With rising unemployment, underemployment and a recession, although potentially a short-lived one, a strong and consistent sentiment for many is “I’m lucky to have a job.” And possibly the view from those who are unfortunately out of work, this sentiment in their opinion is true.

Expressing gratitude for employment and the job you have has many benefits. Practicing gratitude helps build relationships, enhances empathy, improves your sleep and your mental strength. However, can there be too much of a good thing? Yes, there can be too much of a good thing when others take advantage of you because of it, or it keeps you stuck in a job that starts out feeling unsatisfying but ultimately grows into something that negatively impacts your mind, body and spirit.

LUCK IS NOT CHANCE, IT’S TOIL; FORTUNE’S EXPENSIVE SMILE IS EARNED.” EMILY DICKINSON

While many organisations are doing all they can to stay in business and keep people employed, it’s not sustainable for people be content with having a job where they are working full time hours for 80% of the pay, or their hours have been cut back to the point where they are struggling to make ends meet. How long can organisations bank on the lucky to have a job sentiment?

The future remains uncertain, as we head into a new year. This uncertainty has many of us telling ourselves a story about our job and career. Like “it is not the time to change jobs” or “there aren’t many jobs out there” or “I’ll just wait and see what happens”, “better the devil you know” or “while they keep paying me, I will keep turning up”. None of these statements sit comfortably with me. In particular the keep paying me and I will turn up, it tastes like surviving rather than thriving. And while thriving may seem too lofty a goal in this climate surely, we can aim a little higher than just surviving.

One of my recent coaching clients perhaps has a story you can relate to. She worked in a small financial services office. Prior to COVID-19 and the restrictions enforced on workplaces, she had struggled to achieve the flexibility she was after. She had great relationships with some of her colleagues, her Manager and the person who claims to be a HR practitioner but with no qualifications or experience in the field, both contribute to what amounts to a pretty unpleasant place to work. 

On deciding to start applying for jobs, her partner of 7 years responded “Now is not the time to be looking for a job.” Choosing to ignore this unsupportive response and invest her trust and confidence in a couple of other close relationships who could help support her through her desire to make a change, she started the job seeking process. With expert resume review and coaching through the interview and negotiation process, it was not long before she secured a more flexible role closer to home in what turning out to be a much more supportive and enjoyable workplace.  Now in her 50s, it is not about climbing any ladder, but about achieving the life she wants to live and how work enables that, rather than negatively impacts it.

If you are frustrated with your job or career, unhappy, bored, or have that nagging voice inside you that tells you’re capable of more and all the gratitude you practice won’t quieten those feelings, then it is time to do something about it. 

Five things you can do to make a change;

Check the stories you are telling yourself. Otherwise known as self-limiting beliefs. Are your thoughts and beliefs about changing your job true? Are they true in every scenario? Do you have all the information you need to make an informed decision? What would be the impact if you accepted your belief as true and did nothing about making a change? 

Choose your support team wisely. Any change can be difficult and navigating a new career or job is no exception. However, it is achievable, especially with one or two close relationships for support. Choose people who will respond actively and in a supportive way, and who will also be honest with you when you need it.  

Gather some data. Look at what jobs are available and talk to a few people you trust. Broaden your search, perhaps outside of what you might normally look for. This information is intended to broaden your thinking and challenge any untruths you may be basing your decisions on. Changing jobs or careers is a numbers game, the more options you have the better chance you have of success.

Get ready. The simple act of updating your resume, can help you feel a little more in control. It is good practice to regularly update your resume, so when the time comes to make a change you are well prepared. Again, increasing your chance of success is based on pursuing a change that leverages your transferable skills and experience. 

Ask for help. If you know you want to make a change, but are unclear as to what to change to, get help. Seek out a coach or if your budget does not extend to a coach, look at your network and talk to someone who you can help you find some direction. Like in step 2, choose wisely and if you are relying on your network don’t rely on a single opinion.

It’s likely you are a lot more capable than you think and making a change is absolutely achievable. With the right mindset, good support, preparation and by taking small achievable steps you can move from surviving in your work to thriving. To finding work that is more enjoyable and enables the life you want to live. 


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