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How to Handle Career Struggles that are holding you Back?

 

 

Bad Career Story
Struggling in your Career?

We often make up excuses to stay in jobs that make us unhappy, but regardless of what we tell ourselves, all of these stories boil down to FEAR. We want to debunk some of the myths we tell ourselves around staying in a bad job.

Do you feel stuck in a job you don’t like? We often make up excuses to stay in jobs that make us unhappy.

Leaving the security of a job, especially during tough economic times, is a frightening thought – but so is continuing to work in a place that leaves you unfulfilled and unsatisfied.

I want to debunk some of the myths we tell ourselves around staying in a bad job.

Myth: Things are tough, so I can’t make a career change right now.

Truth: Sometimes negative events can be a catalyst for positive change.

Whether you are experiencing tough times on a personal or global level, it can be difficult to think of adding a career change on top of those stresses. Sometimes however, tough times can reveal a new purpose or meaningful opportunity.

There are countless stories of people who have turned tragedy into something meaningful. It can be done. You just have to let yourself be open to the idea of change.

Right now we are all experiencing one of the most challenging periods in history. We have seen a downturn in the economy due to COVID-19. While it is true that fewer companies are hiring and there is more competition, the roles are still out there. There are companies that are innovating to adapt to the changing world. There are also companies who have seen an increase in demand during this time.

The key is making yourself stand out by highlighting your passions and skills. It may not be a quick or easy change, but don’t let fear be the thing that stops you from finding something better.

Myth: I’m just lucky to have a job.

Truth: It is possible to be grateful for a job, but still not love it.

As we see unemployment rise and more companies go through layoffs, it is normal to feel gratitude for what we do have. It is also a good thing. There are proven benefits to expressing gratitude and it is something that should be part of your daily routine.

But it is also okay to be grateful for what you have while admitting you long for something better. Accepting what is because you know it could be worse is twisting gratitude into an excuse to hold yourself back. Allow yourself to strive for more. Do you know what you want? Do you have a dream job?

Myth: I can’t afford to leave my job right now.

Truth: You don’t have to leave your job (yet) to start the career transformation process.

Make dreams come true
Make dreams come true

How to Handle Common Career Struggles

A career can be a source of great joy and great pain. If you relate more to the latter, chances are you have experienced one of these common career struggles. Fortunately, you do not have to continue suffering.

Do not settle in your career! If you are not happy, it is time for a career transition!

Here are some  solutions to some of the obstacles most frequently faced by professionals.

Problem: You hate your job and/or chosen career path.

Solution: If you know you are not happy and have yet to take steps to remedy it, you typically fall into one of two scenarios:

  1. ‍You are fearful of making a change. There are many stories we tell ourselves that can cause us to stifle our own success. “I’m not good enough.” “What if I fail?” “What if I make a change and it’s worse?” It is critical to recognize what story you are telling yourself so that you can start to isolate those thoughts and address them. Bringing your fears to the forefront of your consciousness is the first step in being able to overcome them. Once you recognize and acknowledge the fears, applying some simple but effective tools can render them powerless in holding you back.
  2. You do not know what will make you happy. You have recognized you are not happy, but you do not know what will bring you joy. This can be especially difficult when you have spent your entire career in one field. It is time to do some discovery work. Finding your purpose is a key place to start. Once you know your purpose, make a list of your strengths and passions. If you start to see some similarities between the lists, follow that path.

Problem: You are struggling to get to the next level in your career.

Solution: It is time to expand your network. You have got the experience and you need to highlight that to the right people – whether it is a decision maker or someone who can make a referral. They can be at your current company or at a potential new employer. Connecting with the right people can make all the difference. Expanding your network does not mean you have to attend in-person networking events, especially in the age of social distancing. There are great digital tools, such as LinkedIn and Shapr, that allow you to build relationships with other professionals. Find an authentic way to connect with others that is enjoyable to you.

Problem: You are not standing out to potential employers.

Solution: Most recruiters and hiring managers see hundreds of resumes for a single position. That number increases the more desirable the role and company are. Standing out is difficult, but possible. We recommend that every job seeker approach their career as if they were an entrepreneur building a company. Your career is your business. You must determine your product (your skillset), your unique selling proposition (your strengths and passions) and your target market (the companies YOU want to work for). Once you have defined your professional brand, you need to ensure that it is reflected everywhere – your resume, your cover letter, your online presence, and especially how you show up for interviews.

Now it is time to market yourself. You have to do more than just submit your resume to job posts and boards. Connect with the right people and make sure you are visible. Focus on your strengths and passions, especially if you do not have the requested experience.

If you need help defining and marketing your personal brand, we can help. Chat with one of our coaches here

It is time to transition in your career.

Career transitioning does not happen overnight. It is a process that takes time and commitment.

Deciding you want to find something better does not mean you have to quit your job tomorrow. It simply means you are ready to start the process of identifying what kind of career will bring you joy, and what kinds of companies will value who you are. THEN taking the steps to find them and go after them.

What can I do to find a career I love?

Ideal Careers offers several courses, for wherever you are in the process. If you are looking for total Career Transformation OR looking to Transition Into another Career, we offer programs, as well as coaching, to get you started. If you are already in process or looking to ease into career transitioning, we offer a single-modules that focuses on a particular area of making a career change. Book a chat with one of our advisors Its FREE. 

Do not let fear hold you back from finding happiness and fulfilment in your career!

Your career plays a major role in your life. Settling and being complacent in this area can leave you feeling unfulfilled. Find the right solution for you at Ideal Careers.co.za

job search

5 important ways to get through job loss quickly

job search
Job search

I have Coached Over 200 Career Transitions — Here is A Routine That Helps People Bounce Back Faster

Losing your job takes a serious toll on your confidence and stirs up all kinds of unpleasant emotions.

Realistically though, it is likely that we’re going to face some kind of job loss or significant job change at one point or another in our careers.  Sometimes this change reaches far beyond the scope of our individual control and comes as a surprise to us. The best we can do is be prepared to manage this adversity and take some time to focus on ourselves. I’ve worked through over 200 career transitions over the years – including a couple of my own (most have been my clients’).  Self-care is critical to successfully getting through this time.  Here are five ways I practiced self-care after I was laid off — and I think you should try this routine, too

  1. I paused.

Losing your job can often be a big shock to your system.  Sometimes we know our organization is going through significant changes, but sometimes the change comes as a complete surprise.  Whatever the case, when the change impacts you personally, it can really hurt and take a toll on your confidence.

Depending on who we are and how we react to things, we might become emotional as we react to the news. The best advice I can give here is to take a breath.  If your employer is presenting you with a severance package, make sure you DO NOT sign anything in the heat of the moment. Take some time to  review the severance package offer after you get over the initial shock factor that will inevitably happen.

Reach out to a friend or colleague that you trust and get their input. Lean on your support system and let your feelings out in this safe environment. You don’t want to be embarrassed by emotional, irrational behavior in front of your former employer. Save the insanity for close family and friends (lucky them).

For me, the pause was critical because getting laid off was a very emotional experience. Taking time to breathe allowed me to have a rational and professional discussion with my employer about severance.

 

  1. I resolved the outstanding issues with my employer, A.S.A.P.

After the ‘pause’, it might still take you a few days to get your emotions back in check. Once you can get through thinking and discussing your new situation  without bursting into tears or fuming in anger, set your sites on closing the loop on outstanding items with your employer.

 

For your own mental health, you’ve got to get the details resolved as quickly as possible. Having the details of a severance looming over you for days, weeks or months is simply exhausting. You owe it to yourself to get closure so you can move on.

In most cases, your employer should appreciate that this is an emotional situation and provide an appropriate deadline (a week or so) for you to get back to them on their offer of severance. If they don’t give you some time to get your act together, count your blessings that you no longer work for them.

So, you have done your due diligence in terms of reviewing the details and terms of the severance offer, now you need to respond to them. I always suggest having this conversation via email so everything is documented. Avoid the phone if you can it can muddy the waters. You also don’t know what might set off potential emotional outbursts. Make sure you get all of the details from your employer such as how and when the severance will be paid, what happens to your benefits, what happens to any sort of other company programs and any additional amounts owing. Get all the information that you can to minimize any need for follow up contact. You likely won’t want to talk to them again.

 

  1. I didn’t try to find out why I was laid off.

I have heard people say time and time again that they need to understand why they have lost their job in order to move on. They want to know what they have done wrong, or how the employer decided that they should be the employee to exit.

The fact is, a lot of time, the reason that an employer provides a severance package for you is so that they don’t have to share this information with you. Quite frankly, it might even be none of your business, and part of some broader organizational plan.

For me, adopting an ‘I don’t need to know’ attitude was the key to self-care when I was laid off.  What value is there in knowing the organization’s point of view, anyways?  Would it really change the current situation? Probably not. If anything it would only serve to inflate your anger and frustration levels. So take time to  make peace with the reality that you are out the door and see it as an opportunity rather than a set back.

 

  1. I got into a routine.

I allowed myself some time to mourn the loss of my job. This is an important step many people seem to forget to do or chose not to do. Loosing a job is much like loosing a loved and the  lose needs to be mourned. For me, this was the end of the longest-term relationship I had ever had. Grieving was important, but I set myself a deadline to be sad. I cried and moped, but only for a week. At the end of the week, I started into a routine.

It was summer and I wanted to take advantage of the time away from work and focus on the positives of being away from work. I got up every single morning and planned an outing with my little guy. Every day we were up and dressed. You’d be surprised how therapeutic getting up and going outside can be.

Getting into a new routine is critical to your career transition success. Part of establishing this routine was knowing what I would say when people asked ‘How’s work?’ I actually practiced my response so I could answer confidently without stumbling or feeling insecure.

 

  1. I set an unemployment deadline.

While I only allowed myself a week to be sad about losing my job we all know the grieving process has no hard and fast deadline. The reality is that, sometimes, we have to work through the emotions of things , and that can take a while.  While I wasn’t sitting at home and moping, I was still going through all the feelings of job loss.  I wanted some time and space between that job and my next one.  Since I was laid off in the summer, I set myself a deadline of autumn (fall) to get on a structured job hunt. Setting parameters and clear goals for myself were really key parts of my self-care and managing my overall mental health.

Job loss is hard. Period. There is no magic formula to work through the grieving process and there are no standard timelines. When it comes to self-care and job loss, you’ve got to take a moment to reflect what will work for you.  Focus on those things that give you comfort, structure and a sense of purpose. It’s inside those things that you will find a transition process that is uniquely yours. On the other side of that transition is your future career success.

promotion problems

5 Unexpected ways promotions make your life harder

promotion problemspromotion at work often brings status, power, and hopefully, a raise. However there are often unanticipated downsides to promotions, which we are seldom aware of until we are in the new position.

 

Here are 5 things that I did not expect to come with a job promotion.

We often think that a promotion will bring more money, success, and status, but there are drawbacks to almost every promotion.

Longer hours are pretty much inevitable. Issues that used to be someone else’s problem are now yours. Managing people can be tough.

I once received a promotion where I’d manage a new department at a small company. The change brought lots of interesting challenges and boosted my self-esteem, but there were some very hard moments, too.

 

Here are five ways that getting promoted made my life more difficult:

 

  1. I had to go to bat for myself

Before my promotion, I had a great manager. He protected me from the loose cannons in management, tooted my horn to the senior and executive management, supported me in my work, gave me opportunities, and generally had my back.

Now, he is my peer, and we could commiserate about the difficulty of being managers in the company, but he could no longer shield me. It was now up to me to stand up to the big shots and fight for my department.

 

  1. I was working more overtime

I was already working long hours with no overtime pay before I was promoted. Now the expectations for overtime seemed par for the course. When there was a problem, my weekend was blown and I was never off the clock. I needed to be there for the customer, at any time of the day, night, or weekend.

 

  1. I didn’t get to make my own decisions

I was now charged with managing people however I still did not get to decide exactly how my department was run. My decisions were sometimes overruled by upper management, and the fallout from those decisions ended up being my problem to sort  out.

When I anticipated problems and wanted to do things a different way, these were often management decision were often micromanaged, and I was still required to enforce upper management’s ideas and decision  while keeping “my” employees under control and performing well. This conflict can make middle-management positions stressful and exhausting.

 

  1. Co-workers undermined me

When I was promoted to middle management, some of my peers criticized me and got obstructive of projects. When trusted colleagues whisper in the bosses ear about you, it can be hard to get that negative impression out of the boss’s head. Suddenly, I needed to fight for my reputation.

 

  1. No one trained me for my new role

Some companies provide training to help workers transition into a new role, but many companies usually don’t. I didn’t always feel competent enough to manage things, never having managed a department before.

I had many good leadership qualities — creativity, passion, and honesty — that helped me “fake it,” but I didn’t really know what I was doing half the time in terms of organizing and managing. Some training or more support to negotiate new responsibilities would have certainly been hugely beneficial both to me and t the organisation.

Sometimes, a new job just doesn’t fit right, but you don’t always get to try on the new role before you take it. I was awesome at the job I had before the promotion, but I’d say I was mediocre at being a manager.

So consider the new position very carefully — if it doesn’t look like it will fit, consider passing up that promotion and waiting until the right position comes along. You may just be happier where you are!

10 Easy Tips To Make A Promotion Smooth Sailing-Guaranteed

Just Promoted

There are many professionals out there who stay in their jobs (even if they don’t like them) just because they are afraid to start a new role with a new employer.

It is understandable that applying for and accepting a new role [which may also be in a new organisation] can be overwhelming. Adapting to a new position, developing new relationships, and assimilating into a new culture can is a big ask. While each professional, position, and organization is unique, there are behaviours that can support you making the transition into your new role a smooth process:

 

  • Acclimate to the organization’s corporate culture: 

    The most important thing you can do during your first week, month, and even quarter is to assimilate into the culture and environment of the organization. Accomplish this by observing the behaviours and communication patterns of those around you.

  • Stay positive: 

    Show excitement for your new role and you will exude confidence. Your positivity and enthusiasm will make a great impression and may even bring a new energy to the organization.

  • Listen and learn:

     Show your willingness to learn about the company beyond your job and responsibilities. Become as knowledgeable as possible about the new organization and /or new role. Keep an open  mind to suggestions from colleagues who have been with the organization for a number of years. These people can provide invaluable insight and knowledge. By combining that understanding with your skills and experiences, can add significant value to a new employer. Lastly, I suggest they keep an open door policy. It is  one of the best management styles there is.

  • Remember that you are new: It’s critical to understand why you were hired and the skills that made you attractive. Keep in mind that while you may have the capabilities and talent to perform admirably, it’s best to wait until you thoroughly understand the company’s procedures and operations before bringing up new and improved ways of doing things. On another note, although it’s great to volunteer for extra responsibilities, in most organizations, it’s best to stick to your job description during your first few months. You want to make sure not to step on anyone’s toes. However, if you are asked to do something outside of your realm of responsibilities, take it as an opportunity to show that you are a team player and happily perform the task.

  • Be open to constructive criticism: 

    Again, remember that you are new so accept the fact that the potential for you to make mistakes in the beginning months will be  quite high. Use them as opportunities to learn and to do better the next time. Be open to constructive criticism and you will do well and you will be able to improve. You also want others to feel comfortable in expressing their thoughts.

  • Build relationships: Connecting with your new team is imperative. Even if you don’t have an outgoing personality, do your best to get to know your colleagues, join them during lunches and team outings, and if you’re in an office, keep your door open.
  • Seek out a mentor: 

    The best way to familiarize yourself with a new role, company, and its culture is to develop a relationship with a professional who can be your mentor.

  • Create goals:

    Make sure there is clarity about your 3 and 6 month expectations and deliverables. While these were probably discussed during the interview process, confirm them during your first week on the job. In addition, develop your own goals for achieving success early on and fitting in with the company and your team. Make sure your objectives are appropriate and, if necessary, cover them with your direct report before spending time on them.

  • Keep your private life just that – private: While you will eventually make friends within your new company or your new role, it’s best to keep your personal life and opinions private until you get to know others better. Over sharing is a thing.

  • Jump-start the on-boarding process yourself:

    The on-boarding process can be a laborious task so ease into it by contacting your future employer prior to your first day to get any paperwork that could be completed in advance. Additionally, ask for any work or information that you can review or meetings that you can attend while finishing out your notice period with your previous employer. This can help ensure that you hit the ground running with your new employer. It also makes your transition into the company early on that much easier.

 

These recommendations are a great start for making your transition into a new role or   organization a smooth one. If however you are a senior executive, you could have more difficulty with career transitions. Senior executives who accept new offers are expected to go into an organization and start getting things done immediately, while at the same time, developing positive relationships with your team and colleagues. More on that later.

Do you have any other Tips for Making a Smooth Transition? Share them in the comments

Warning: 5 Unexpected Changes that come with a Promotion

 

Promotions come with several changes many employees don’t consider until they’re in their new role.

Every year when companies schedule their annual performance reviews, there are discussions about promotions. Promotions come with several changes many employees don’t consider until they’re in their new role. In my work with CEOs, one of the most common and disturbing trends in today’s workforce is the attitude of entitlement.

Employers and employees perpetuate an attitude of entitlement. Employers want to demonstrate their loyalty, and often one of the most common ways to do this is to promote an employee that has been with the company for a long time. While well-meaning, this often results in the activation of “The Peter Principle” in which companies promote employees to the highest levels of incompetence.

This ultimately leads to termination, and initiates a painfully slow unravelling of an employee’s confidence, engagement, and ability to perform.

Employees in turn perpetuate an attitude of entitlement, by getting themselves into a corner that has no escape, by telling themselves, “I deserve a promotion.” They allow their egos to drive their career advancement. They are often drawn to the idea of a higher-ranking title and a higher rung on the career ladder.

The Fallout of Unwarranted Promotions

Promotions come with significant changes that both employers and employees overlook until it’s too late, and staff have been moved around.

Two current clients are dealing with the fallout of promotions that should have never been granted and promises that should have never been made. We’re working diligently to:

  • minimize/contain further damage,
  • shift the culture from high entitlement/low accountability to low entitlement/high accountability, and
  • save a valuable, loyal, long-term employee with vital institutional knowledge from walking out the door.

Changes That Accompany Promotions

Promotions are not just about rewarding loyalty, and moving employees up a ladder. To set up everyone for success, employees must think about the following criteria prior to accepting a promotion position:

  • New job requirements

Do YOU (the employee) pass the “GWC Test?”

Do you Get it:  Do they truly understand their role, the culture, the processes and systems, the pace of the organization, and how all of these elements come together to form a well-oiled machine?

Do you Want it: Do they genuinely like their job? Do they believe in what they are doing? Are they excited about coming to work to see the progress that is occurring? Do they want to use their experience, talents, and ideas to further the organization?

Do you have the Capacity to do it? Capacity is a multi-pronged word. It applies to mental, physical, emotional, spiritual (in some cases), and intellectual capacity, as well as having the capacity of time to do a job well.

  • Integrating the demands of the new position into your personal life

    It’s likely that the new position will require additional travel either locally and or Internationally and very possibly longer hours. Employees must consider this carefully. They should also have these conversations with their “significant other” who may need to pick up the slack in their absence.

  • Giving up responsibilities you really enjoy

    Promotions often involve movement from a hands-on practitioner role to a management/supervisory role that takes employees out of the trenches where they are doing what they love. Leaving behind the work they love doing may sound glamorous initially however, not doing what you love doing permanently can be a source of significant stress and unhappiness.

  • Learning tasks and responsibilities you may not enjoy

    Conversely, you will likely have to become knowledgeable in areas you may not have naturally pursued. This is common when companies promote rock-star sales employees to a sales leadership position. They move from being in the field responsible for themselves, to being in a corner office responsible for others. Being a team leader may not have been something you would ordinarily have wanted to do however the promotion position requires that you manage a team. Now you have to learn how to do that.

  • Changing the dynamics of office friendships

    This is one of the most surprising and difficult challenges that accompany promotions.

    With any promotion comes a very real change in dynamics and relationships with colleagues. Where once you were able to sit and bemoan manager with your colleagues because you were one-of-team(us) and shared many of the same frustrations – that is now different. You are one of “them”. The guys you once believed didn’t “understand” or was “divorced from what was happening on the floor.” You may have developed good friendships along the way and now that you have moved up the ladder the line has to be drawn in the sand. As a member of the management team, you may well be privy to many sensitive and confidential conversations about your friends that you will not be able to share. Be sure you are  willing to establish the boundary and change the dynamics of your friendships? This is a question only the employee can answer for themselves.

Promoting Strategically and Effectively

Ambitious employees can do many things to set themselves up for successful promotions, including:

  • Leading or engaging in initiatives outside of their traditional roles
  • Being coach-able and open to feedback
  • Mentoring others
  • Delivering on what is expected of them and being known as someone reliable
  • Engaging in professional development and sharing this knowledge with others

Employers must think about career trajectories and organizational impact far in advance of  scheduled performance reviews. Consider why you are offering the promotion- Is it a loyalty decision? Is it a competency based decision – remember the higher up the ladder you go these less technical skill is needed and the more strategic skills ( e.g. soft skills- people skills, negotiation skills) are required.

Perhaps an employee is a good promotion candidate, but requires some coaching and training to step into the new role. This training is often not about how well the person can do the job – because lets face it; the reason the promotion discussion is even on the table is because the person has already proved their technical competence. So what else does the person need to be set up for success? These steps must be executed in advance of the promotion so that business proceeds with minimal disruption..

Unsuccessful promotions leave a trail of disappointment, broken trust, and failed executions. These can also be a costly exercise both financially and reputation-wise for the company.

When thoughtfully executed, however,  successful promotions yield tremendous benefits for everyone involved, empower the company to attract & retain great talent, and propel and promote continued growth.