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Finding (or Keeping) a Job Worth Celebrating

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As our last month of summer began, bringing with it our final summer holiday, I was struck with a deep gratitude for my career, recognizing that I am very fortunate to love what I do. This made me think of others who are struggling to feel the same, approaching work with much boredom, anxiety or dread.

Most people spend a considerable amount of time at work. Week after week for years on end, for those who dislike their jobs, life can look a bit more than gloomy as they spend their days frustrated and uncomfortable. If you are currently enduring rather than embracing your work, the following just may speak to you.

If unhappy with your career, the first task becomes identifying the reason why. Asking yourself questions such as these can help identify the specific things about an unpleasant job you need to focus on.:

  • Do you enjoy working with those around you but dislike the actual work?
  • Do you feel unappreciated or underpaid?
  • Do you enjoy your work, but feel frustrated with your coworkers?
  • Do you dream of doing something else with your life?

Once you have identified the cause of your unhappiness, the next step is to do something about it. This, of course, is often simpler than it sounds, as true feelings of depression, hopelessness, anxiety and fear around this issue are typical and very difficult to overcome.

Conflicts at work can be immensely difficult due to the fact that those we are in conflict with sometimes have the power to impact our employment, salaries, promotions or schedules. The mere fact we have to see a person or people we are in conflict with day to day adds a pressure all its own.

If the cause of your distain for work is due to difficulties with your boss or colleagues, consider ways to appropriately change the dynamic between you. Polite, thought-out conversations about improvements in office procedures, communication and/or job responsibilities are often more welcome than you would think, if approached with appropriate timing and consideration. (So are brownies, if you’d like to make desert for everyone. And I’m only half joking — a nice gesture can go a long way!).

When addressing tension at the office, it often helps to begin by acknowledging the strengths and contributions of the other person or team you are speaking to. Balancing your constructive criticism with positive observations can assure others of your positive intentions. Additionally, proposing some solutions to the issue in the form of “I wonder if…” or “Would it work if…?” statements can show that you intend to collaborate with others, rather than dominate the conversation.

Sometimes it’s not about finding the right job because, believe or not, you may actually be in the right one all along! That’s right. Many people suffer from a continual “grass is always greener” syndrome in which something else always seems better. Then, when they actually do step away, guess what? They wind up reminiscing about the good old days at the old job! This can happen when we are almost too close to the work and lack the perspective to step back and compare our situation to what we truly want in life. Higher status, a bigger office, greater compensation and other accolades may of course seem great on the surface, but what do they bring with them in the way of greater stress or time away from your family? A good exercise in prioritizing your true, deeper goals in life that have the most meaning can bring you to a place where you find you’re grateful for what’s already right in front of you.

If you determine that your job dissatisfaction will not be cured through changes in your own behavior or constructive conversations with others, it may be time to move on. We can sometimes stay stuck in “dead end careers” due to fear of an unstable job market, bankruptcy, losing health benefits, fear of unemployment or feelings of failure. Each of these fears has merit, but all can be overcome with careful planning.

In saying this, I am not encouraging anyone to just up and leave their job. Change of career path needs to be done with careful consideration, ensuring that your benefits and budget will remain intact. And, again, changing workplaces or careers is an incredible stressor for many. I encourage you to spend some constructive time focused on this change: in discussion with friends/mentors, journaling, researching your options and/or seeking the assistance of a counselor for both support and direction. Stress can be greatly reduced by setting goals, being informed of your options and feeling supported by others.

If you do decide to move on, the first-step in changing workplaces is updating one’s resume. Many discount the impact of a crisp, flawless resume, so make sure you have a friend, family member or resume service proofread this for you, and use online examples to choose a modern, reader-friendly format. Your resume speaks volumes about you, and your meticulous, organized attitude will spill from a document you’ve taken time to perfect.

Next, scour your network or look online for job postings. Talk with friends, headhunters, connections on Facebook or Linkedin and those in your community. Some great online references are CareerBuilder.com, Jobs.com, Monster.com and Craigslist.org.  Be sure to include a cover letter with your submissions: formats for these are also available online.

Do use discretion when searching for another job. Employers often monitor employees’ computers and social media sites, so it is advisable not to job search on company time.

Finally, think outside the box. Maybe it’s time to start taking classes to follow that dream you’ve always wanted to pursue. Many are growing into their next careers by educating themselves in night school one class at a time. If you have a profitable idea and a bit of money tucked away, maybe it’s time to start your own business. And often overlooked, but also worth consideration, is the world of freelancing. Freelance work can sustain a person as they weather the time between jobs, while in school or as a career on its own.

If you find that job dissatisfaction is a long-term struggle for which you’d like some support, feel free to Contact Us at Stenzel Clinical to learn more about our counseling services. No one should be left to deal with the stress and anxiety of growing out of a career alone. We look forward to helping you find a better everyday routine.

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