Working is a part of life. But what should you do when you are working in a role or an organisation that isn’t good for you?
If your work is making you so unhappy it’s impacting your well-being and the well-being of those around you it’s usually time to consider ‘voting yourself off the island’. And by that I mean taking control and making the decision to go somewhere else or do something different.
Steve Jobs said:
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
At the same time, employment is critical for our self-esteem and the financial benefits it provides. Research shows the positive impacts from working, and the negative impacts of not. Having a job you love takes this to a whole new level.
There’s no doubt there are stages in your life where it can feel like a luxury to consider throwing in a job to go and do something you are passionate about. There’s the reality of paying the mortgage, school fees and bills. However, it’s not a luxury when you’re staying in a job that’s negatively impacting you and those around you.
There are always aspects of a role that can be boring or tedious and so I’m not saying you need to love your job every minute of every day. But when you are working in an environment that is eating away at you, impacting your behaviour, destroying your self-confidence or causing undue stress and angst, it’s time to go.
So, here are five warning signs to look out for:
1. Performance is dropping – The work environment no longer brings out the best in you. Your motivation is dropping and so you are doing only what you have to do. This ‘bare minimum’ approach is impacting your performance, the outcomes you deliver and ultimately your reputation. Damage to your reputation can have long-term consequences.
2. There’s a value’s disconnect – Your values and those of the organisation are out of alignment such that you feel like you have to change who you are when you are at work. This may show up as you not feeling comfortable to voice your opinion, or having to support ideas that go against what you believe in.
3. Cynic is your middle name – You are spending large parts of the day complaining about what’s happening at work. You don’t trust your work colleagues and you no longer offer ideas on how to improve things at work. You only complain about them.
4. Afflicted by burn out – You feel burnt out and the physical signs of stress are coming out in how you behave at home with your friends and family. You feel exhausted all the time and the thought of going to work makes you feel anxious or highly emotional.
5. You’ve stopped learning – To stay relevant in today’s world we all need to continue to grow and be challenged. If you’ve stopped learning at work and there is no more room to grow or expand your horizons it may be time to step outside.
Change happens. Make it work for you.
Michelle Gibbings is a change and leadership expert and founder of Change Meridian. Michelle works with global leaders and teams to help them accelerate progress. She is the Author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work’. For more information: www.michellegibbings.com or contact [email protected].