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Last Updated on January 28, 2019

What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

There’s nothing more soul-destroying than waking up Monday morning dreading the fact that you’re about to step back into slavery for a job you hate. You savor every minute at home before sadly turning the key in the lock to close your front door. From that moment on, you’re counting down the hours and minutes until it’s ‘TGIF’. Your anxiety might even start simmering well before your weekend is over.

Your boss might be a bully or a manager who cannot actually lead and guide their team. Receiving mixed messages, being twisted and turned in multiple directions with none of the directives being for any real benefit can plummet your motivation and satisfaction so deep you’ll almost hit the Earth’s core. You love what you do and what you trained for, but any potential ounce of enjoyment has now completely evaporated. You feel dead in the water.

You might be shocked at the suggestion that if you’re feeling these things, it’s actually a very good sign! You’re likely to be on the cusp of a significant cross-road which is going to change your life. These key steps are going to set you back on the golden path to enjoying career success despite the muddy waters you currently find yourself in.

1. Recognize Your Signs of Discomfort Are Exactly the Push You Need

Long gone are the days where we might expect to join a business or corporation and spend our lifetime working our way up into a cushy senior management role that will take care of us and our families for the rest of our lives. In fact, it’s actually risky business to even think this way.

Pay rises are less frequent. Your skills and opportunities to expand your skills are now limited by staying within one job or organization. By definition, having a career means being on a continuous journey of development. Nowadays, the average person changes jobs in their lifetimes between 10 and 15 times.[1] Not changing job environments caps your capacity to grow your knowledge and strengthen your capabilities. You actually make yourself less employable.

With the globalization of many businesses, you’re not only competing against people in your local neighborhood for your ideal role, you’re competing with folks from other cities, interstate, cross-country and overseas.

Some organizations are evolving with a constant focus on being innovative, taking calculated risks and embracing new technologies — those that aren’t are falling to the wayside. If you don’t flow with the changing tides yourself, you could quickly find yourself stuck stagnant on a sinking ship with no lifeline.

Monday morning blues are a key sign it’s time to start thinking and doing things differently. What you are feeling is actually a blessing in disguise.

2. Work with a Career Coach And/Or Therapist

When we really detest our daily grind, it’s high time to keep a lookout for the development of symptoms of anxiety and/or depression.

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Don’t just look for physical signs such as feeling greater and frequent fatigue, increased emotional eating, poor sleep. Loss of motivation, concentration and lower general interest not just in your work but in your personal life activities and relationships…these signs should raise alarm bells.

Your friends and family might start reflecting they’re fed up of hearing about how your boss is constantly laying blame on you for their mistakes. Tolerance has worn thin listening to constant complaints about your doing the work of two people yet never confronting your boss about it. Continuing to play the broken record of your pain is not only sucking the lifeblood out of you but your friends and family as well.

Don’t hold off working with a therapist and/or career coach when you notice these things. Both professionals will help you recognize the full picture of your experience and how it’s impacting you. Of greatest value is their helping you to start identifying changes you need to make and how to turn those into reality.

When your emotional, physical and mental resources are drained from coping with your soul-destroying nine-to-five, your mindset is unlikely to have the optimal sensibility to hatch your escape plan. You’re likely to be operating from a fixed mindset of desperation than innovation and run the stakes of moving from one crappy job situation to another.

Invest focus to rediscovering your worth, career interests and learn how to dream big again. Go deep in exploration of what your values are around what you want your work to give to you and mean to you:

  • What sorts of relationships do I want to experience in my job and throughout my career?
  • What values, ethics and principles do I want and need to be able to honor in my work to feel fulfilled and content?
  • How do I want to show up to those I serve through the work I do?
  • How do I want to feel each morning as I wake up to go to my job?
  • How do I want to feel at the end of each day?
  • What lifestyle do I want my career to afford me?
  • What do I want my career to help me learn and grow into becoming, not just skills-wise but as a person?

If working with a coach or therapist feels like an uncomfortable step for you, consider looking into undertaking a course which helps you work through these questions. Give yourself a gentle kick to ignite momentum in a different direction.

3. Read Simon Sinek’s Find Your Why

Reading Find Your Why by globally renowned organizational consultant and speaker Simon Sinek could be a transformational step in finding your way back to experiencing a successful and enjoyable career.

Sinek and his co-authors explain there isn’t really a difference between having a professional why and a personal why.

It’s just as much the reason why your friends and family love you as an expression of the work you put yourself into every day. It’s less about tasks and activities and really about what emotional and mental satisfaction doing those things brings you.

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What results is a beautiful tapestry of people not just experiencing an incredible product or service from you. You love what you do, create and get to give and they love you back for channeling that passion into that service and product they experience benefit from.

This article also guides you through to discover your why:

How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

4. Consider Expanding Your Thinking and Entrepreneurial Flair

You might think “I’ll always be an employee” and the thought of starting a business might scare the living daylights out of you. Even then, there is a strong chance you have monetizable talents that could, at the very least, swiftly direct your mindset away from the chilling notion of being stuck in your dead-end job for eternity.

The thought of creating a product or service all by yourself could be dauntingly foreign. Doing something like this could feel like ridiculously fathoming a climb of Mt Everest when you don’t know the first thing about climbing or hiking!

But once you start looking and having explorative conversations with different mindsets about ideas, instead of debriefing the horrible day you had yet again in your job, things will start to change. Like Sleeping Beauty being awoken from slumber by Prince Charming’s first kiss, you’ll start discovering a whole new way of thinking you won’t ever want to harness.

Look at what skills you have to perform your current job. What skills have you acquired in the past that might simply have been dormant for a little while? Do you miss being able to exercise certain skills?

When you have the discussion with your career coach, you’ll discover there are probably many more skills, knowledge and experiences you could even package and sell than you realize. However, remember: it’s not just about the money. It never should be.

Even if you have been an administrator for many years, could the next step be writing an introductory course administrators or young job seekers could benefit from? There is no better teacher or education platform to learn from than hands-on experience. It might be a side gig you create which you pitch to and deliver at high schools and job-seeking agencies.

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You might create a face to face workshop and/or an accompanying course that you create and sell on online education platforms such as Udemy or Teachable. Your course might inform and teach interview techniques and communication tips for working with managers and bosses. You might suggest what exercising initiative looks like and what individuals can do to help themselves feel comfortable and confident early in their jobs.

There often is nothing more satisfying than learning and knowing that someone else’s challenges and problems were overcome because of wisdom and experience we could share with them. We all have something we can teach and offer people. What might you have to offer?

5. Market Yourself in Terms of What You Want to Be Doing, Not Just What You’re Currently Doing

It’s time to start letting the masses know what you’re capable of, not just in terms of what you have done but what you’re aspiring towards and charging forward to achieve.

Global recruitment firm Robert Half explains how personal branding is essential to progress and enjoy a successful career.[2] Providing an impressive sounding resume and a cover letter are no longer enough.

What we engage with and how we show up online and offline is taken into account more now than ever. So we need to be strategic.

If you are looking for opportunities to work in overseas companies in your industry, you might consider researching best practices other off-shore companies are engaging in and writing your own short LinkedIn post about it.[3] Or you may simply look to post a link to what you have found and provide short critical evaluations about it.

Start thinking about how you market yourself and stop leaving it to chance. Whilst many think social media is only for personal social items, consider how your engagement on these platforms portrays you to your audiences. Steer potential employers and business partners to see you as you want to be seen, not just as you are.

6. Get Back on Track to a Successful Career Path by Learning New Things

When you are waking up each day with a sick feeling in your stomach knowing work duties call, there is a hard reality you have to face:

It’s your responsibility to make the necessary changes. It is no one else’s responsibility to make you feel happy or satisfied with your work. At the end of the day, it’s yours.

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If you want to have a successful career, you have to take charge of the direction and types of experiences you want to have on your journey. Where do you want to go? How far and why? What training or opportunities might give you this? Is it executive coaching? Perhaps undertaking an MBA? Allow yourself to think laterally too.

Let’s say project management is a skill set you need to learn, or incompetent boss snidely commented you would never make it without these skills. Could volunteering to crew for an event speaking company platform fast track your learning as to what’s involved? Financial forecasting, marketing, resource and supplies management, working with different team member personalities and managing client relations…you could never gain hands-on experiential learning like this you via a classroom or online course.

The e-learning industry is forecast to reach $325USbillion by 2025.[4] With the quality of online learning gateways growing exponentially with very affordable costs of access to world-class teachers, golden opportunities to increase your skill set and knowledge are at your fingertips. Never has there been a better time for you to design a career pathway and forge an enriching educational journey that feeds not just your professional curiosities but personal interests too.

Final Thoughts

No successful career has ever involved dancing to the same tune. When you find yourself despising your job more often than not, change is nigh. By using just one of these tips above, you can rechart your course to have a successful career.

In a short amount of time, you won’t only resuscitate the self-worth and recognition of our unique value that dead-end jobs can steal from you. You’ll enjoy deeper, prolonged levels of satisfaction, energizing self-discovery and opportunities to turn your career into a far more gratifying journey you could ever have imagined.

The best part is that you don’t even have to wait to land the dream job. The journey itself will be magical.

More Resources About Career Success

Featured photo credit: Christian Battaglia via unsplash.com

Reference

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Malachi Thompson

Executive Leadership and Performance Consultant

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Last Updated on April 17, 2019

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

1. Communication Skills

Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

2. Flexibility

Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

3. Being a Team Player

Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

4. Positive Mental Attitude

There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

5. A Strong Work Ethic

People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

  • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
  • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
  • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
  • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

6. Public Speaking

Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

7. Integrity

From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

  • Always doing what you say you will do
  • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

…even when no one is around to check up on you.

There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

8. Managing Your Time

Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

9. Assertiveness

In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

  • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
  • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
  • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
  • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

How do you use this information for yourself?

It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

10. Creative Thinking

LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Final Thoughts

The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

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