Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Look before you leap

Think: Will your career be better anywhere else?

People dislike their jobs for many reasons. At the top of the list is a bullying, inconsiderate boss who is lazy and irresponsible. Lousy pay, poor working conditions, office politics, boredom, lack of prospects, scary business standards, horrid workmates, second-rate products or services. The list is almost endless.

Before you settle on a few of these as your reasons for quitting, consider carefully:

• Will it be any better anywhere else? All the things I've listed above happen in most workplaces — but not in all. Like marriages: 10 per cent are brilliant, 10 per cent are rotten and about 80 per cent are, well, OK but not especially exciting.
• The devil I know is something I can probably handle; the one I don't may be impossible to deal with. How well do I handle the present devil?
• Moving house, changing partners or spouses, losing parents, waving goodbye to kids when they are grown up are all difficult episodes in life. Changing jobs is as difficult as any of them. Do I have the guts and energy to make a positive and forceful change?
• Prisoners being sent back into the world after serving their sentences often try to return to an institution, even to prison, because they miss the routine, the predictability, the security. If I move, I will feel some of this. Am I emotionally prepared for such an upheaval?
• All jobs have their boring aspects. Travel becomes a good deal less attractive if you have to fly 20 hours a week for 20 years, believe me. Am I just going through a boring patch in my job? Could I perhaps get out of my boredom if I set about making changes?

The medical profession says that a cure for many diseases depends on a positive attitude of mind. It is equally true for the disease of "job fatigue". You have built a bank of goodwill in your present outfit which you can't take that with you. To make such an important change requires you to be even more positive than when you started a relationship with someone else. And there's a difference — you don't fall in love with organisations.

No, I'm not trying to stop you from moving your job or changing your career. After all, helping people to achieve these things is what I do best. But I do want you to be clear before you set out on the thorny path that you really want to, that you really intend to, and that you are going to settle for nothing less than success.

Having warned you about making precipitate and ill-considered changes, let me tell you that of the more than 500 people I have put through the Career and Job Package, the vast majority started by underestimating their ability both to do more senior jobs and to get them. Sometimes this stems from a lack of ambition but mostly it stems from a lack of certainty about who they are. In other words, they are insecure. It's not a crime but it is debilitating. It accounts for a lot of people not achieving their full potential.

Pause for a moment. You have assessed yourself, your present position, your company. You have done a little homework on the competitors to your business. You have resolved the issue of whether or not to move. You have weighed your value. You know where you are starting from. You are ready to straighten out your career and get a better job.

John Bittleston is a business mentor and career coach. Your personality accounts for how you view the world to a significant extent. For a trial run at the PRELIMINARY PERSONALITY REVIEW, ask me at Bittleston@btinternet.com

6 Comments:

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