I’m going to let you in on a little secret. About half of my clients, at one time or another, tell me they want to leave their job.
I hear, “This job just isn’t me” or “My boss is an unbearable monster” or “I need to find my passion” or “It’s WAY too stressful.”
And these are all valid reasons to leave your job. I get it!
But here’s the truth. Sometimes, it’s not the job that’s the issue. It’s you. Or, I should say, it’s your alignment with the job.
When clients come to me wanting to change their job, we go through an alignment exercise I developed to evaluate their skills, personality and values. Then we measure the extent to which all these things align with their current job.
Often times, the alignment score is pretty low. And they do a happy dance … “Whew, I knew this job wasn’t right for me!”
But then I ask: “Wait though … have you done anything to make this job more aligned with who you are?”
“Huh?” they ask. “I just do what my boss tells me to do. I have no control over how I spend my days.” Or, “It’s impossible to create a better culture at work when the ship is being steered by my bat-shit crazy supervisor.”
“Sorry,” I say. “But I don’t think you should quit your job. At least not yet.”
“But we just saw how unaligned this job is with my true calling and capabilities. Shouldn’t I want more? Tell me I should have more!”
But that’s not always the case. As a life coach, I want to teach you the critical skills that will help you create a better life for yourself. And running away the moment life’s not working out for you isn’t on that list of skills.
Don’t get me wrong, by no means am I saying you should take shit from anyone. You should trust your instincts and know when to say “No!” to a situation in which your being disrespected or under-appreciated.
But, making the best of a bad situation is on that list of skills you want to develop to create your best life ever.
You can live by your values no matter where you are.
But you’ve gotta do the inner work first to identify your values, then you and I can do the outer work. It’s all about changing your attitude … then changing your job.
Making it work
The key to making things “work” at your job is to remember you’re there in service of your highest values.
When you’re in touch with the deepest truth of who you are and you act in alignment with that, then you’ll attract the people and circumstances already aligned with your values.
Let’s say you really value creativity, cooperation and communication and you enjoy strategic planning and managing a team. But your stuck in a marketing operations job with a team of uncooperative dudes. The job doesn’t involve a lot of socializing and teamwork and your job description is to follow standard operating procedures with no deviations. No room for creativity or opportunity to shine.
Before you say, “Nope, this job just isn’t me” ask yourself “am I really being me here?” Chances are, there are endless opportunities to be the real you within your current job description.
Pretend for a second that you ran the company. What would you do differently?
Could you make those changes you want to see by yourself? Develop a project or opportunity for you to be a little more creative and put together a small team to execute it?
You could do an impact study and show your boss some numbers to demonstrate how its actually helping the company in some way. Maybe it could raise customer retention? Or save money? Maybe it drives employee satisfaction … starting with yours ;).
If collaboration among your team is lacking, take the bull by the horns and try to make some improvements. Maybe someone else on your team is thinking the exact same thing.
Talk to your colleagues about how you’d like to foster a more cooperative team environment. Invite everyone out to lunch or try some team-building exercises during the next meeting.
So you’re interested in strategy and managing a team? Tell your boss you want to help out with a new strategy project. No projects that meets your goals? Create one. What’s the worst that can happen? Her head will explode? Great, now there’s a new opening in management. Take her job.
Inner work brings outer changes
If you can be true to who you are, no matter where you are, that’s the ultimate key to happiness.
Because here’s what happens next …
When you do the inner work, you shine so brightly. You stand tall from a place of power. Your skills are apparent, as is your confidence and work ethic.
So, if that job really isn’t right for you, it will naturally fall away. You’re opening up the opportunity for your superiors to see the skills you do have and move you to a position where you can make the most of them.
Or you’ll tell a friend about what you’re desperately trying to accomplish at your job and … as it turns out … she needs exactly that kind of chutzpah to accomplish a similar project where she works. And she’ll offer you a job.
But sometimes you’ll find that the job you were in was right for you all along. You’ll discover new ideas, relationships and opportunities within it, now that you’ve committed to finding them. That’s what happens so often with my clients that came to me saying they wanted to change their dead-end job.
Life is a mirror
Life is always presenting you with opportunities to learn new skills and lessons that will spur your growth and happiness. It ain’t always easy, but you must be intentional about shaping your life, or someone else will shape it for you.
So if any of this is ringing true for you, and you think you’re itching to leave your job, ask yourself:
- What are your values, and how can you stay true to them at your current job?
- What changes can you make from within yourself and your organization?
- What steps can you take to encourage your team or your boss to allow for these changes?
- And if all else fails, how can the lessons you learned in this experience help you elsewhere?
If you keep asking these questions and aligning with the answers, then your perfect career emerges from deep within you.
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