SIX REASONS STOPPING YOU GETTING THE JOB YOU WILL LOVE

i love my job

‘Showing negative emotion is not the done thing. I pretend everything is fine’

‘It’s never my fault when things go wrong.’

‘I find it hard to make decisions. I just want to please everyone.’

‘I sometimes get headaches when things go wrong.’

‘I find it best to distract myself when times are hard.’

‘I just keep going as I can handle it.’

Do any of these quotes resonate with you? I am sure you have found yourself saying or thinking some of them in response to challenging situations and this is, of course, okay. Handling challenging circumstances can be really hard. However, problems arise when these responses become the norm and they start to impact your career progression, desire for a career change or search for a new job. It is at this point when it may be necessary to think of ways to overcome these responses to help you move forward.

Consider this scenario spoken by an employee:

“One day I was walking down the street and my boss passed me on the other side of the road. I called out to say hello, but she ignored me. I wondered why she was ignoring me and what I had done wrong. I come to the quick conclusion that I must have done something to make her unhappy with me. I am not doing so well at work at the moment and I think I am just not good enough. I returned to work and had to stay late as my work took double the time it should. I didn’t want to get anything wrong again, so I kept rechecking it. When I got home I didn’t talk to anyone and pretended everything was fine. I find it is best to distract myself, although I often arrive home with a headache. All I want is to enjoy my work, but I can’t see how this is going to happen. I was thinking of a career change but what’s the point? I don’t enjoy this job, and if I pursue a career change I might not enjoy the new job either. I have always been told that it is best just to keep going as the grass isn’t always greener.’

Now consider the psychology:

The way we see ourselves, the world and other people affects our thoughts which have an impact on our feelings and subsequently on our behaviour.

When something happens to us (a trigger) in the environment around us, we automatically think something in reaction to this trigger which will make us feel in a certain way and subsequently act in a certain way. Our thoughts, feelings and actions are all linked together.

How does this have an impact on me and getting a job I love?

Let’s link the psychology with the scenario above. The main thoughts triggered by the events on the street all stemmed from ‘I am not good enough’.   These quick concluding thoughts (‘she’s ignoring me’, ‘what have I done wrong?’, ‘I am not doing well at work’) would have made this employee feel in a certain way. As a consequence of these thoughts and (currently unnamed) feelings their work took double the time. This negatively affected their enjoyment at work and behaviour at home as well as their ambitions for the future such as the option of a career change.

As an objective observer we can of course rationalise these events and simply conclude that the boss didn’t hear their employee say hello. However, for the employee, the lack of response from their boss supported their existing negative thought of not being a good enough which would have triggered negative feelings which then spiralled into negative behaviours/consequences at work and at home.

As this employee continues to react to similar scenarios in the same way, this vicious cycle continues, potentially stopping them experiencing or finding a job they will love.

The problem

One of the reasons these vicious cycles continue is because of our handling of our feelings during the cycle, often individuals respond to challenging events by ignoring the negative feeling triggered to provide them with short-term relief from the situation. In the above scenario, the employee used distraction as a means of coping and suppressed their feelings. However, negative emotions do not simply disappear. The more they are ignored, the more they continue to grow under the surface until things get so bad they burst out in an unhealthy or unhelpful manner.

These are six ways individuals can hide or ignore negative emotions:

  1. Acceptance of the views and opinions of others without question. For example, believing what you have always been told (‘showing negative emotion is not the done thing’).
  1. Blaming everything and everyone around you for things that happen to you (‘It’s never my fault when things go wrong’).
  1. Wanting to please everyone and meet everyone else’s expectations apart from your own (‘I find it hard to make decisions. I just want to please everyone’).
  1. Thinking your own emotions are not valid and so the emotion displays itself through a physical symptom (‘I sometimes get headaches when things go wrong’).
  1. Avoiding people or the situation (‘I find it best to distract myself when times are hard’).
  1. Wanting to control everything around you so that nothing goes wrong (‘I just keep going as I can handle it’).

These six ways can stop you from looking after yourself when you are feeling down and finding a job you will love.

In our scenario above, the employee used distraction as a coping mechanism and accepted the view that they must keep going as the grass isn’t always greener. There was no mention of what they were feeling, but they must have been feeling something. What will be the outcome for this employee? We already know that they were experiencing headaches and have given up on the idea of a career change.

Don’t let your negative emotions fester. Give yourself permission to feel negative emotions so that you can express them in a healthy and constructive manner in accordance with events happening around you. This will enable you to act on a career change or job search as well as find a job you will love.

Over the next few months I am going to cover each of these six areas in more detail, providing you with some guidance to help you move forward in your career and enjoy your job.

FOUR REASONS WHY CELEBRATION IS SO IMPORTANT FOR CAREER HAPPINESS AND FULFILMENT

Celebrating success provides the motivation and confidence required to face the next challenge or opportunity in your career.

celebrate
When I work with career coaching clients, I always ask them how they are going to celebrate when they have achieved their career goal.  This is a simple question but is often met with silence, followed by, ‘I don’t know, I don’t usually do anything’.

How often do you celebrate your career successes and achievements?

Weekly? Monthly?  Annually?  Never?

It is extremely common for celebrating career success to be a rarity or not to feature at all in our lives.  This is really sad, isn’t it?  We just move on to the next thing and miss out on the party!

What stops us from celebrating our achievements?   

Some believe that their successes aren’t worth celebrating in comparison with what others have achieved in their careers.  ‘Only high impact achievements and successes are worth celebrating, not the successes of little old me.’

If this is true, can I ask what is a high impact success?  Landing on the moon? Developing a vaccine that will save millions of lives?  Is this what we need to achieve to justify a celebration?  Well, that leaves most of us out of the celebration circle so let’s just plough on then and keep working and working and working.

BUT, ploughing on is hard work

The danger of ploughing on is that when we keep moving on to the next step, then the next, then the next, the cracks start to appear in our lives. We complete one goal and move straight on to the next.  We fear failing and so have to keep going.  ‘I’ve been lucky to succeed this time, but I am worried if I take a break I won’t succeed again’.  There is no pause, no pat on the back and no recognition of what you have achieved so far. Ploughing on makes us feel exhausted and miserable as our mind and body cannot keep up.

By not recognising and acknowledging our achievements, we start to believe that what we are doing is not quite good enough and work harder, increasing the risk of burn out.

The four reasons to celebrate

Here are four reasons why spending time acknowledging and rewarding yourself for your efforts and achievements will make you feel happier and more fulfilled in your career.

1. CONFIDENCE

Celebration is a positive action which reinforces that you are good enough and can achieve.  Each celebration reminds you how brilliant you are, and this positive mindset will give you the confidence to move forward in your career and enable you to face challenges in a constructive manner.

2. MOTIVATION

Celebrating makes us feel good.  Feeling good will enable you to maintain your motivation to succeed as you face your next goal.

3. OPPORTUNITIES

Celebrating with others strengthens relationships (work and personal).  These relationships can provide you with future support, inspiration and career opportunities.

4. ENJOYMENT

A celebration is a time for you to enjoy yourself.  Enjoyment makes us feel better and when combined with achievement our wellbeing and happiness is greatly increased.

When we celebrate our achievements, we feel great, believe we are great and go on to achieve greater things as our positive thoughts, feelings and actions give us the power to drive us forward to the next opportunity.

Celebrate now!

Take the time now to think about what you have achieved in the last month and write down how and when you are going to celebrate.  It doesn’t matter how big or small the success, what matters is that you celebrate.  You will feel so much better for it.

CELEBRATE YOUR SUCCESSES NOW AND GIVE YOURSELF THE BEST CHANCE OF BEING HAPPY AND FULFILLED IN YOUR CAREER

The best kept secret to career success

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Would you believe me if I said the best career idea for you may be your best kept secret?!

We often reach a crossroads in our career when we have to decide on the best possible career path.  To help you decide, you research lots of different ideas and apply for lots of different jobs. You get to the point when you have a list of career and job ideas and need to decide which to pursue.  These ideas will be similar to the jobs you have done in the past or may complement these jobs, but I can guarantee there will be one idea missing from your list and that is…

YOUR BEST KEPT SECRET

This is the one wacky idea that you have had in the back of your mind for years.  The idea that is your fantasy dream career.  The one that excites you the most. The one you dream about on a sunny day.  The big idea that you can only dream of because in reality it is completely impossible to achieve and unrealistic.  This is why you have kept it a secret.  It is your own crazy idea that no one needs to know about as it will never happen, will it?  There is no point telling anyone about something that will never happen, is there?  However, you do want it to happen.  You would like to explore it…..is that so crazy?

Keeping a secret like this is stressful.  It takes up a lot of your thinking time and stops you from actually achieving it.   You would love this career idea of yours to be real, but you are actively hiding it from people.  Even worse, you are putting a lot of energy in to not achieving your ideal career, something that could be the best career decision you ever made.  Your best kept secret eventually leads to frustration, unhappiness and poor wellbeing because you are not being true to yourself.

IT’S TIME TO TELL PEOPLE YOUR SECRET

Imagine if J K Rowling kept her book ideas a secret or Monet hid his paintings.  Aren’t we glad all those who have wanted to research and discover vaccinations actually did it? We are certainly thankful to Marie Curie for her contribution to cancer treatments.  Her humble beginnings didn’t stop her following her passions.  Her passions were clear, they were not a secret.

Go back to your list of career and job ideas now and add your secret idea to the list.  (Until you have done this your list will remain incomplete.)

Once your list is complete, you are ready for the next step which is to evaluate your ideas and that is ALL OF THEM, not just those that seem the easiest, the most obvious and the most accepting of others, evaluate them all.   Ask yourself:

What do you really want?  

What more do you need to do to clarify this further for you?

These questions will help to guide you as you evaluate each option:

  1. How much will this cost me? Pursuing a career change can have an impact on your finances.  Prepare a budget so that you are aware of any financial limitations.
  2. Will this be a hobby or career? What does work-life balance mean to you?  When considering your motivations and interests, distinguish between those you want to include in a job and those you would prefer to keep as a hobby.
  3. What experience do I need? Many people worry about lacking experience.  Focus on what you can do and on your transferable skills.  If you lack specific advisable experience, consider doing some work experience or voluntary work.
  4. Who can I network with? Carry on networking and asking people for their advice and opinion.  This is the best way to increase opportunities that will come your way. Use Social media networking tools to help.

There are going to be lots of questions going through your mind as you evaluate the options and start making decisions about your best fit career.   It is therefore really important at this stage to make time to plan and investigate and…

…Remember…

The get out of this rut quickly career idea isn’t always the best one.  The best career idea for you is often your best kept secret.

Please do browse through my free career resources for further help.

Evaluate all your career ideas to discover the ideal career path for you (even the secret ones!)

What do you do when your current job doesn’t suit you?

i love my job

 

 

In November 2019, I wrote about designing a personal work mug that reflects everything about you to help you to discover suitable career options that best suit your personality. (Do spend time to read this blog as it will help your understanding of this month’s topic.) This month I am going to write about what to do when cracks start to form in your personal work mug, and you are beginning to dislike your life at work as it no longer suits you.

Jobs that do not suit your personality

Cracks will start to form in your mug when you are in a job that does not match your work mug design and therefore does not suit your personality.  As written in my November blog, you want to find a job that uses your most enjoyable skills in a field based on your favourite subjects.  The design of your personal work mug is crucial as it reflects these things about you.

When cracks start to form, it can be miserable.  No one wants to drink from a cracked work mug but, unfortunately, these cracks will not mend themselves and can keep on forming if you don’t do anything about it, making work extremely stressful.

Reality check – does your current role suit you?

Take some time now to review the design of your personal work mug.  Compare your personality (the skills, interests and knowledge you wish to use and environments that suit you) to your current role.  What is missing from your current role that is included on your personal mug design?  Does your current role match your skills?  Does it include your interests?  Is the working environment one where you can be at your best?

From this information, you can establish whether your current role suits your personality or whether there are any discrepancies. If there are discrepancies, work out whether it is the content of your current job or the working environment that is not suiting you? It may be a mixture of both.

Working environment

If it is the working environment that you are struggling with, first decide whether the issues you face can be resolved.  Perhaps you find you are happy with your day to day role but are struggling with team management.  Does anyone at work know what you are having difficulties with and can anyone help you?  Would a different role within the same company suit you?  Alternatively, is it an option for you to look for a similar job within a different company or industry?

Job Content

If it is the content of the job that is not suiting you, you will want to consider alternative jobs or career options.  Perhaps you already have some ideas.  Perhaps you want to concentrate on your interests more.  Perhaps you want a complete career change.

These are all areas to consider as you work out what is your best next step in your job search as you identify what is missing from your current job and explore different ideas that will best suit your personality.  Make sure you review all these areas to prevent future cracks appearing in your work mug.

If you are considering a career change, do read my career change help sheet for further guidance.

The key ingredient for making a career change

i love my jobDo you enjoy a relaxing cup of herbal tea to ease the worries of the day? Which combination of ingredients would be your perfect choice of tea?  Perhaps your favourite is green tea with strawberry and vanilla or perhaps it’s apple and ginger.   There are so many types to choose from, all with a unique flavour made from a combination of different ingredients.

What would happen if you made yourself your favourite green tea with strawberry and vanilla, but there had been an error and the vanilla ingredient was missing?  It would be a different flavour, wouldn’t it? The tea would have a slightly different taste.   Each ingredient of your favourite tea has an important part to play in balancing the flavours to make it unique.  When an ingredient is missing, the balance of flavours is disrupted, and it will no longer taste like your favourite tea.  You may not enjoy it as much and feel slightly disappointed when you take your first sip.  It has done very little to ease your worries.

You are also made up of a combination of ingredients which make you unique.   These ingredients are your values, the fundamental principles you live by and are of absolute importance to you. They make up who you are (your unique flavour) and motivate you to achieve what you want to achieve.

Ensuring you are living your life in accordance with your values is an important consideration when considering a career change.  This is because when a value is not being fulfilled or an ingredient is missing from your life, the balance in your life is disrupted and you will become less motivated to achieve your goals.   You become stuck, feel stressed and lose some enjoyment of life.

If you have lost motivation, now is the perfect opportunity for you to consider your values.  Take some time to think about what is important to you right now.  You may wish to use headings such as wealth, health, family, work, relationships and fun and recreation to help you.  When thinking about each area, consider what positive values you get from this area and start identifying repeated values. Examples of values include love, wisdom, purpose and fulfilment.  Remember, each value will mean something different to different people.  What is important is what it means to you.

Once you have your list of values, you can identify any that are absent from your life right now and identify ways to incorporate them into your goals, including your career ambitions.  Any frustration you have felt in the past may have been due to a conflict with one of your values.  You will be more motivated at work if the content of your job and the environment you work in are aligned to your values.

Tessa’s 2018 career blog round-up – something to help everyone’s career!

CareerIt doesn’t seem that long ago when I was writing my 2017 round up and already we are looking forward to our next Christmas break.  I wonder what lies ahead for your career in 2019.  Will it be a career change?  Will you be returning to work?  Are you facing any uncertainty at work, perhaps through redundancy? Perhaps you are contemplating having a break from work?  Is there a promotion you have your eyes on?

Whatever your situation at work, I hope my 2018 blogs and articles will provide you will some helpful and insightful information to help you. There is something for everyone…

BLOGS

Unpacking an inspiring career in 2018 (Jan)uk_career_development_1000px

Hidden careers you never knew existed (Feb)

How do you choose the right career coach for you? (Feb)

Aiming for perfection is not realistic (Mar)

How to explain a career break (April)

Stop procrastinating and just do it! (May)

Find career inspiration now from our new spotlight interviews (May)

How to tackle the changing job market (Jul)

The easiest way to find a job you actually enjoy (Oct)    

How to redesign your career now? (Nov)

 

GUEST BLOG

CV Pitfalls/setbacks and how to get over them by CV-Library

 

SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEWS

Fundraiser follows passion and sets up successful travel company

Discover how Radha made an inspirational career change from charity fundraiser to setting up her own company.

Engineer and Mum makes successful career change following career break

Find out how Suzanne made an exciting career change and successfully returned to work after a two-year break to start her own business.

Creating your dream career through a portfolio career

Discover how Toni Sharp has created a portfolio career, combining work as an employment solicitor and her love for travel.

 

ARTICLES

Three action points to help you change career (Jan – Life Coach Directory)

Taking a career break from work (Jan – Jobsite)

What to do when work gets you down (March – Life Coach Directory)

How to find hidden career opportunities (May – Life Coach Directory)

Top 10 UK Career Development Blog (June)

The secret to finding the best career path for you (Aug – Life Coach Directory)

Getting the most from your career search when times are tough (Oct – Life Coach Directory)

Four simple words that can transform your career (Dec – Life Coach Directory)

I look forward to being in touch again with more blogs and articles in the New Year!  In the meantime, I wish you a very merry Christmas!

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

The easiest way to find a job you actually enjoy

Work-life-balanceAt a wedding I attended a few years ago, I started chatting to a lady during the reception. The reception was taking place in a marquee in the beautiful countryside and, as expected, everyone was in good spirits.  The lady I was talking to was extremely friendly and, having introduced myself to her, I asked:

‘What do you do?’ 

She looked slightly embarrassed and hesitated.  She eventually responded by saying that she didn’t do anything.

Really?  Can this be right?  Did she do nothing at all?

Baffled by her answer and unsure how to respond, I moved the conversation on as I continued chatting with her.  During our conversation I discovered that she of course did do something.  In fact, she did lots of things!  She was a mother of three children, a housewife, volunteered a lot of time to her local community and enjoyed running.

This lady’s response is not unusual.

For many, work has been such a dominant part of their lives that it dominates their thoughts, feelings and lives.  When asked ‘what do you do?’, the only thing they think of is work.

Does this mean without work, we do nothing?

There are risks involved in allowing work to dominate our lives in this way.  These risks are created from the presence of a huge imbalance in our lives as we give lots of time and energy to work, leaving little time to attend to all other aspects of our lives.  This imbalance is barely noticeable when work is going well.  During these times you feel strong and good about yourself.  You are achieving.  However, we all know that work is rarely good all the time and there is a risk that when it is not going well, or you are not in paid employment, the imbalance can make you feel fragile, unhappy and stressed.  It is left to the weaker areas of your life to make you feel good about yourself.  While you feel like this, the possibility of finding a career you enjoy moves further and further away as you become increasingly despondent and stressed.

I may be painting a bleak picture, but I want to highlight to you the risk of allowing work to take over your life and the impact this can have on a job search, or even your performance at work, when it is not going well.

If you find that work is starting to dominate your thoughts, feelings and actions, it is time to restore the balance in your life. Take the time to think about all areas of your life, such as health, contribution, learning, relaxation and relationships, and work out how you can establish a healthy balance between them all each week.  Perhaps make some time to learn something new or to help others.   Also, ensure you allow enough time to exercise, see friends and to relax.  You want to be able to provide a range of answers to the question ‘What do you do?’ so that when the strength of one area in your life is under threat, other parts of your life can help to strengthen and restore it again.

Restoring the balance in your life will improve your motivation, confidence and happiness, making it easier to continue your job search and find a job you enjoy.

Further reading:

Top ten tips for finding a work-life balance

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk