One of the most annoying questions that career coaches, including myself, often ask is: “What can you do to make your current job/ situation better?”
“Aagghh!” clients respond, “I want to get out of this place. Why put any energy into the thing that I’m already fed up with?”
There are two big reasons.
1) We are repelled by needy and desperate vibes, which is how you may come off if you really want to leave your current situation. Instead, when you’re good where you are you will naturally give off a calmer, cooler vibe, thereby becoming a more attractive candidate for a job.
2) There is one common factor at any job that you take. You. More specifically your attitude, thoughts, and behaviors. Any progress you make on improving your thoughts or daily habits moves with you and benefits you in your next job.
Here are three areas to look at to improve your current situation.
1) The Day To Day Itself
I recognize that there are many jobs where the expectations of superiors mean that there is not much wiggle room in terms of how you spend your days. However, it is worth a minute to stop and ask yourself a couple questions:
Is anyone in my organization doing work that I think I would enjoy? How could I move closer to those tasks?
Is there any project I could proactively undertake that both supports my employer and my own interests?
What is the most irritating part of my job? How could I handle it better?
If you are in between jobs consider:
Is there any freelance or volunteer work I could do that I would find engaging between full-time jobs?
What activities/ groups could I add to my day to support my well being?
2) Circumstances Outside of the Work Day
The big four components of well being outside of the workday are connection, sleep, exercise, and healthy eating. Spending some time focusing on and integrating healthy habits into your life will pay off both short term and long term. Where could you improve? Where could you add more fun into your life?
3) Your Thoughts During the Day
Watch out for thoughts like
“I’m never going to get out of this.” or
“I’ll never find a better job.”
They feel crappy, and in all likelihood they aren’t true. Telling a painful mental story about your situation adds another layer of ick to a circumstance that you already don’t like.
Remember instead that this is a temporary situation. Focus on the benefits of your life right now, like freedom, salary, or being in good health. Try quieting your mental chatter by looking at or listening to something beautiful or by doing a mini-meditation.
In this moment there are already so many gifts. Here’s a lovely resource for tuning into what is available in the present.
Louie Schwartzberg shows his slow motion nature photography. Ends with a monk sharing a meditation on gratitude as a back drop to the images.
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