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11 Signs That Your Job Is Not Suitable For You

11 Signs That Your Job Is Not Suitable For You

You’ve noticed that something is off, and you just can’t put your finger on it. Your enthusiasm has waned, you can’t recall the last time you felt good about getting up and going to work, and you spend your days on the job clock-watching and dreaming of escaping. These are signs that perhaps it’s time to be honest and ask yourself whether this particular role is actually suitable for you. Being in a job that is not suitable for you is depressing, and can impact not only your work life, but life outside of work, too. So, why stay?

Does it get your juices flowing? Does it tap into your passion? Is it doing anything for you other than providing you with a pay check? Does it meet your career needs?

If you’re umming and ahhing about whether to stay or go, here are a few signs that may help you in deciphering whether this role is indeed the role for you.

1. You’re unable to use your natural thought processes

If the job messes with your natural thought process, or does not require you to use your natural thought process, you may find it difficult to grasp the fundamentals of the role and the systems put in place. If you’re a creative thinker for example, a systematic role may cause immense confusion as you continuously struggle to get to grips with methodical processes which require you to be extremely organized and analytical. Likewise, if you are a methodical thinker, a role requiring creative, intuitive, and out-of-the-box thinking may make you feel all out of sorts and disorganized.

Working against your natural rhythm can have its benefits. It can challenge you and develop a whole new side of you. However, if you find that continuously working against your innate thought process leaves you feeling insecure, it may be time to start looking for a job more suited to your way of thinking. After all, we were all created differently with differing strengths. It may be time to put your strengths to use.

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2. You feel it brings out the worst in you

When you started, you may have felt a tiny bag of nerves, unsure and a little tense (we all do), but that’s nothing compared to what you’re experiencing now. Any insecurities you may have had about your abilities are heightened; you feel like an imposter, you’re frayed, stressed, and anxious, and find yourself getting angry at the slightest things. In short, you feel all out of whack.

Not only will these feelings become impossible to ignore, but if you feel that deep down inside this role is definitely not suited to you, it’ll begin to plant major self-doubt within—you don’t want that kind of trouble! Also, take note of any new habits you may have taken up as a way to cope with this unsuitable role. Excessive drinking, smoking, eating (or under-eating), or any self-destructive patterns need to be addressed immediately.

If you feel the job is indeed changing you for the worst, it’s time you find something that will help to bring out your best.

3. Your fighter spirit has upped and disappeared

If workplace challenges don’t bring out your fighter spirit, a.k.a. your “can-do” attitude, it’s time to start thinking about moving on. Instead of making you want to face any work challenges head on, knowing you’re likely to come out on top, you’d rather run for the hills and avoid any challenges whatsoever.

In the ideal role, challenges can bring out the best in you, making you a confident and capable worker. However, if you’re in a role that just isn’t right for you, you’re more than likely to be floored by any difficult situation you come up against, even the seemingly easy ones, as your heart and soul are just not in it. Knowing this is a step in the right direction, as you begin thinking about the sort of job you would, and could, fight for.

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4. Your skills feel under-utilized

All those years of training, experience, and skill building, and you’re not putting any of it to use? This is a sure way to leave you feeling completely down and discouraged about your career prospects. If it doesn’t utilize at least some of your skills, what’s the point? Your skill set is extremely important and provides you with the confidence and ability to be successful at a role; knowing what to do, when, and how best to utilize your knowledge. If you’re not putting to use any of your skills, this means you’re not able to improve upon them within the job, which means your skills will lay dormant. If this is the case, please begin looking elsewhere. Continuously building on your skills is a sign you’re progressing.

5. You don’t see the role going anywhere

If the role has very little room for advancement, it may be time to rethink your reasons for staying. Feeling like you’re in a dead-end job is bad. Knowing you are, is worse. With no room to grow or manoeuvre, the gig could get old very quickly. Take this as an early sign to begin looking elsewhere for something that provides you with the opportunity for growth.

6. You know your heart is elsewhere

You not only dream about your ideal job, you’ve trained for it, bought the tools, and worked at it. But for whatever reason, you’ve put it aside, or downgraded it to hobby status. But the more you think about it, the more you realize how unsuitable your current situation is.

Look, it’s commendable to work on your dream career while doing a job that pays, and at times advisable, as it not only provides you with the necessary means to fund your dream, but you also acquire experience that may be invaluable in the future. The risk is, however, that you may become completely sidetracked by the money, benefits, or routine of the job. Your dream remains just that, a dream. If you know you’ve relegated your dream job to solely dream status, and are bored out of your mind in your current role, maybe it’s time to take that leap of faith and just go for it. Trust yourself. There will be other jobs, there may not be another dream.

7. You feel it has become second nature

Though this may not seem like a bad thing, if you never have to think about what you’re doing while you’re doing it, chances are you’re not being challenged and are now in robotic mode! The role has become too mechanical and does not require you to be “awake” for any of it. If you’re not thinking about what you’re doing while you’re doing it, it’s probably time to move on. And this goes for everything else in life! Second nature can be a good thing, but too much familiarity can lead to way too much comfortability, and you’re unlikely to make changes to a dead-end situation if you’re too comfortable! This is your life, your career. It’s time to move on to something you can put your mind to.

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8. You have been told to move on

Those close to you have probably already caught on that the job is not suitable for you. Sometimes, they are the best points of reference, especially if you’re in two minds as to what to do next. Being on the outside allows those in your circle to be objective. Detached from the bevy of emotions that may surround your decision to stay or go, their truth is a great indicator of your reality. Plus, there’s the added benefit that they truly want to see you happy and fulfilled. So listen up, they’ve probably been saying what you’ve been thinking, and feeling, all along.

9. You feel obligated to stay

Maybe you’ve recently gotten a promotion, a friend got you the role, or you have an awesome boss who has invested a great deal of time and energy in developing the role around your skills. Now, the idea of leaving feels, well, wrong. Perhaps you’ve invested years in this job, and know you’re an integral part of the force, and feel that leaving will have a negative impact on your team. It’s great that you’ve made such a positive impact, but there’s nothing more suffocating than the feeling of obligation, and pretty soon you’ll start to resent it—all of it.

You feel owned, controlled, and locked in. Yes, you feel a sense of nobility as you follow through with your deed and debt to others, but in truth, if you dislike everything about the job and only stay put out of obligation. It’s probably time to acknowledge those feelings and think about moving on. Be grateful for the opportunities, and thank those who have helped you along the way. Those who truly value you and your work will respect your decision, and even encourage it.

10. You’re in the job out of fear

If you’re in a job out of the fear of pursuing your true dreams, using it to suspend movement for fear of failure, chances are you already know this role is not suitable for you. You have to make the conscious decision to refuse to allow fear to dictate what you do. This is tremendously important. Being stuck in a job you have very little like for is soul destroying, but doing so because you’re afraid that things may not work out “out there,” sadly means you’ve already failed. If need be, take small steps to get moving if you’re not comfortable, but get moving.

It’s been said before, but now’s the time to face your fears and do it anyway. Get started on that journey. You’ll be glad you did.

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11. You’re not passionate about the role

The truth is, if you’re not passionate about the job, you’re not really going to care about what you’re doing. This is sure to lead to overall dissatisfaction with your job. Lack of passion will inevitably filter into you becoming nonchalant about deadlines, meetings, administration, finances, and a whole host of things that keeps business ticking. Plus, lack of passion for the job probably means you’re having to feign any kind of interest. This alone is exhausting, as the extra effort you have to put in to get you through the day, and week, becomes apparent to you, and most likely to those around you. It may not be always ideal, or possible, but finding a job that taps into at least a few of your passions is a step up on that ladder to overall job satisfaction.

Remember, giving in isn’t the same as giving up! Knowing something isn’t right for you means you’re on the right track in finding something that is, so be encouraged and get started. Good luck!

Featured photo credit: Hayden Petrie/Thinking about a dip via flickr.com

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Patricia C. Osei-Oppong

Writer, Poet, Marketer

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Published on November 2, 2020

How to Write a Mission Statement That Empowers Your Employees

How to Write a Mission Statement That Empowers Your Employees

A mission statement is the battle cry of an organization. It is a sentence or set of sentences that state the firm’s organizing idea—its reason for being. With a mission statement, the founders, the management, and the employees declare, “this is why we are in business”, and “this is why we fight”.

The mission statement infuses an organization with purpose and clarity and empowers employees to attack the problems and opportunities necessary to achieve the firm’s goals.

What is the purpose of your business? What is the battle cry that you want to send your employees out to battle with, empowering them with a clear purpose? Why are you here and why should your employees care?

A mission statement is not merely a bland statement of what the business does. It is an attempt by the founders to achieve buy-in from the employees and state to the world why they exist in ways that enthuse the people within the firm, earn the admiration of potential employees, and burnish the business’ brand.

In asking these questions, another question then arises: how does the typical business owner craft a mission statement that will encapsulate what the business is about and empower employees?

In this article, we will look at various, exemplary mission statements to fire up your imaginations and get you thinking and then, breakdown the tasks that must be accomplished to craft an impactful mission statement that will empower employees.

Whether you are a startup founder or the owner of an old business, you need to consider the importance of clarifying your mission and the huge impact that would have on achieving buy-in from your employees so they feel tied to the destiny of the company and are empowered to fight for its goals.

Without further ado, let’s look at mission statements in more detail!

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Examples of Exemplary Mission Statements

  • Alphabet: “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
  • IKEA: “Offer a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.”
  • Nike: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
  • Facebook: “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”
  • Verizon: “We deliver the promise of the digital world to our customers. We make their innovative lifestyles possible. We do it all through the most reliable network and the latest technology.”
  • Southwest Airlines: “Dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.”
  • Tesla: “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”

The mission statements above are the organizing ideas of some of the greatest companies in the world and as such, they influence the decision-making, behavior, and strategic direction of the company.

Every decision an employee makes is grounded in the principles laid bare in the mission statement. Through achieving clarity in the mission statement, the employees are freed to work without confusion.

Read on to learn how to write an effective mission statement,

1. Ask the Four Questions

According to Patrick Hull, four important questions go into the writing of a mission statement:[1]

  1. What is the purpose of the company?
  2. How do we do it?
  3. Whom do we do it for?
  4. What value are we bringing?

Research by Professor Chris Bart of McMaster University dovetails with this and indicates that a mission statement has to include three essential components: the target audience, the product or service offered, and the distinction or competitive advantage the company has over rivals.[2]

Bart’s research also suggests that only about 10% of mission statements say something meaningful. It is essential to be clear on the three keys otherwise your mission statement is hot air.

2. State How the Business Empowers Its Employees

Without employee buy-in, it is very difficult to achieve the goals of the business. It is for this reason that the companies people most want to work for are some of the most successful businesses in the world.[3]

Creating the right corporate culture—a culture that rewards employees, inspires them, and defines clearly why they are there, to begin with—is important. And it begins with the mission statement. It is important to not simply state why your business is good for its employees but also say how, and then work to achieve that.

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This encompasses questions of diversity, creative freedom, continuing education, fairness, and empowerment. Every business will claim that it is good for its employees, so you need to stand out from the crowd because you are competing in the market for employees.

You may feel that you have to say the obvious, bookmark ideas, and remind people of values, even if shared across the business community. But you have to find a differentiator. As you may have noticed from the above examples, many mission statements are customer-facing and rather ignore the employees. I suggest bucking the trend.

A good example of this is American Express’ mission statement, which reads:

“We have a mission to be the world’s most respected service brand. To do this, we have established a culture that supports our team members, so they can provide exceptional service to our customers.”

3. Be Candid

We have all read those mind-numbingly boring examples of corporate-ease—those pieces of corporate literature that seem to be nothing but a smorgasbord of buzzwords. Though jargon has its places in providing a shared language to transmit ideas, the mission statement is the one place that demands a more colloquial approach.

Richard Branson, in discussing how to craft a mission statement, insists that it should be clear and contain no unnecessary jargon.[4] He discussed Yahoo’s mission statement with this idea in mind and suggested that though it was interesting, it was too dense to be understood by most people and therefore, was meaningless and useless.

A good example of clarity, and simplicity is Alphabet’s (the parent company of Google) mission statement: “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Research shows that there is a direct link between future shareholder returns and the candor of corporate language.[5] The more candid a business’ language, the more trust it earns from shareholders, and the greater future performance.

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The logic can be extended to the relationship between employees and owners: establish trust with candor and thereby earn the devotion of your employees and excess effort. This means stripping away jargon to be as clear and candid as possible about what you are offering your employees. You can only earn the trust and sacrifice of your employees with candor.

4. Inspire

Tesla’s mission statement is a good example of this, not simply because of what it says but what it omits. The company commits to clean energy and advancing technologies, such as the batteries it is famous for as well as its electric vehicles.

An employee at Tesla is charged with the mission of fighting the good fight for sustainable energy. Interestingly, Tesla is a car manufacturer. But the mission statement says nothing about cars—anyone can make cars. Tesla zeroes in on something bigger than cars, and without saying so, links Tesla to broader struggles against climate change.

Whether you like Tesla or not, Tesla indeed has a fervent base of admirers and this brand strength starts with things like the mission statement.

5. Balance Realism With Optimism

One criticism of mission statements is that they often are too optimistic and unrealistic. Business is about working for ideals through reality.

Take Southwestern’s mission statement, which offers realism in the first part: “Dedication to the highest quality of customer service”—and balances it out with idealism—”delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit”—to create a powerful mission statement.

Realism alone is dull and uninspiring, and idealism and optimism on its own can seem like a reach. But together, they make a mission statement powerful. In thinking about how you will empower your employees, balance realism and optimism.

6. Think Strategically

As the organizing idea of the business, a mission statement should endure. Think long-term—think strategically. Every decision and every action taken by and within the company flows from the mission statement. Consequently, it is of the utmost importance that you frame a mission statement within the context of the long-term so that it does not constrain or narrow the scope of the business.

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7. Seek Employee Input

A lot of this discussion has been top-down. But the most important thing you can do as an employer is to ask your employees for. This will not only tell you what they want to achieve within the company and what they want from the company, but it will also help establish a corporate culture that empowers employees by constantly communicating with them and seeking their buy-in in developing the business.

This will help them stay focused even when they’re working from home. It makes little sense to have a top-down approach in establishing the corporate culture and then wondering why employees do not feel empowered.

Toyota is perhaps the best example in the world of the benefits of creating a corporate culture that embraces employee input. Indeed, the “Toyota Way” may be the most integrated corporate culture in the world and seeks employee input down to the lowliest shop floor employee.

Seeking employee input cannot be overly emphasized.

Final Words

We have seen examples of great mission statements of some of the world’s leading businesses. Along the way, we have established the importance of asking the “four questions”, stating how the business empowers its employees, being candid, inspiring, balancing realism with optimism, thinking strategically, and seeking employee input.

It is important to see the mission statement as the organizing idea of the company and not just something to chuck into a business plan. From the mission statement, you establish the corporate culture of the company and the conditions that will allow your employees to be and feel empowered.

It is vital to take the mission statement both seriously and enthusiastically. The benefits are a devoted and enthusiastic workforce as well as a stronger brand and a corporate culture that will fuel future returns.

More About Writing a Mission Statement

Featured photo credit: Bram Naus via unsplash.com

Reference

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