Once upon a time, there was a talented, highly skilled woman called Jane. One day, Jane became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She dropped out from the senior level she had reached in her industry as she didn’t think it would be compatible with motherhood. She moved to a job in the same industry at a different company.
Jane agreed to a substantial pay cut because she was so relieved to have found a company who would allow her a degree of flexible working.
But Jane soon found that lower pay did not mean less responsibility. Her boss, knowing she had found a highly valuable “human resource” for a bargain price, had no scruples about squeezing every last drop out of Jane.
Whilst she trudged through each day in her life-sucking job, Jane searched for a job commensurate with her experience and skills, but every time she met with a recruitment consultant, she didn’t dare to ask for the flexible working that was so important to her, and all the jobs she came across were advertised as full time. She didn’t want to be discounted before she’d even begun to apply because the recruitment consultant doesn’t see her as a “serious” candidate, but she couldn’t get rid of that anxious feeling in her gut.
So Jane gives up. She plods on with her high pressure, life-sucking job that pays her less than she’s worth. She has a bit of a habit of spending on things she doesn’t really need – just to get a brief “high” to counteract how low she feels about her career. She has dreams of a more fulfilling career, but she wonders how they will ever come to fruition. At the end of a long day, the only dreams that unroll are the ones she finds when she’s asleep in bed.
Jane braces herself each morning to work in an atmosphere of political posturing and a culture of blame and tries to find strategies to cope with a boss who seems to have learnt her leadership style from a combination of Margaret Thatcher and Genghis Khan.
Her heart sinks on Sunday evenings and she counts the days down to her next holiday. But after each holiday, nothing changes, nothing improves – she’s on a treadmill of a job she loathes, working for a boss who doesn’t acknowledge or value her.
Jane experiences a health problem and her doctor tells her that she’s suffering from chronic stress and advises her to take some time off. But Jane ignores her doctor’s advice and goes back to work because she fears the repercussions.
So her health suffers even more.
Jane continues the descent into self-doubt, anxiety and a sense of some kind of low level, ever present depression. She loses sight of her skills, her experience and her achievements. She is well and truly stuck.
I don’t believe that you have to be like Jane and settle for a job that sucks the life out of you. In fact, you MUST NOT settle for this kind of life!
Sure, I know that we all have to make choices and that those choices incur costs as well as benefits. And I know it’s a balancing act, especially when you’re also raising a family.
On average, we spend about a third of our waking hours working. Do you really want to spend a third of those years feeling miserable? And what about the impact on your family? There is a strong and proven correlation between feeling happy at work and happy at home.
You have one life and your job is to live it. You’re smart, you’ve got a lot to offer and you don’t have to put up with being put upon.
Don’t worry, all is not lost! Because I’m going to share with you 3 powerful steps you can take that will kick-start your exit path from a job that you hate:
Scribble down all your skills, experience, and achievements in every area of your life. What are your unique qualities?
You might find this very difficult – this is common when you’re in a job that drains you. Your confidence gets knocked, your energy gets zapped and it’s difficult to remember how good you really are or what you love.
If you find it difficult to think of all the things that make you great, ask a friend, a former colleague or someone who loves you and who DOES remember how smart you really are. Let them hold up a mirror to you when you can’t see yourself – this is allowed!
Your worst enemy in situations like these is apathy. You need to create some momentum and anger can be a very positive emotion to harness positive action.
Time to stop being a victim and start feeling angry that you are doing so much for so little. Get your fangs out and direct that anger in a positive way! When you direct your anger in a positive way, it means that you decide you will NOT be a victim.
It’s not about taking your anger out on your boss or indeed on anyone else – that’s not going to help. It IS about directing the anger into positive action. You might not be able to wave a magic wand and make everything right in an instant, but you can do something. Set yourself daily positive actions and keep the energy going.
Tell yourself this: You are NOT stuck in this job/company/team forever. You are NOT stuck here for the rest of your working life. 6 months max. That’s it – decide that, no matter what, you are getting OUT OF DODGE within 6 months to a year.
This is an immensely powerful step, because once you realise that you are NOT trapped, that this is TEMPORARY, your whole mind-set will change. A positive mind-set will help you to access your resilience. And you’ll become more ‘attractive’. And this means you’ll start spotting opportunities you simply couldn’t see before. OF course, you’ll need to do some planning, you’ll need to have an open mind, but once you decide that you’re not going to settle for plodding along and you put an end date on purgatory, you’ll start feeling better FAST. I promise!
Here’s the thing – when I get this MAD on my client’s behalf – and this kind of thing makes me VERY mad – that’s when I do my best work as a Coach. If you are like Jane, I can help you get out of your rut. Much faster than you would on your own. If you’d like to find out how, click here to learn more about how I can help you.