I hope that you are extremely happy in the job you have; but statistically,
more than 80% of the people I talk with are somewhat or very unhappy
in their job, either with a part of it, or with everything about
it. At some point, you may find yourself seeking another position,
either because you were fired, terminated, laid off, or have chosen
to leave. Perhaps you are currently dissatisfied with your job
and are searching for a position that will be more satisfying.
If you are dissatisfied, take a long hard look at the reasons.
Examine whether the reasons are objectively valid. Discuss your
concerns and complaints with a few trusted people -- those with
whom you can discuss the situation confidentially. Have you tried
every possible way of solving the problem? Talking with others
gives us the perspective we need to see new possibilities. Be
cautious, though, that you are not perceived as a complainer.
Discuss ways to improve the situation; don't just whine about
it. It's easy to be displeased with some aspects of your job,
but until you've tried everything, keep trying to solve the problems.
The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence.
Unfortunately, this is because of the amount of bullshit there,
which makes everything look lush and healthy. Every job has its
good and bad sides. There is no ideal job.
Many people change companies and find the same problems they faced
at their previous job. Some people eventually realize that the
reason the problems are everywhere they go is because their problem
is on the inside.
If you have been at your job less than three years, take special
caution -- more than one short-term job on your resume will make
you look like a job-hopper. If you change jobs every two years
(a pattern seen much too often), a company interviewing you may
assume from your pattern that you will leave after two years.
It usually takes a company one year to train you fully, and another
year to make you a profitable contributor. It is only in the third
year that the company can make a profit on their investment in
you. Thus, two years at a job is not enough for a company to take
the risk of investing in you by hiring you. Companies want some
loyalty from their employees, even if the primary reason is the
We live in a fast-paced society, and people tend to change jobs
more often than they did ten or fifteen years ago. On the West
Coast, short job moves are called "painful learning experiences."
On the East Coast, they are termed "failures" and are
viewed more critically. My advice is to work through the tough
times, ride over the waves of change, and show your dedication
and stick-to-it-iveness. This quality shines brightly within a
company, especially one which is having problems. No one wants
to "go down with the ship," and if your company is really
sinking, loyalty would be unproductive. But every company has
up and down cycles. Don't "bail out" during the time
you're most needed - when things aren't going so well. This is
the time to dig in, make a contribution, and make others notice
you. A rising star in the company may take you with them when
they make their next move.
I have suggested in other articles that the way to get a better
job (inside or outside your current company) is to do good work
in the one you have: by achieving each task you take on, requesting
more responsibility, and building a track record of your success.
If you decide to stay with your current company, let go of any
feelings of dissatisfaction and concentrate all your energies
on performing with 100 percent effort.
Be sure to try these ten things before you search for another
Talk with a spouse, counselor, or friend outside the company
to get some perspective. Is it really so bad?
with your direct supervisor (if possible). Put it in positive
terms: "I'm committed to making the company better. This
is what I perceive to be the problem. What can we do about it?
confidentially to a co-worker or mentor. Is the problem really
outside you? Is it possible that you yourself are the source
of the conflict? Could you change yourself in some way that
would alter the problem or can you become the solution? If the
problem is with a manager, how many of your co-workers have
the same problem?
your concerns and complaints and your progress in discussing
them: when you met, with whom, what was discussed, what was
whether the problem is company-wide or just with your own department
or position. How have others successfully resolved similar problems?
you must go over your manager's head, go to his or her immediate
manager and explain that you attempted to get the problem solved
with your supervisor but were unable to do so, and why. The
best way is to request a meeting with both your supervisor and
his/her direct manager. Examine the politics of your company
carefully. Is this an acceptable move?
your options within the company very carefully. Can you wait
for a promotion? Transfer to a different office or division?
Can you take on the problem and solve it?
to see whether you are prepared to lose your job if the company
finds out you are looking at other opportunities, or if you
are perceived as being a negative influence or a complainer.
the option of "grin and bear it." This is the safest
route to take. It maintains the status quo, and gets nothing
changed, but it is secure. Every person has a comfort level
with change, ambiguity, and problems. Take your own temperature
- are you willing to step out and take a risk, or are you more
security conscious? If you choose to stay and accept the status
quo, really accept it, and don't become a complainer. Your attitude
is heard loudly in spite of what you are saying. Be a positive
a confidential and private meeting with a senior officer of
the company who has direct responsibility for a problem of that
nature. You may be seen as a courageous hero if you bring potential
solutions to the problem along with your valid complaint.
If you do decide to seek another position (or if the decision
is made for you), how do you go about it? Of course, the strategy
is different depending on who made the decision. If you have a
job, it is easier to find another one than when you're unemployed.
If you have given up or lost your job, you have more time to seek
employment, and it must be treated as your new full-time job.
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