We all know that person in the office who perpetually complains about their job, the one who you try to avoid spending time with as 10 minutes listening to them and you find your own good mood starts to turn sour and what started out as a sunny day has turned grey. Inside you are screaming at them to stop moaning and do something about it, stop wasting time complaining and take action and despite your gentle hints a year later you are still having the same conversation with them. As I write this I can think of my own ‘Debbie Downers’ and when I would make a friendly suggestion to take control of their situation they would often say the timing wasn’t right and instead put up with those feelings of despair.
But is there ever a good time to change companies or move into a different career? Unfortunately, we can’t put other aspects of our life on hold and we can’t foresee what the future is going to bring. We can only act on what is happening right now and if your job is dragging you down, if it's making you feel miserable, it’s stifling you and impacting your personal life and your health, then the benefits you will reap from taking control of your career and making changes will infiltrate all the other areas of your life.
However, I do recognise that there are a few occasions when it may not be ideal timing and you may want to temporarily hit the pause button before resigning and moving to your new career. I am also not suggesting you resign with no plan or another opportunity lined up, but I do think there are steps you can take that will prepare you for when you can let the breaks off and go full throttle. You see with these scenarios there is still action, still reflective work, still discussions to be had (perhaps they may be very secret ones!) enabling you to explore what aspects of a job will work for you, will make you happy, will enable you to perform at your best. Taking action behind the scene will help you feel more positive about your situation and will enable you to see a brighter future.
Let’s take a look at some scenarios where hitting the pause button may make sense.
Bonus time. If your current job includes a quarterly or annual bonus, commission or incentive plan you may want to hold off giving your notice until after you have received payment. Details of any bonus or incentive plan should be available to recipient’s explaining how it works. Make sure you understand timelines around payment and have an idea of the amount you could be entitled to. If this is a meaningful amount it may be worth temporarily putting up with the status quo. However, one thing to consider is if a potential employer wants you to start before your payment date then they may be willing to include an equivalent payment as part of your contract negotiations.
Financial Strife. If you don’t have enough money in the bank to continue to pay the bills while you look for another job then you have a couple of options open to you. Firstly, get clear on the numbers, what exactly do you need to earn to take care of the bills, to be able to feed yourself and any dependents. Secondly, you need to consider are things so bad that your current job is impacting you in others parts of your life, is making you ill, the unhappiness is causing you problems with relationships and that things have got so bad that you can’t continue. If this is you, you may want to find something temporarily that gives you the ability to earn enough to cover your living costs but at the same time gives you the emotional freedom to explore what that next career needs to have to really make you thrive and enjoy work once more. However, if you feel that your current job is not that bad, then simply taking action exploring other options can help you feel back in control and that you do in fact have choices.
Impending Redundancy. The redundancy rumour mills are at it again, but until you have any formal communication they are just that. Even if you feel confident that announcements are around the corner there is no guarantee that it will be you walking away with a redundancy package. But do you know what that could be? Start by trying to find out. As a minimum, it will be what the government specifies as minimum statutory redundancy. If you are able to get an idea, ask yourself how long would you be willing to put up with the dissatisfaction you are feeling to receive that payment and circle this date in your calendar and start with the groundwork. If that date comes and there are still no redundancy announcements it maybe is time to get on with life and put those plans into action. And for those not willing to put up with the satisfaction then jump straight to the career planning part.
If you have been served notice of your job being made redundant you are entitled to time off for interviews. If you want to leave before your end date to start a new job your current employer can reduce or even not pay the payment so you want to ask these questions and have all the information available to you, before you give notice.
Recent arrival. Ok so maybe you have less than 12 months or even 6 months service at your current organisation, but you know it’s not for you, your heart just isn’t in it, and you just don’t fit in. Having been on the other end of the recruitment process, the fact that someone didn’t have the magic 1 year or 2 years’ service was not a problem if they were considered a good match. As long as you can explain why the position wasn’t a fit, what you learned from it and not be afraid to share this with potential employers enabling both parties to check history isn't repeating itself then lack of time at a company should not be an obstacle.
Pregnant. You are about to have your world changed, first time, third or fifth there is a new kid arriving on the block. The first thing to do is to understand how you felt about your job before you or your partner became pregnant, to clarify if the problem is temporary in nature or is growing. This is a very personal choice for some having a baby can give them the wakeup call they need to make changes in their lives but for others to change work at this time is too much. If you are the latter then I recommend you focus on identifying what parts of your job you enjoy and which are the parts that are driving you nuts. Understand if there is any scope for you to make changes and align the job to have more of what you like. If you are the one that’s pregnant it’s important to understand any implications to maternity payments if you don’t return. As baby arrives and life settles into a new routine start to notice how you feel about returning to the same job and if those feelings of despair and anxiety creep back in and it’s more than just nerves about returning. If the thought of being there in 12 months’ time makes you want to curl up into a ball and hide then you have your answer. It’s time to take action.
Pension. If you are near the age of drawing your work pension, it's important to understand how your pension fund will be impacted if you leave early. Once you are clear on the impact you can understand which pain is greater the pain of staying put or the pain of losing money. If you elect to stay put, your action is to see what you can change that’s within your control, what scope is there to get more involved in the parts of the job you like and relinquish aspects that drag you down? What would be the implications if you reduce your working time, for example, working 4 days instead of 5? How can you build excitement and focus on other parts of your life or plan for your retirement that will help you work through that remaining time?
So what can you do?
If you like the profession you are in but it’s a case of the people or company you work for then you need to get clear about what exactly is it you don’t like about the company and the people so you can look for the opposite in your next organisation.
If it’s a bigger change you are looking for, a shift in your career then there are lots of activities you can start to explore to help you figure out what the next career move could look like, what the skills are that you want to use, what industries interest you, what you want to get from the job. This free ebook will be a good start.
You’ve read this blog for a reason; something is resonating with you, so why not take the next step and book yourself a free call with me to find out how career coaching could help you escape. In this call, we can talk about your unique circumstance and what one thing you can start to do today to make your future look brighter.