Why You Shouldn’t Make Your Job The Scapegoat For Your Out-of-Whack Life
Via Careerealism : According to a Gallup poll, 70% of the workforce says they’re not engaged with their work. Disengagement is often viewed as being unhappy. Furthermore, many people assume it’s an unfulfilling job that causes this unhappiness. However, in my experience, that theory is misguided. People may claim it’s the job that makes them unhappy, but in reality, it’s often other areas of their life causing the problem. However, instead of owning up to the disappointments and failures they are experiencing in these other areas, it’s easier to blame the job or employer. Let me give you and example…
Your Company Doesn’t Control How You Take Care Of Yourself
I worked with a man in his late twenties. He had been with the same software company for five years. When he first started there, he did very well. He even got a promotion after a year. But, after that, his career plateaued. No more promotions. He came to me because he had just been passed over for a promotion for the second time. When I asked him why he felt he was getting passed over, he said, “The company is owned by Germans. They are really intense and inflexible. Especially, my boss.” On the surface, this might sound like solid reason for leaving. Yet, I was in HR for many years prior to being a career coach. I know when you get passed over not once, but TWICE for a promotion, the company is trying to tell you something about your performance. So, I asked him, “What feedback did they give you as to why you aren’t getting promoted.” He said, “The told me I don’t speak up enough and aren’t showing enough initiative.” I then asked, “What happened from the time you got your first promotion until now?” He thought about it and said, “When I first joined, I worked really hard. I stayed late and took on a lot of projects. I wanted to impress them – and, I did. I got a promotion, but it came at a cost. I let my health go. Now, I work so much I don’t have time to exercise or eat right. I’m too tired. I’ve put on forty pounds in the last five years. I don’t feel very confident because the rest of the team is more fit than me. Especially, the Germans. So, I don’t feel comfortable speaking up.” It was clear the job wasn’t the problem. It was his inability to manage his health.
Switching Jobs Will Only Make History Repeat Itself
Instead of looking for a new job, I encouraged my client to focus on designing a life that let him take better care of himself and do his job. As I explained, “Going to a new company will mean you’ll need to start over impressing people. It won’t get easier to manage your health, it will get harder. You don’t want history to repeat itself.” He agreed. He got a personal trainer and started working out regularly. He told his boss about his desire to get fit and the boss encouraged him to carve out whatever time he needed to workout. Within months he had dropped weight and felt great. You won’t be surprised to learn he got a promotion. He said, “It felt so good to be successful at managing my health. The stuff that bugged me at work before doesn’t bug me anymore. I’ve been more social and I’m speaking up and taking charge like I used to.”
Want To Get Real About Your Situation? Assess Yourself!
One of the most powerful career coaching exercises I complete with clients is called the Professional Strengths Assessment. It’s a set exercises you complete to help understand who you are as a professional so you can focus on creating a more satisfying work-life balance. The first exercise is called the, “Life Balance Grid.” It’s a test I designed over a decade ago that helps you assess how happy you are in the eight key areas of life. You then prioritize these eight key areas and use the results to see if your career really is the source of your unhappiness. If it is, then we are able to work together to proactively focus on finding a career path and a job opportunity that is a better fit. If it isn’t, then you learn that changing jobs right now won’t make you happier. This is important to me because jumping from job to job and feeling unfulfilled is a real career confidence killer. And, since the eight key areas of life are all interconnected, if you don’t address the lowest point, you will find it dragging down your happiness in all of them.
Never assume your career is to blame for an out-of-whack life. When you spend time assessing your professional self, you will get clearer in your priorities, strengths and preferences. When you are informed, you are more empowered to take control to find the career success and satisfaction you want and deserve!
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