Stuck in a career rut? MEG WALKER gets the experts’ advice on how to fall in love with your job all over again.
As we say farewell to January and look forward to springtime, many of us are wondering whether it’s time to take the next step in our careers. Maybe you’ve been at loggerheads
with your boss or colleague. Maybe you’ve been disillusioned by budget constraints or lack of freedom to make decisions. Maybe, just maybe, you’re simply bored out of your mind.
The good news is you’re not alone. Most of us find ourselves in a career rut at some stage or another, and this time of year naturally heralds this sort of feeling towards work.
You want to up your game, tap into your creativity, enjoy your job again. And this is the perfect opportunity to channel that frustration into newfound energy to drive change – considering your options, getting resourceful, and making a plan. Follow these steps and get ready to love your job again…
STOP BLAMING EVERYONE ELSE
According to Alexandra Cavoulacos and Kathryn Minshew, co-authors of The New Rules of Work (Orion Spring, approx €18, out April 20), “In today’s workplace, it’s not your manager’s job to make sure you have the necessary skills you need to advance; it’s yours. Understanding this and proactively pursuing the learning you need to take your career to the next level is what differentiates great professionals from average ones.”
Jane Downes, owner and principal career coach at Clearview Coaching Group (clearviewcoachgroup. com) and author of The Career Book, couldn’t agree more: “You need to put less time into giving out and more time into examining what isn’t working and asking yourself some tough questions, like: What needs to change? What can I do about this? What do I need to start doing? What do I need to stop doing? People can go into such an autopilot zone that they’re not even aware that their behaviour isn’t right, that they’re bringing down everyone, they’re toxic – that’s not good. It’s our job to manage our behaviour. Stop complaining and use that energy to do something about it.”
DEVELOP A GAME PLAN
According to Downes, you need to allocate time to developing a proper plan, exploring what you want to change, how you’re going to change it, and when you hope to achieve this. And research is the first step. “When planning a holiday, we research and consider our needs, and the same applies when reflecting on our careers. Get creative. Ask yourself what it is you’d like to do. If you don’t know, you need to spend time looking at this. Go online and do some personality and strength assessments; get a real sense of your style, your core strengths; do a skills audit (job specs are great for that) so you know what your skills are and maybe do some upskilling. It doesn’t have to be an MBA – just maybe a short course. That can also help with networking as well as adding another string to your bow. You need to look at your soft skills – your personality or social skills – as well as your business skills and what’s required in the area you’re interested in.”
REDISCOVER WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY
We spend at least a third of our day in work. And let’s face it, most of us regularly put in extra time, especially with our email, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook… you name it in our pockets. So now, more than ever, job satisfaction is essential.
First, discover what will make you happy in work. Start with priority number one: values. “Clarifying our values really helps when we are trying to figure out what we want in our lives,” writes Cavoulacos and Minshew. “In the context of creating a successful career plan, the word ‘values’ refers to what in your work provides you with meaning and purpose. That might be a deep sense of creativity, or it might be making a positive contribution to society. In many ways, your values are more important than the type of work you’re actually doing; in fact, numerous studies have shown that most people who pursue work that aligns with their values feel more satisfied and successful in their careers.”
This article originally appeared in the February issue of IMAGE magazine, on shelves nationwide now.