seem to others), then we feel good about ourselves. There will probably come a point where we look at what we have achieved so far and reckon up accomplishments and setbacks, and consider planning the next stage of working life – stick or change.
If we feel that progress has stalled, whether disenchanted, frustrated or just bored, there are remedies; a mid-career crisis is a chance to reflect and review what has gone well and what can be done to build for the future.
It is not the responsibility of the organisation to manage the careers of employees, though good employers have career and talent management policies and programmes. They may be good at engaging and developing employees, but career planning is a personal responsibility. It is probably time for a re-think if:
- Your job lacks challenge, appeal and fun
- Promotion or development opportunities are limited
- You’re not learning anything new, it’s all routine
- You feel your talent and skill is being wasted
- You are stressed and/or feel unappreciated, unengaged, disconnected and undervalued
- It’s no longer fun
The career MOT
Reaching a career ceiling doesn’t mean a lack of drive and tenacity to rise further. But there may come a point where fresh challenges appeal. Keeping a career afloat may feel like navigating hazardous and murky waters, especially during mergers and acquisitions, downsizing, ‘right sizing,’ and ‘offshoring’.
A career MOT will afford you some time for reflection before making an action plan. Focus and reflect, nothing is set in stone; the career plan envisaged when you were 23 may no longer be relevant now – that’s fine, just start over.
What if your career is broken? What if you are totally in the wrong space – is there anything you can do? Go back to fundamentals. What do you like doing? Think about your achievements to date and think big, don’t be modest. Life is full achievements – big and small, they all count.
Build and grow
Career management rests on identification of your values, interests and skills and then building on those and investing time and effort in a chosen career path. Aim to build and grow, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that years of experience are what counts. If you are not fully invested in career development, there’s danger of ending up with 10 years of experience that is, effectively, one year of experience replicated 10 times.
Survival is about ensuring you appeal to employers over the long run. Ensure you have portable skills that will carry you through your short-term career goals and enable momentum towards a long-term plan. Build a portfolio of roles and interests and commitments that will constitute a real investment in a career path that provides fulfilment.
It’s sensible to plan ahead, managing your career by choosing roles with a range of employers that will increase your employability and transferable skills that so when you are looking to make a move, you are able to make sustainable and fulfilling choices.
Making change happen
Whether it is a mid-career crisis or a nagging sense of disenchantment, you can make a change if you are no longer fulfilled in your job. Life is too short to stay in a job you dislike or that makes you unhappy.
Prepare – ask yourself some searching questions. Think about what you would really love to do, how you want to spend your life, what matters to you and ask yourself what your dream job would look like.
Research – spend time reading and study your area/(s) of interest. Seek mentors and those working in your profession or field of interest to advise you.
Plan – review and evaluate the realistic options, devise a plan whether that is for a new job, a promotion, a new direction or starting your own business. Portfolio workers and entrepreneurs sometimes began their new careers in their 60s or older.
Redesign your career – rather than a completely new career path, you may be able to make changes to your current role – look around to see where you might fit and achieve your objectives, at least in the short-term. Use your current job to accrue the necessary skills, contacts, leads and opportunities that will help you.
Be positive – it is never too late, you are never too stuck to make a change. Focus on your skills and experience and on making that move forward. Finally, success in any career requires one to be flexible, open-minded, versatile and resilient; and an inclination to engage in lifelong learning is increasingly important for the ambitious.
Have the thoughts I hate my job crossed your mind lately? If so, it might be time for a career change….
Liz Sebag-Montefiore is the Co-founder and Director of 10Eighty, helping individuals and organisations to maximise their potential. To excel your career., improve performance and give a sense of focus in terms of career direction why not get a coach? Find one here.