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Three Reasons People Change Jobs

Three Reasons People Change Jobs

In teaching others about Managing with Aloha, I spend a good amount of time on Ho‘ohana, the value of worthwhile work, explaining how you can still work with intentional focus on certain things which are important you, even though your present job may not be the one you think of as your final career choice.

We recently considered this here at Lifehack.org in this article: Create Your Best Life at Work with One Question. The question was, “What’s in this for me?”

There are several reasons that people change jobs, restlessly seeking the one they can both live with and work within. Based on my personal experience, these are the three significant ones:

We change jobs because:

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  1. We didn’t select the right job for us in the first place.
  2. We don’t get along with our boss.
  3. We don’t feel a connection to those we work with.

The solutions for each of these are in our circle of influence. We have choices, and the only questions are a) if we will own up to how we ourselves can effect the change necessary to break out of the on-the-job rut we may find we are in, and b) if we are willing to do the work it takes.

This is not a comprehensive how-to listing, but in the spirit of Lifehack.org and the proverbial “20 that gets you the 80,” here are a few thoughts and suggestions.

To get the Right Job

This is the biggie in my view, because if this is the problem for you, reasons number 2 about your boss, and number 3 about your co-workers are a moot point. On the other hand, if you love your boss, and you love your co-workers, they become traps that keep you in the job that may be wrong for you— remember you can convert your relationships with those people to friendships, and move on.

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In moving on, the single best question you can ask in a new-job interview is, “What are the core values of this company?” If your personal values are a match your work alignment will be so, so much easier. If not, getting them aligned will be very difficult; you open the door to workplace overwhelm and dissatisfaction before you even pass probation.

Get selfish. In this case, selfish is not a negative word but a smart strategy. Bob Walsh wrote a great post here called, I want I do I get that will give you some inspiration with this.

To get the Right Boss

You have to manage up well, and whether or not you like hearing this, the reality is that managing up well can usually be reduced to making things easier on your boss by being a great employee. No boss will make life miserable for the person on staff that they count on most.

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Decide on the relationship you want with your boss, and then create it. Don’t assume and make this hard on yourself, just ask them, “How do you prefer we work together?” Be brave enough and direct enough to renegotiate the working agreement they ask you for if you feel it necessary, and then deliver on what you both agreed on, so your boss will to.

To get the Right Co-Workers

To paraphrase Ghandi, be the change you wish to see in your world. Set the example you want your co-workers to follow, get involved in change discussions at work about systems and processes so your input is considered in better solutions, volunteer to lead projects, and be the poster child of great work ethic.

The strategy here is twofold: No one likes to work with co-workers who are mediocre, and like attracts like. As you perform better, you raise the bar of performance others have to live up to in the entire department or company. Second, this is a way to get your boss to do their job, coaching everyone to high levels of performance; you help them see the possibilities, challenges, and opportunities in jobs that they themselves are not in, but are required to empathize with.

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Related posts:

Post Author:
Rosa Say is the author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business. You can also visit her on www.managingwithaloha.com where she regularly writes about value alignment in business, as with Ho‘ohana.

More by this author

Rosa Say

Rosa is an author and blogger who dedicates to helping people thrive in the work and live with purpose.

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Last Updated on January 13, 2020

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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