Have you reached a point in your life when you just need a refreshing career change? You’ve done all that you can at your current place of employment and the only way to continue to move up is to move on. Tons of people are in your shoes everyday yearning to find that next ideal dream job.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Not by a long shot. The market these days is incredibly saturated and the competition remains fierce. If you are actively looking for a new job, that alone is a job in and of itself and you never know how long it might take.
So how do you find that balance between continuing to stay content at your current job while looking for a new one? There is no simple answer for this but here are some tips to keep yourself afloat at your current job when you’ve mentally checked out.
1) Learn to co-exist with difficult co-workers
This can be hard – especially if you’re workplace has a toxic undertone filled with bullies and manipulators, but if there is any chance at getting through your day in peace, then you’ve got to find a way to make it work.
Case in point: A friend of mine recently had an experience at his workplace which really speaks to the power of communication in order to make change happen.
He is in the middle of looking for a new opportunity after having been at the same company for over 10 years. Unfortunately, during pretty much that entire time, he has had a very toxic relationship with his manager. They have constantly butt heads and just never quite got along. In last little while it has only gotten worse due to the rash of turnover at his company.
My friend had made the decision to move on some time ago, but because he is looking to make a significant career change, his search has proven to be a lot harder and slower. At the same time, he was finding it increasingly difficult to stay happy and motivated each day he came into his current workplace because of how unhealthy the environment had become. His boss’ paranoia in the wake of the recent turnover, was becoming more evident and was reflected in his excessive micro-management. He couldn’t even request a couple of vacation days off without being looked at with suspicion.
The sleepless nights, the feeling of dread at the thought of facing his boss, and overall added stress became too much to bear. So one day he told himself that this needed to change: He was tired of feeling miserable and defeated all the time. Whether he was looking for a new job or not, he deserved to be happy coming into work each day.
He finally scheduled a 1:1 meeting with his boss and had a very candid discussion about all of his concerns. He basically told his boss in the most professional way, to lay off of him and allow him to just do his job instead of constantly breathing down his back.
His boss was surprisingly attentive and even apologetic for having made him feel the way he had. After all, in his boss’ defence, he is human too, and we all have a tendency to get too carried away in our roles, and sometimes the only way to realize our wrongdoings is to be told. Standing up to his boss in this regard was no easy task, but as he felt an immediate sense of relief come over him.
My friend felt truly empowered by opening up about his feelings. No longer was he in an inferior position. By standing up for himself – he levelled the playing field and since that day, his relations with his manager have improved enough that he feels much more at peace when he comes into work each day. And now that the tension has been broken, if he finds that things are getting sour with his boss again, he now has the confidence of calling him out right away instead of allowing his frustrations to build up again.
Now keep in mind: his desire to look for a better job has not changed; as mentioned, he wants to change career paths entirely, but at least now he is able to satisfactorily perform in his current role while quietly pursuing his own goals. Everyone essentially has to play that game when they know they’ve got to move on, and no one, not a paranoid boss, or office bully, or anyone for that matter, has the right to get in the way of us pursuing our own dreams. So let this story be a reminder that speaking up is key to making any positive change happen.
2) Keep your attitude in check
As much as you might be itching to get out, you’ve got to remember that you do have a job at the moment so you owe it to your employer (and to yourself) to perform your responsibilities as required. You don’t want to be spoken to about your attitude and how it might be negatively impacting your performance. Also, you probably want to leave on your own terms and as amicably as possible. So be careful with how you come across to your work peers. Try not to make it so obvious that you’re unhappy or dissatisfied. This can somewhat relate to my first point. If something or someone is contributing to your negative attitude, then address it. If it makes sense, consider involving yourself in the planning of fun team events to keep your own spirits up. Just make the most of your current situation and be grateful that you have a job at all. If you have a few trusted colleagues, then perhaps talk to them about your true feelings – it could help you stay positive knowing that you’ve got that additional support to lean on.
3) Keep your job search private
This one might seem obvious, but you would be surprised at how lax some people can get when they are one foot out the door. Never let your discretion down when you are on the hunt for a new opportunity. While it might be tempting to check Indeed or Eluta while sitting at your desk on your lunch break, it will be even more awkward trying to explain yourself if your manager inadvertently sees incriminating browser windows open because you left your computer unattended. Additionally, try not to print off copies of your resume at work – it will be quite hard to worm your way out of that one if your boss gets to the communal printer before you!
So these are just three key things to remember when you are on the cusp of a career change. When the day comes to eventually submit your resignation to your current employer, you will have done so with dignity and without burning any bridges, and you’ll be able to move onto the next phase in your career on a high note.
The image in this post can be found here.