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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 April 8, 2019

22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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  1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
  2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
  3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
  4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
  5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
  6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
  7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
  8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
  9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
  10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
  11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
  12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
  13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
  14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
  15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
  16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
  17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
  18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
  19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
  20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
  21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
  22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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