Nearly 75% of employees are unhappy at work and searching for a new job. The number one reason people seek out services on job-boards is to find a new career. They feel unfulfilled. They’re unhappy and unsatisfied with their current job. They’re tired of marching through each day, putting one foot in front of the other, with no real goal or aspiration. They’re usually stuck and they want out. You may have felt this way at some point, or you may be feeling this way now.
Love Your Job; Don't Leave It
“I love it.” When was the last time you said that about your work? Think about it for a minute. Was it today? Was it last week? Was it last year, or you cannot remember the last time you said it? You know, too many people, it turns out today, are disengaged. They’re not thrilled with their work. And in fact the research shows that one in five is so disengaged they poison the workplace. You’re actually better off when they call in sick.
Yet most of us need to work. I found a great cartoon on Forbes, which said “Every morning I get up and look at the Forbes list of the richest people in America. If I’m not there, I go to work.” So isn’t it true that most of us need to work? And here’s the wonderful fact that you can actually move the needle on your own job satisfaction. And there are several steps for making that happen.
- So step number one for making the job you have a job you love—step number one is to get very clear about your wants. Get very clear about what you like, what you don’t like, what you want more of, what you want less of.
- Step number two is to think about who can deliver on a request you have related to those likes. Is it your boss? Is it somebody else? And when is the best time to ask that person?
- Step number three is to think about the barriers to that person saying yes to you. Really think about all the difficulties they face in delivering on your request.
- And step number four may be in fact the most important of all. Step number four is really to think about the whiff-it what’s in it for them to deliver on this request that you have.
So a story. Lianne wanted to go on a service study program, international service study program, and she was afraid to ask her boss. She thought about leaving, and then getting a new job when she got back. But she gathered up her courage. She decided she liked her job enough she wanted to come back to it. So she goes to her boss and she explains about this opportunity. And she knew the four steps, so she took the four steps seriously.
So she went to him, talked about the opportunity, and told him what she thought she could bring back to the team. So she thought that with this international exposure she would have a global perspective, and greater leadership skills, and that would benefit him, and that would greatly benefit the team, as well.
Then she thought about some of the obstacles to his saying yes to her. But she had some workarounds in mind. So she considered, for example, getting an intern on board who could cover some of her workload so it didn’t all land on her team. He asked her to list some of the obstacles he saw, too and committed to working through those with him.
Lianne then went away. He said yes. She was shocked. She went away, took her sabbatical, and came back grateful for the opportunity, energized, committed, and very, very happy. So they were both glad, in fact, that she had asked rather than just leave in order to get what she wanted.
So if in fact there’s something missing—you’d like a little more of something, a little less of something—don’t just jump ship. Consider first going through those steps. Get clear about your wants. Decide who it is that could grant a request to help you with those wants. Identify the barriers for him or her to say yes, and go with the whiff-its in hand. What’s in it for them to give this to you?
Establish Expertise to Secure Your Career
One of the best forms of career insurance and to find career happiness is to establish expertise inside your company so that your colleagues, your boss, and the people around you understand who you are, what you’re capable of, and the value that you bring to the table.
You don’t have to start out as a worldwide expert. If you have an interest in a subject and want to probe deeper, that’s a great starting point. What’s essential is to be clear about what you know and what you don’t, and be willing to share that knowledge with your colleagues. It’s not about knowing more than anyone else in the world about a subject; it’s about knowing more than the people around you because you’re passionate and you immerse yourself in it. You also want to make sure that your company understands the value of your brand. If you can tie what you know about and the knowledge you’re sharing to your company’s objectives, that’s essential, and it enables them to really get behind what you’re doing.
Finally, you want to expand what you’re known for strategically. You don’t want to allow yourself to be permanently pigeonholed as the person who knows about Financial reporting or the person who knows about valuations. Ideally, you want to use that as an initial toehold and then keep expanding your brand so that your knowledge is increasing and your reputation is increasing.