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8 Steps To Breaking Free From The Miserable Job

8 Steps To Breaking Free From The Miserable Job

70% of people hate their jobs. For the remaining portion, it is just as miserable with 18% describing their job situation as disengaged and discontent. Gallop’s 2013 poll on the American Workplace highlights a 28% increase in job dissatisfaction since 2010. The figures reveal that although dissatisfied, still more people are remaining in these detrimental situations. No doubt much of the paralysis comes out of simply not knowing how to make a transition. Here are 8 steps to break free from the miserable job.

1. Is it the job, or is it you?

Oftentimes, there can be a great deal of baggage that is brought into the workplace or your the personal life. Make sure that the frustration you are experiencing is in fact coming from your work and that you are not falsely attributing your frustration to your job. Perhaps the passion for the job is still there, but it is buried underneath your personal struggles. Think of a time when your personal life was great. How did you feel about your job during that period? If your personal life is great and you are still miserable with your job, that is a great indication that you need a sea-change.

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2. Values, Vehicle, & Vision

You need to be absolutely clear in these three areas. Your values are the non-negotiable details of what you are passionate about. For example, being your own boss, in the food industry, working with kids etc. Your vehicle is the how of making those things possible. It is the delivery system for your values—the job, the company. Put these two together and you will have your vision: the what + the how of your passion. Unless you are absolutely clear about these aspects, then you will just jump from one miserable job to another.

3. Research

Once you have your values, vehicle, and vision clear. The next step is to research your socks off. Get online and access as many free articles and videos that are available on your passion or dream job. This is a great step for gauging your level of interest. It will either cause you to press on with your passion or re-evaluate if it is indeed the right path for you.

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4. Reach Out

Identify some key people in the field that you are wanting to step into. Check out their company website and look for their email. This will require you to silence that voice of fear and be brave enough to try and connect with someone you do not know. What is the worse that could happen? They could say “no.” Just go onto the next person.

5. Salvage

While you are doing all of the above. Salvage the time and potential resources you have at your current job. You do not have to let the cat out of the bag with quitting, but speak to your workmates—you never know who they may be able to introduce you to. Also use this time to save up as much money as possible to fund your new venture. If you have a great relationship with your boss, you definitely want to check out who they are connected with. Definitely do not burn any bridges.

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6. The “Side Hustle.”

Many folks who have made successful mid-career shifts refer to the crucial stage in their transition known as the “Side Hustle.” Once you have researched and gathered the knowledge you need to start putting some wheels on your dreams, you can really get it rolling by engaging in it on a “part-time” basis. Turn all the theory into practice, taking it step by step. Set up the website, buy the basic equipment that you require. Treat it as taking on a part-time job for now until you really get some great momentum.

7. Support Network.

An encouraging community is key, whether that consists of your spouse, your family, or friends. You are guaranteed to hit some low points as you step out into uncharted waters. Share your goals with some close friends and have them not only keep you accountable, but also be that shoulder to cry on when things get a little tough. Just make sure you keep pressing on!

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8. Validate

Before you completely cut the umbilical chord to your old job, you need to think about the long term viability of your new venture. You are not looking to make a quick sale and be out of the game at half-time. The “side hustle” is crucial in its ability to validate your venture. Look for signs of long term success. No musician wants to be known as a “one-hit wonder” but rather a veteran of the industry.

It is also important to note that unless you are in a great financial situation and can afford to take an extended unpaid break, it is not advisable to immediately quit your job. It is easy to be impulsive when you are unhappy and miserable, but you need to keep your wits about you and be wise in your transition.

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Published on March 25, 2019

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up. You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out.

But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

3. Go to All Office Networking Events

Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

4. Show Initiative

Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

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Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

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Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

7. Find a Mentor

With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

9. Set Your Professional Bar High

Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

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Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

The Bottom Line

Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

“Half of life is showing up.”

The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

Remember, your career is your business!

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Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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