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I read a scary statistic the other day. The average full-time employee works 250 days a year. Multiply that by a minimum 50 years of work, that’s a frightening 12,500 working days in a lifetime. Given all that time at work, would it surprise you to know that less than 30% of us say that we love our jobs? That’s a heck of a lot of Mondayitis.
The truth is, we will never love every aspect of our work, but we should enjoy most of it. I’m lucky I’ve found the job that is “The One”, but if you are part of the 70%+ who doesn’t whistle on their way to work (that’s not odd is it?), you have a decision to make. Should you make the effort to find ways to love your job or is it time to cut your losses and move on. Here’s six reasons why your love affair with your job may be over and how a career coach can help get you back on track:
Taken the Wrong Career Path
If there is very little about your job that you enjoy, it’s decision time. You may have undertaken the roles for years and outgrown it or never liked it in the first place. Either way it could be time for a career pivot or even a complete career change, but to what?
If you know what career you’d love to move to, lucky you. Find a career coach that specialises in that area and they’ll help you work out if the move is realistic, identify any skills or knowledge gaps, and how to present your transferable skills to a new employer. They may use their contacts to arrange a conversation with someone in the industry, to help you get an insiders perspective.
If you don’t know what you want to do ‘when you grow up’, a career coach has tools to help you assess your strengths, motivators, interests and values. The biggest challenge we have in changing careers is inertia. It is a significant change, especially if we don’t have a clear path, we often need someone to help us make that shift in a new direction.
Right Work, Wrong Workplace
I was talking to a friend recently who really loved her job, but just couldn’t stay. Sometimes the work isn’t enough to overcome environmental factors: poor leadership, conflict (directly and indirectly), lack of communication, frequent restructures, etc.
Depending on the situation, a career coach can help you navigate your way through some of these challenges. They can provide you with a greater level of self-awareness, an understanding of different personality or leadership styles, and strategies to better manage those relationships.
Sometimes the issues are insurmountable or we don’t have the power to change them. Most of us can’t afford to leave a job without something to go to. Bidding our time waiting for our dream job to appear isn’t an effective strategy. There are plenty of things you can do in the background to prepare for your move. Career coaches, who are also recruiters, will have an intimate knowledge of the businesses in your geographical area. They can help you identify the businesses that have the culture you are seeking. Where there isn’t an obvious opening, they can help with introductions or opportunities to get your foot in the door.
Out of My Depth
You’ve been promoted, once, twice, possibly several times. You’ve reached a point where your capability doesn’t quite match the demands of the role. Often it’s not the technical skills we’re missing, it’s the soft skills: negotiating, influencing, people management. Now we almost yearn for the days we were ‘back on the tools’. A career coach will help you determine whether the current role is where you want to be. Do you want to take a career step back to a level of work that you love or push forward and identify what skills you need and how to get them.
Can’t Get an Interview
You know what job you want. You’ve sent out (insert big number) of CVs or sat through numerous interviews, but haven’t landed that dream job. A recruitment specialist or career coach will quickly identify what is holding you back. Are your key skills and experience being lost in the language or format of your CV? Do you know how a potential employee will view your CV or your interview responses? A career coach will and they can show you how to stand out from the crowd.
The old adage ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ still carries weight today. Depending on the role, a good career coach can help you identify opportunities for networking, to get your name in front of the right people.
Just Not Advancing
Perhaps you’ve been overlooked for a promotion or an opportunity to broaden your skills. Or maybe you feel that you are taking on more responsibility but your contribution is not being acknowledged or adequately remunerated. We don’t all want to move up the proverbial career ladder, but we all want to keep learning and have our work valued. A career coach can talk you through how to ask for a raise, how to get your work recognised, or how to create opportunities for advancement, even when there isn’t a clear career path where you work.
The Work Isn’t Fulfilling
We all need our work to mean something. To know that the work we do is making a difference to a person, a business, an industry or a cause. I talk about creating meaningful work in more detail in a previous blog (http://inspirehq.com.au/blog/how-to-create-meaningful-work/)
We may only need to ‘tweak’ certain parts of our job or our understanding of the organisation’s mission to find meaning and purpose. Even the most mundane of tasks can become fulfilling if we know we are contributing to something bigger than ourselves.
Sometimes we simply don’t believe in the product or service that our business delivers. Perhaps the business doesn’t align with our personal values or we can’t see how it is making a difference. Before you make a decision that this isn’t the workplace for you, know why you are leaving. A career coach can help you identify your values and what culture and values you are looking for. This could help you avoid bouncing from job to job, not knowing why each new role turns out not to be the right fit.
Professional career coaching can cost anywhere from $75 to several hundred dollars per hour. As with anything in life, you get what you pay for. You are paying for their expertise, experience and knowledge. You are also paying for the valuable, honest feedback that family and friends often can’t give you.
Be prepared. Working with a career coach requires a commitment from you to: be open to feedback and new ideas, be honest with the information you share (even when it doesn’t paint you in the best light), invest the time and follow-through on your commitments. It could be that you’ll get to where you need to on your own, but you’ll get there much faster with a coach.
Claire Huntington has over 15 years’ experience in senior and executive level human resource management and strategic leadership positions. Claire learnt HR under the wings of great mentors and through trial and error. She has a very practical hands-on approach to HR and management, and isn’t afraid to look outside the box. Claire is also mum to three primary-school aged firecrackers and is an avid photographer in her spare time.
Disclaimer: The material contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It is not, nor is intended to be, legal advice. If you wish to act based on the content of this publication, we recommend that you seek professional advice.