With recession-watching currently front and center in the media (see U.S. News & World Report, MSN, even HousingWire, among others), you might also be wondering how long you can keep going. In fact, once Lauren asked her question, multiple attendees joined in with tales of barely hanging on and musings about whether they should stay or go. Helpful […]
With recession-watching currently front and center in the media (see U.S. News & World Report, MSN, even HousingWire, among others), you might also be wondering how long you can keep going. In fact, once Lauren asked her question, multiple attendees joined in with tales of barely hanging on and musings about whether they should stay or go. Helpful tips when you’re at a career crossroads is the subject of another recent post. However, that go/no go crossroads decision is a distraction from more immediate concerns. It’s one of four myths potentially keeping you stuck in an unhappy career:
Myth 1: I have to quit my job to improve my career
This was the conclusion Lauren and many of the other attendees immediately prematurely reached. It detoured the brainstorming from clarifying the exact problem (or problems) to a blanket solution –an unnecessarily disruptive one. Even if you decide to quit, there are other things you can do to improve your situation well before leaving your current job.
On the flip side of assuming you will soon quit is the equally dangerous myth that you should never quit. Markets change, companies change and your job changes, so nothing is guaranteed. Leaving your job is a real possibility (just don’t make it a foregone conclusion).
Maybe you’ve tried to negotiate a raise, promotion or other improvement and your manager has verbally agreed, but nothing tangible has occurred. You could continue to wait patiently but your trust may be misplaced. Even if your manager is not actively trying to deceive you, they may not have the authority to follow through on their promises. Instead, set a deadline for how long you’ll wait, and then step up your job search if the deadline passes. You don’t have to quit for the first new offer that comes along, but get started on Plan B as soon as your current employer is not meeting your needs.
Myth 3: Now isn’t a good time to find a new job
The job market is terrible, so it’s better to hang onto what you have. Obligations at home are keeping you too busy. You’re burned out and need to get to a better headspace before looking.
People get hired in down markets. You will always have obligations outside of work. Yes, tending to your emotional state and energy level is important, but do that as the first step of your career exploration. There is no perfect time to launch a job search, but now is the best time because it’s the only time. Taking action in the present is the one thing in your control. The future is just a promise – like the one your manager might have made about that raise!
Myth 4: I can’t afford to change careers
Changing industries or roles will require a pay cut. Starting over at another company will put you on a slower growth track. You may need new skills for your pivot, and school is expensive. The myth that doing something new automatically results in less pay is not unfounded. If you move from a high-paying industry (e.g., investment banking) to a lower-paying one (e.g., education) you may have to take a cut. If you change roles, you may have to start at a lower level. And yes, school is expensive.
However, one career changer from banking to education was able to get a higher base salary (banking compensation is mostly in bonus pay). While she no longer had the big year-end bonus, the continuity in her base salary meant that her day-to-day living was not impacted. Another career changer actually improved her all-in compensation moving from a lower-paying role and industry (newspaper reporting) to a better-paying one (corporate communications). Neither of these professionals needed additional courses or certifications to make the change, so there was no education cost. Do your own research about what your ideal career requires and what it pays before assuming that it’s out of reach.
In the meantime, write a love letter to your current job
Write down all the positive aspects of your job. Include vivid details, such as who specifically you enjoy working with and what specifically about them is so enjoyable. You don’t need to show it to anyone (and certainly don’t address it to your manager!).
This final tip is to redirect your focus from everything that isn’t working to all the things that are working. The positive feelings you foment will make you a more attractive job candidate. It will orient your focus to solutions over problems. You may decide your job is not so bad after all, or even if you still want to leave, you’ll be able to launch a happier, more productive job search.
Article written by: Orville Lynch, Jr.
Mr. Lynch, a member of the legendary two-time Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame Award winning Lynch Family.
Mr. Lynch is a nationally recognized urban media executive with over 20+ years of diversity recruitment and serial entrepreneur with numerous multi-million dollar exits.