Most of us have had the experience of working for a bad boss or alongside the WORST group of co-workers.
For various reasons, you may find yourself surrounded with people who feel threatened by others’ success, folks who get drunk on power, or leadership that gets so wrapped up in details that they forget to plan for the bigger picture. Lack of developing staff, lack of support, lack of resources. Lack of talent, lack of communication, lack of growth. Bad, bad, bad situations.
Been there, got the t-shirt.
You may feel stuck in a dead-end job that no longer stimulates you. You may feel lost, unsure of the right path to take. Changing jobs is not a task many can afford, and what if the new gig is – gulp – worse than your current situation? What then?!
Well, I sure don’t have all the answers. Every person’s situation is certainly different. But. I know one thing for certain: It doesn’t have to be that way.
I want to urge you unsatisfied, unfulfilled, hard-working readers that if you are struggling with these situations – there is hope. Change can be scary, but sometimes it is necessary. You may need to plan and you may need to suffer through your current situation for a bit until you get to a point where you can make a bigger life change.
I urge you to simply start thinking about it now.
What is your long term career goal? What do you want to do? Where do you want to be? How can you break that big ‘ol goal into more manageable chunks? Is your goal realistic and attainable? What sorts of obstacles can you plan for? What can you do today that can put you a bit closer to accomplishing one of those smaller steps?
Guys, we just spend too many hours of our lives at work to loathe what we do. Life is short. Maybe you don’t need a “dream” job or even know what truly sparks you, but finding fulfilling or at least semi-interesting work is a reasonable request. Dreading going to work each day takes a toll on your body, mind, and soul.
I have worked for amazing supervisors in horrible cultures. I have worked for quite awful supervisors in amazing team environments. Over the past few years, I have been lucky enough to work for truly outstanding leadership. I may be a hot mess some days, but I get to work with a team that supports me through those crap days. And you know what? I do the same for them. I am so proud of the hard work I put in to get here, because for the first time in my life, I can say I am REALLY happy at work. Finally that good fit I had long searched for. I feel challenged, energized, and motivated most days. A lot of that comes from the team in which I work so closely with every day.
I have witnessed building others up more often in the past year than I have throughout my entire working career. True leaders do not fear the rise of other stars, they encourage and feed them. Where I work, leaders abound. Leadership is not just upper management, but I see leaders in all areas I turn. We lift each other up. We help each other out. We may bicker and fuss like siblings sometimes, but that is family for you. And I almost missed the chance to experience this wonderful team several years ago due to fear.
I worked at a difficult facility but had amazing co-workers. After I had my second child, I was on maternity leave just dreading returning to work. Sure, I made good money. The people were great. I should have been grateful to go back! But I was feeling frustrated at the thought of working extremely long hours and paying for childcare for two young kids. I started to think about what was most important to me. That turned out to be spending time with my young kids and a better work/life balance.
I interviewed at my current company and then felt sheer terror. I would be taking a pay cut. I was unsure if I would like this new gig. I was not confident in my abilities to enter a new area of nursing. I felt the promise of security (and fear) pulling me back into a job I really did not love. I called and thanked HR for the opportunity, but politely declined. I told myself that having a new baby was a big enough change, and I could just stay there for now.
Only it wasn’t big enough and when the time came to return to work, I just could not go back. I tried but could not shake the feeling that returning to my old job was WRONG. Hands shaking, terrified, I called back my current company and asked for the second interview. I was so lucky they allowed me to continue in the interview process. I was terrified. Leaving that position was not easy, and I did miss my wonderful co-workers. But something in the gut of my soul told me there was something else. It was time for a change. Looking back, I was correct.
Fast forward a few years later: After a couple of position changes and figuring out where I fit in best, I am now in my sweet spot. I did not believe that you could NOT dread going to work. I mistakenly subscribed to the belief that everyone hates their job. And now that I know differently, I want that same satisfaction for as many people as possible. It truly makes you a better spouse, a better parent, a better coworker when you get to do something important to you. I am not saying you need to love your work, but it sure helps. I definitely think you need to take some steps now to avoid wasting years and years of your life doing something you absolutely hate.
That has to come from you. Consider taking that big, scary leap. At the very least, take a few small hops. Get comfortable with the fact that change is a constant. Reach out and talk to others about your goals. Write down those plans and break them into manageable steps. Those leaps or small hops might not work out as you plan, but they may actually lead to something bigger and better. They may take you someplace that you didn’t even know you wanted to be.
Not Just the President of the Big Scary Change Club – I’m a Member, too!