The workplace can often just feel like one long game with lots of rules. For many people following these rules requires changing perhaps to the point of doing things that you don’t really want to do.
So, how much should you change for the sake of career progression?
If you feel like you have to become someone else or play up to the idea of who people think that you should be to have the career you want, you probably won’t be happy when you get it.
Some people understand the game and are willing to play it whilst others find the cheat codes and figure out how to work things their favour. Then there are the ones who understand the game but aren’t willing to play it and lastly the ones that have no awareness of the game whatsoever.
I have a lot of beliefs about work and the kind of career I want.
In a past experience, after discovering the game and attempting to play it, I realised that I didn’t want to.
If you have to change to progress in your career it’ll only be worth it if you like the person you’re becoming. Playing the game can be fun but it can also be exhausting. It might be for some people but others are better off stopping and finding a place to work with a game they enjoy playing or better yet no game at all.
When working from home, the getting ready process from bed to desk is much less time consuming.
Instead of waking up, getting breakfast, showering and brushing your teeth, getting ready, leaving out and travelling to the office. You might just wake up, get a coffee and start work. Then perhaps it’s later in the morning that you shower and get ready in-between tasks.
If you’re staying home, the time you get up is pretty flexible because you can choose how much you do before work begins. If you wake up one morning and bed feels cosy, you have the option for 5 minutes more.
On the flipside, if you’re going into the office there’s not much you can bypass and so choosing to sleep for a little bit longer means you have to rush or else you might end up being late.
I think that this matters and I think I think that this is important.
If you had a conversation with a lot of companies, particularly since this covid pandemic, they would have something to say about the importance of wellbeing.
We’re all aware that peoples mental health and general wellbeing has been impacted by the pandemic for various reasons. It could be a lack of social interaction, feeling lonely, the change in routine, fear of getting sick, job security, financial issues and more.
But it might not be the pandemic that is the issue. What about if you go to work and you’re treated poorly, ignored, lied to, there’s a lack of trust, you feel stifled, you’re constantly overlooked, people don’t listen to you and you don’t feel respected, you might not even be aware of the impact it can have or is having on you.
Those things can have a significant impact on a persons wellbeing, particularly when they’re happening regularly.
And sometimes in the workplace these things are very covert. When you speak up you get generic responses that lack sincerity but are somehow just enough. Just enough for you to feel like you were overreacting, that maybe you’re not trying hard enough and that things will be better in the future.
However, if you’ve given things a chance to get better and things haven’t improved then you need to decide if the job is actually worth it.
Are you willing to sacrifice your wellbeing for the sake of a job?
Often in life when we’re going through a difficult time or something unideal happens we end up feeling stuck. We think it’s because our situation is just so awful and terrible. However, often we end up stuck because we aren’t putting enough of our effort and energy into the solution.
For example, lets say you got made redundant. You then spend the following days or weeks talking about how you didn’t deserve it, how X person should have been let go instead of you, that it’s not fair, you’ve been hard done by, it’s ruined your life, constantly dropping your redundancy into conversations and wallowing in self pity.
As much as it’s important to acknowledge a difficult situation, there’s little to no benefit in dwelling.
Instead, you could focus on moving forward and getting a new job. That could involve updating your CV, researching companies to apply at, filling out job applications or thinking about what you want your next career step to be.
A new job might not come come quicker but I think that being pro-active can do wonders for boosting your morale.
There’s something quite wonderful about being a beginner, starting something new with fresh eyes, optimism, excitement and curiosity.
There are probably plenty of things that you’ve been doing for a long time to the point that they’re a regular part of your daily, weekly or monthly routine. It could be old hobbies from childhood or a job that you’re just so familiar with that the joy has been taken out of it.
It could even be what you want thought was your dream job but because you’re doing it all the time and you’re so used to it doesn’t really feel like a dream anymore. Now it’s actually just your reality.
Sometimes, we get the job that we want and maybe we’re even living in our ideal home in our ideal location. We feel settled in life so we stop exploring. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but if you’re putting aside your curiosity and yearning then maybe something needs to change. The feeling of wanting to explore life probably won’t just go without you tending to it.
The reason we don’t tend to it is often because we allow societal standards and ideas to restrict us. We end up feeling like it’s too late to try something new because we’re a certain age or it feels like it’ll be a step back. It’s no use holding on to those ideas if they just make you unhappy.
The desire to explore could be as small as reading a genre of fiction you wouldn’t usually be open to or joining a local volunteering group. It doesn’t have to be about quitting your job to start a business. selling all your belongings and travelling around Asia for 6 months.
I think that what we do for a living matters. When you have to wake up everyday and do something that you don’t enjoy, interact with people you don’t agree with, work late to meet deadlines and give your time and energy to work that you don’t care about, maybe you should be doing something else.
I think we’re lucky that we’re liberated enough to have some choice about what we do. We have options. We have the opportunity to change our lives if we’re not happy with where we’re at.
And so here are some reasons to quit your job and move on to something better:
- You no longer enjoy it
- It requires more than you’re willing to give
- You could get paid more at another company
- You’re constantly saying you want to quit
- You want to change careers
When a person finds themselves in a job role they don’t want to be in, it often takes a while to leave.
They may regularly have the thought that of handing in their resignation, being in a job where they feel valued or starting over in a new city. However, they don’t take these thoughts seriously enough for them to result in taking action. Instead they consider them to be like a sort of daydream.
And this can go on for months or even years until they finally decide that they’ve truly had enough.
Or sometimes they’re pushed by unfortunate circumstances.
I guess the point is that if you’re unhappy and you know exactly what the cause is then you should do something about it. Happiness is possible, it doesn’t just have to be something that you daydream about.
Sometimes we stop ourselves from doing the things that we want to do because we put others above ourselves.
We choose to consider how our actions might make someone else feel, as if that is our responsibility. It often results in not doing the things that we want to do.
In the moment, it might feel like the right choice but in the long run it often leads to regret or resentment.
It could be staying in a ‘good job’ when you actually want to pursue something that is held in a much lower regard by the people you know, maybe it pays less too. You’re worried that people will tell you you’re making a mistake, of the looks you’ll get at the family dinner when they ask how work is going, you want to please your parents and you don’t want other people to think that you’ve regressed.
So, you stick with your current job that you’re no longer interested in.
Overtime you grown to resent those people around you because even though they’re happy with where you’re at in life, you’re miserable. It feels like it’s their fault. But, deep down you know that your misery comes from you caring about other peoples opinions more than you care about making yourself happy.
The lesson here is to learn to put yourself first. How you feel about your life and the choices you make matters so much more than what other people think.
Your job is to create and then put it out there.
It might not get the amount of views you want or it could be loved by millions, that is not something you have any control over.
It’s not your job to try and convince people that your work is good. In fact, you need to learn to be okay with the fact that some people won’t like it.
Focus on creating your work for the people that want it. That might only be a few to begin with but those people are important.
There are stats to prove that when it comes to job applications women are less likely to apply than men, if they don’t meet all the requirements.
The interesting thing about this is that if you don’t get the job you don’t really lose out because nothing changes. So if you apply yo a job where you only meet 75% of what they are asking for, there’s no real risk at all, in fact you should probably do it more often.
The things you can’t yet do or don’t have much experience of are probably things that can be learnt on the job.
Of course, if what they’re asking for is experience in a specialised software that you’ve never even heard of it’s probably not worth going for. However, if the application asks for someone who has used a particular software and you have, don’t let not being an expert stop you from applying.
When you don’t perfectly meet all the criteria for a job application perhaps you feel like you won’t be able to do a good, you’re worried about your weaknesses (the things you’re not as experienced in) being exposed or maybe you don’t think you’ll get an interview.
All that stuff is just guesswork. You can apply to a job you’re perfectly qualified for and not get it, you can apply to a job you’re 75% qualified for and get it.
The risk of applying is minimal, I think the real risk is in getting your hopes up.
But the purpose of taking a risk is knowing there’s a chance it might not work and doing it anyway.