Have you ever heard this one before? “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.” As you can see, the sentiment expressed in this statement shows that the only reason this person goes to work is to pay bills. This view of work sees employment as only a necessity and not something to be enjoyed. In this scenario, work is a type of prison.
If this is the way that you feel about your job, read on to find some ways that you can gain more career satisfaction. This Q&A will give you practical tips on how to move forward with your career despite obstacles.
1) What are some moves you can make within your current position to help you break out of “career jail”?
Make Yourself More Valuable to the Organization. Cross train so that you can perform more than one function if necessary. In an era of cutbacks you make yourself more valuable if you are flexible and can do more than one job. Being knowledgeable of more than one functional area also positions you to take on greater responsibility within the organization.
Invest in Yourself. Keep your skills up to date in your current position and let management know about any new certifications or licenses that you have obtained. Staying abreast of what is current in your field positions you well as a valuable worker, and it also makes you marketable just in case your job is eliminated in spite of your best efforts.
If you can take advantage of any company training programs, do so. If that type of training is not available on the job, you can still invest in yourself. Read want ads to find out what skills or qualifications are mentioned as being preferred. Then take the required steps to obtain these skills and qualifications.
Expand Your Role. If your job feels humdrum and you feel like you could do it with your eyes closed, but it’s not feasible for you to look for greener pastures at this time, you might consider mentoring someone who is less experienced in the field to pass along what you have learned over the years. You might also look at taking on collateral duties, such as chairing a committee. These are ways for you to expand your usefulness within the organization.
2) If these steps don’t work, what steps should you take in looking outside the company?
Update Your Resume. All professionals should have an up-to-date resume. This way they are ready to take advantage of any opportunities that might come their way.
Google yourself. Since almost all companies are now using social media to source and vet candidates, professionals need to know how they are being perceived online. They should periodically Google themselves to see what comes up. If there is any information that could be perceived negatively, they should remove that information if at all possible. For example, a friend may have posted a picture on Facebook of you drinking, and you were tagged in the picture. You should remove the tag, and if possible, remove the picture so that that type of information does not appear when a potential employer searches for your name online.
Update your LinkedIn profile. It’s not sufficient to remove potentially harmful information about you on the Internet. You also need to take the steps to provide positive information about you on the Internet. Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is complete and that it is compelling enough to motivate employers to call you.
Join or renew your membership in a professional association. One of the best places to network is your professional association. The people that you meet in this setting are people in your field, most of whom are employed at different organizations. It’s best to cultivate your network in a professional association before you plan to look for another position so that your network is already in place before you need it to help you land new employment.
3) What are the negatives of a dead-end job?
You don’t live up to your full potential. A dead-end job means that you don’t progress, you don’t grow, you don’t expand your abilities. Staying in a dead-end job for the rest of your career can mean that you later have regrets because when you think back you realize that you could have done more. But you settled for less.
You’re miserable, and you are likely to spread that misery around. When you are not engaged in your job, it shows. You are not enthusiastic about work, and you do not contribute to a positive work environment. People in dead-end jobs often live for the weekends because that is when they get to do what they want to do instead of what they have to do.
4) Why is it important to break free from career prison?
It’s good for your mental and physical health. Making yourself do something you hate every day for several hours a day is a strain on you both mentally and physically. Research shows that the number of heart attacks spikes on Monday mornings. Apparently the stress of thinking about going to work is enough to cause heart failure. And of course there is a close relationship between mental health and physical health. One can cause a decline in the other.
You are more likely to make a significant contribution at work. People who don’t like what they do are more likely to simply put in time. On the other hand, those who love what they do don’t need external motivation; they do what they do from their hearts.
You are more productive. Studies have shown that employees who are engaged in their work have a higher productivity rate. Especially since employers are asking more of their employees than before, it helps to love what you do so that you can meet the challenges of the job.
*Do you need help breaking free of the career prison that you are in? Talk to a certified career coach at 877-743-9521 today!