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Get a life

I was listening to a conversation on the train recently between two smartly dressed commuters. Both were complaining about their jobs, their bosses and, in short, their lives. 

I got the distinct impression that this was an often repeated dialogue as they told their anecdotes of being short-changed for promotions, working with idiots and being managed by egomaniacs. 

There was an interesting dichotomy in the debate, snippets of the conversation focussed on their homes lives, families, community interests and political views. These grown-up people making responsible decisions every day saw themselves as powerless in the workplace. Why is this?

We have all found ourselves in jobs at one time or another that we hated. When Friday evening was a chance to offload the stress onto others and Sunday evening anxiety kicked in around the same time as the Antiques Roadshow.

There are three options available to those who find themselves in the same situation as my unhappy commuters:

  1. Change what you can change; we often have more influence than we realise. If work is a pain in the nethers, get a transfer to a more interesting role. Apply for a secondment, talk to your boss about ways in which you could enhance your experience. Improve your relationships with colleagues, take a course, and learn something new.
  2. Get your head down; if you can’t change your environment, colleagues or boss and you can’t change your job your options become more limited. Having a conversation with an objective person outside the organisation and family can open your mind to many other ways of living and working.
  3. Get your coat; there will be times when your work environment is so dreadful, your boss really is a monster and brain cells are diminishing by the second. Now it’s time to wake up and walk.

Leaving a job can be a difficult decision, it can also be a hugely liberating experience. Easier to find a new job when in role, but never ever damage your health both physical and psychological for the sake of the wrong job.

Having a conversation with an objective person outside the organisation and family can open your mind to many other ways of living and working.

There’s a huge difference between the occasional bad day and constant unhappiness. If your experience is the latter it’s time to consider the words of Confucius:

  "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life"

Ask yourself: 

  • What is the passion in your life?
  • What would you pay to do it?
  • How would you fill your days if you were a multi-millionaire? 

The answers to these three questions will give you a good indication of what your true calling is. Then consider: 

  • Does anybody get paid doing this?
  • How could you get paid doing this?
  • What is stopping you?

It’s scary doing something new, sometimes you have to shut your eyes and jump. 

Don’t waste another day, take back control of your destiny and get a life!

This article first appeared in HR Magazine


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