Six Signs Your Job No Longer Deserves You

Leave job

 

 

People talk about being in a rut, but here’s what we forget: the rut is mental. It’s a belief. “Oh, it’s hard to get another job!” We talk ourselves out of making changes or even contemplating changes, because of our aversion to change.

Your job may have been amazing learning experience at one time, but does your job still deserve your talents now? A lot of people get stuck. They get into a situation that more or less works, that pays the bills and that doesn’t bring them any closer to their flame. What’s your flame? It’s your passion. It’s your reason for being alive.

Your job should do more than just keep you alive — don’t you agree? You only have so many years here on earth. Are you going to spend them accumulating things like wide-screen TVs and frequent flyer miles you’ll never use because you don’t have time for vacation?

Why not get a job that deserves you and that will reinforce you? Here are six signs your current job doesn’t deserve you anymore:

  • There’s no forward path. There’s no place to go from here. There’s no way to learn more, have more impact or use more of your talents. Scram!
  • There’s no one to learn from. No one around you looks like a mentor or coach. You’re the smartest person in the place. Get out of Dodge!
  • The people around you don’t want to hear your ideas. They like things just the way they are. So what, nothing works properly? They don’t care. Flee!
  • You don’t get to use your mind and your heart at work. You’re stuck in a little box. You’re a cog in someone else’s machine. Hit the bricks!
  • Your boss doesn’t get you and you don’t get him or her. It’s an energetic mismatch. You can’t grow as a person or a professional in your job. Move on!
  • You don’t enjoy your work or look forward to it on Monday morning (or any morning). That’s your body telling you “Run away!” – Forbes

Preparing for Your New Position – A Systematic Approach

new job

As a consultant and coach I am frequently asked for advice when changing jobs. This job change may  be a position change or promotion  within the same organization. Either  way, the same advice applies. I will  provide this in four separate blog  posts.

  1. A Systematic Approach
  2. Phase One: Pre-Start
  3. Phase Two: First Days On The Job
  4. Phase Three: Settling In and Taking Charge

You may not feel the need to use all four, or to complete every checklist suggested. Depending on your situation, some of the information will be more pertinent than other parts. You decide which sections you’ll want to spend more time with.

  1. A SYSTEMATIC APPROACH

Why Were You Selected For This Job?

Probably because the company likes your track record – both the kind of work you’ve been involved in and your accomplishments in that field. Probably because your new management senses that your personality and methods are compatible with theirs. And certainly because they can visualize you as part of the future growth and profitability of their organization.

How can you confirm their good judgment in selecting you, and use this opportunity as a quantum leap toward your career goals?

Probably by the professional manner in which you introduce yourself to the organization and take hold of your new responsibilities. Probably by the initial impressions you make with all the people you’ll be dealing with in you job. And certainly by your ability to get up to speed quickly and reach your maximum productivity in minimum time.

Right now you’re concerned with disengaging successfully from your current job. That’s a proper attitude, because you owe your organization (and yourself!) the courtesy of a professional closure. However, even at this early stage your emphasis begins to shift toward the new assignment, and toward your strategies for starting the next phase of your career.

What’s the best way to “hit the ground running” in your new job? It begins with your commitment to take an active role in developing a systematic approach to the transition process starting now instead of waiting until your reporting date. Without compromising the “closeout” requirements of your current job, you can begin to collect the information that will help you understand:

  •  Your new organization/division (how it operates; where it wants to go; how it intends to get there)
  • Your new job/position (what management expects of you)
  • The resources available to you (people, budgets, programs and operating freedoms you’ll need to get the job done

At this point you may know very little about the inner workings of the organization. You may have only a skeletal idea of your job requirements. You may have met very few of the people, except for your new boss and the Personnel manager who negotiated with you. Yet your mind is filled with questions:

  1. Who am I replacing, and how was he/she regarded by superiors, associates and subordinates?
  2. Why was the position vacant?
  3. Who else wanted my job, and how can I deal effectively with them in the coming months?
  4. What commitments were made to or by my predecessor that I should know about?
  5. Why was I selected?
  6. Upon arrival, what immediate responsibilities will I have to take on?
  7. If there is unfinished business with my old job, what arrangements would be acceptable to my new boss?
  8. How do things really get done?
  9. Do I have any allies or adversaries in my new job, and how are they identified?
  10. How and when will I be formally announced to the organization and its people?

The list could be much longer, and some of the questions may have been answered during the interview that preceded your selection. In any case, you need the answers to begin planning your systematic approach. As a starting point, make a list of question you have now about your new job. (Later as you begin to collect more specific information, you’ll be able to ask more pertinent questions, in much greater detail.)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS – Make a list all of the questions you’d like to be answered about your new job. Note the sources available to you at present for providing the answers.

Why have a Systematic Approach?

For many professionals the introduction to a new job is a haphazard affair. The good news is usually accompanied by smiles, handshakes, and vague statements about “getting together after you’re on board.”

Then follows a period of coordinating the relocation with in-house specialists….reading a few general pamphlets about the company and its products or services….and possibly some lonely moments of contemplating the nameless and shapeless challenges that lie ahead.

The first day on the new job is a kaleidoscope of administrative forms.. an absolutely un-rememberable volume of new faces and names….a quick tour of the immediate area…. and a few private minutes with the boss, whose impromptu remarks about projects and problems barely register.

Suddenly the new person is alone at a desk or behind an office door, checking the starter supply of pencils and wondering what comes next.

Answer? Simple. Next comes a honeymoon period – length unknown and indeterminable – after which the prevailing judgments will be rendered in either of two forms:

  • “Joe really has taken charge in record time! We’ve got a real winner there!”

-OR-

  •  “It’s a shame, but Joe still hasn’t grasped the situation yet. Guess we can’t always be right.”

But it doesn’t have to be that way for you. A few hours of up-front planning can arrange important subjects and issues in a logical priority and eliminate minor matters that tend to “fog” the entry process. The “people” skills you already possess can help you gain the cooperation of your boss and other sources of advance information. With a systematic approach to your upcoming transition you can:

  • obtain information needed to form preliminary conclusions about the organization, your new job responsibilities, and the people you’ll be dealing with;
  • provide a framework for your self and others to follow during your transition;
  • simplify your “first day” entry with your boss, subordinates and associates;
  • increase your managerial effectiveness during your first weeks and months on the job;
  • bring yourself up to speed as quickly as possible in terms of productivity and results.

A Matter of Timing

Your entry process begins while you’re still in your old job, and ends on the day you’re performing effectively in the new position. Let’s divide the total process  into three distinct phases as follows:

Pre-Start – A time for gathering information, researching the elements of you job (at least in general terms), getting familiar with some of the people involved, and coordinating your announcement and arrival.

 First Days on the job – A carefully structured format for meeting key people, introducing yourself to your staff, getting down to brass tacks with your boss, and becoming familiar with departmental tasks and responsibilities.

Settling In/Taking Charge – A newcomer’s game plan for managing the efforts of people, solving problems during the first several weeks on the job, and obtaining complete agreement and support from the boss.

Each phase is treated separately  and will follow in the next three blog posts, with a text that discusses the principal issues and work-sheets designed to help you plan your actions and priorities. To Be Continued….

Sharon Jenks, CEO/President -The Jenks Group, Inc.

 

 

 

Here’s Why Good Employees Quit

quit your job

Anne Fisher, contributor to CNNMoney wrote a great article, “To keep employees loyal, try asking what they want” wherein she references an interview of Aflac CEO Dan Amos quoted saying: “If you want to know what would keep someone from quitting, ask.” It sounds like common sense, but not many companies really do it”. I couldn’t agree more. Not only is it a good business decision to find out what it will take for your employees to remain loyal, it is essentially the most important factor in business sustainability.

Sure, there are many reasons why people quit, such as: employee mis-match, work/life balance, co-worker conflicts, relocation, family matters, lack of good communication, micro-managers, etc. I could go on and on but here are my top four reasons why good employees leave the workplace:

1. Poor reward system. It’s not always about having a big paycheck (although it doesn’t hurt either!). Rewarding an employee can be shown in many ways, such as corporate recognition both internally and externally (company website or press release), an additional paid mini-vacation, an opportunity to take the lead on a new project, a promotion, a donation in their name to a charity they support or the most popular form of reward, a bump in pay or an unexpected bonus. While these represent some of the ways an employer can reward workers, they don’t work without one key element; communication. What money represents to one employee may be of no concern to another. The key here is to find out what your employee’s value most and work from there.

2. Management. You know the saying: “People don’t leave companies, they leave their managers”. There is truth to this! Here’s my reasoning. When there is work to be done, its management’s duty to enforce, engage, and often times implement reward systems to keep employees satisfied and loyal. Sure, the supervisor, middle manager or team leader may implement recognition on a small scale for workers who have reached goals or helped the team in some way, but that doesn’t replace the recognition and reward employees need from upper management to stay committed.

Not everyone is skilled enough to manage processes or lead people. Just because someone is good at what they do does not mean they will be a great manager, and that’s perfectly OK! When people who are not fit to lead are put into positions of leadership it can create a catastrophic circumstance in the workplace leading to high turnover and low employee morale. So please, stop slapping “Manager” on every good worker’s name and put people in those positions only if they have the characteristics necessary to influence workers to execute the company vision and those willing to work together to get the job done.

3. Hiring/Promotions. When good workers see people who do not contribute as much as they do or they see schmoozers who do little but socialize a lot land positions they don’t deserve, it’s much like a slap in the face. Especially when those workers are busting their butts, not taking vacation, rallying the team and exceeding expectations the last thing they want to see is some Joe Schmo just waltz in and take a senior position, one they are clearly not qualified to do. You have to expect good employees will leave if you decide to hire your best friends’ cousin who has no idea what the heck they are doing, and then you have the audacity to put them in a leadership position over experienced workers. Come on! Hiring and promoting for favoritism is a major way to alienate good workers.

4. Too much work! The moment employers see employees who have good work ethic or are great in performing or rallying a team of people they begin to slap on more projects, more responsibility to those who they believe can handle it. And maybe good workers can handle more work but it becomes a problem when they begin to feel that they can’t escape from work because of the amount of responsibility and attention they receive from management. Being an excellent worker can be a blessing and a curse. It’s great for a boss to recognize employees are good, but the reward for that shouldn’t always be to pour on the workload. Since good employees tend to have a higher workload, it’s important to ensure they don’t feel overwhelmed causing them to burn out.

Ultimately the culture of an organization determines the scope of employee retention efforts which requires strategic decision making and planning. But to get good employees to stay, it’s simple; ask them what it will take. If you see someone doing great work, recognize it and reward it but don’t’ forget to find out how you can empower them to continuously deliver. –Mary V. Davids

*Photos courtesy of iStock

These 6 Things Will Make You Happier At Work

happy at work

Given how much time most of us spend at work, it’s worth doing whatever you can to make sure you’re as happy as possible there. The basics are probably obvious – find work you like, with co-workers you enjoy and a manager who does her job. But here are six less-obvious ways that you might not have thought of to increase your happiness at work.

1. Don’t let resentments simmer. Often people become resentful of expectations that they assume their colleagues or managers have of them, when in fact those expectations are all internal. For instance, you might be frustrated that your boss regularly emails you late in the evening, making you feel like you have to respond to work emails from home. But if you talked to her, you might learn that she doesn’t expect an immediate response at all – she just prefers to work when the office is quiet and empty.

If something is bothering you, don’t stew in silence – ask about it. Whatever the issue, it’s worth communicating and making sure that your assumptions are correct before letting yourself get bothered.

2. Don’t attribute to malice what might be a mistake. For instance, if your co-worker routinely ignores your emails, you might get angry at what seems like disregard or disrespect. But if you approach him from that stance, the conversation is likely to be adversarial. You’ll generally get better results if you approach him with the assumption that there’s been a mistake instead – maybe your emails are getting caught in his spam filter or there’s some other technological glitch. Even when people really are at fault, starting with the assumption that they’re not to blame will make most conversations go better.

3. Don’t fight other people’s battles. It can be tempting to get involved in other people’s grievances at work, but you can end up taking on the emotional burden of battles that aren’t yours. For instance, if Joe hates your manager and complains about her all the time, you might find over time that you’ve come to dislike her too – even though you got along with her perfectly well before. This can lead you to make bad decisions for yourself, like becoming unhappy with a job or manager you otherwise liked, or even leaving your job over it. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be sympathetic to co-workers’ troubles or that you shouldn’t speak up about serious workplace problems, but for routine complaints, keep in mind that you don’t know the full story and try to stay out of it.

4. Use your benefits. When you think about your benefits package, you probably think about health insurance and vacation time. However, many employers offer tons of other benefits as well – fitness memberships, employee assistance programs, credit unions and more. Lots of employees don’t even realize they have these benefits, let alone use them. But these are part of your compensation, and you should take advantage of them if they might make your life better.

5. Thank people. If someone made your life at work easier, connected you with a helpful contact, or simply has been a pleasant person to interact with, tell them! Openly appreciating your colleagues can strengthen your workplace relationships, improve the way people see you and make you genuinely more appreciative of where you work and the people you work with.

6. Know your bottom line. Yes, your job has frustrations. But before you get too focused on them, it’s helpful to get really clear in your own mind on what your bottom line is: what things matter most to you and what trade-offs you are and aren’t willing to make. For instance, maybe you hate your manager but love having a short commute. You’d rather keep that commute, even if it means your manager is part of the deal. Or maybe you’re willing to put up with a lower salary because you get to do work that fascinates you – or will tolerate less interesting work because you get paid generously. Getting really clear about what matters most to you will help keep you focused on what you care most about, and prevent you from getting sidetracked on things that don’t ultimately matter as much to you. – Alison Green