So it’s a weird time for us all. Everyone is finding this challenging. I don’t even need to explain what I am talking about – but for anyone reading this at a much later date, I will give you a one word clue: Coronavirus.
What if layered on top of all the craziness, you also hate your job? You hated it before and now, with all else happening in the world, it feels even worse as it’s yet another rubbish thing going on for you.
When living in a normal world, I help people figure out what to change in their careers when they feel stuck. I help them feel happy again in and out of work... However, for many people, right now is simply not the right time to make such changes. People have financial worries, job security concerns, not to mention the job market not exactly being buoyant!
So what can you do when you are unhappy in your job but just can't quit (yet)? Below I share five top tips to get through exactly that.
1. Remember what you are doing right now isn’t in vain. The skills you are using and developing now will serve you well for your future career change. It may feel like a drag but just know the work you are doing will be of value when you are able to make the changes you need. Make notes each week on skills you are regularly using and developing. This will be really helpful when you come to updating your CV targeted at securing that new job or career change. Also know that time will come!
2. Up-skill and learn. What skills are you lacking? What would you ideally already know before pursuing your new job or career? Now is a great time to close that gap and learn those new things. There may be work your employer is doing right now that you can support, which will expand your skill set. There are a lot of people out sick - can you help cover anything, even if it's not your usual area, to develop your skillset, or even begin your path into that new business area? Is there an online course you can do that fits with your future career plan? Then do it! Spend some time understanding the strengths you do have – how can you utilise and therefore develop them even further? What do you want to improve in? Look for opportunities to do exactly that.
3. Take Stock. Take time to really contemplate exactly what it is that is making you unhappy in your work. Write a list. Once you have your list, step away for a time and then come back to it. Are all of those things really a problem? Or would some be ok if the other issues didn’t exist? What is the crux of your unhappiness at work? Understanding that will enable you to be clear on what you definitely don't want in your future job/career. Repeat the process for the things you do enjoy and get satisfaction from in your current or previous roles. Which are critical for you to be happy? Getting clarity on this will give you a checklist to refer back to when you do start considering options in the future.
4. Work out a budget. A really common reason people stay in jobs is for the salary. “Obviously – I need the money!” I hear you cry! The key here is to consider all your outgoings and re-evaluate. Right now is the perfect time to do this. We have all had to stop doing everything! Do you need to start doing everything again? What is truly NEEDED? If you have children, is it vital they return to every single club or activity they did before? I bet if you asked them they may be happy to drop one, saving you some money. Do you go to the gym enough to justify the membership cost? Maybe you have found exercising outside of the gym has actually been enjoyable so you can live without it. Eating out is lovely, but were you spending too much on it before? I am not saying stop it all, but I am confident, each and every one of us, could likely keep some of the changes we have made and make a positive financial impact in our lives. Sacrificing things is hard. However, being unhappy in order to do those things is harder.
5. Start your secret job search. Or at least make a plan. There may not be a huge number of jobs around right now to actively apply to, but there are still just as many contacts to connect with on Linked In, agencies to register with, job boards to get alerts from, resources available to research what may be your dream job... You can start to really consider your next move – used your checklist from above and see how possible options match up. Is your CV and Linked In profile reflective of what you are looking to move into? What skills do you need to develop; what qualifications can you achieve? Can you start those now (see tip number 2!).
I have one final, bonus tip – find pleasure outside of your job. Whilst this is my bonus tip, it is one of the most important. Being unhappy at work spills easily into all areas of your life. It will sap the fun out of everything. When you dread Monday throughout the weekend, this results in lacking motivation for anything else – even non-work activities you previously enjoyed. So make plans, invest in yourself, create memories. Create positive habits to look after your personal wellbeing such as a good exercise routine, reading for pleasure and having a healthy diet (with the odd treat thrown in of course!). We are not able to spend time with friends and family outside of our households right now, but making positive memories with those you are with, in person or via virtual means, is critical.
This time will end and by doing the above you will be ready to move into your new job or career quickly, ahead of the competition.
If you are struggling to make a plan or simply don’t know what job or career will stop you feeling unhappy and dreading Mondays, I can help. Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange a chat to see how I can help you.
Rebecca Amin is a qualified, licensed Career Coach helping (mainly, but not exclusively) mums feeling stuck in their careers. Those that have lost passion for their jobs but can’t see a way out.
Facebook Page: Rebecca Amin Coaching
Facebook Group: Career Happy Mums