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Valentine’s Day Career Advice: 3 Steps to Find Your Career Soul Mate

Written by on 13 Feb 2018

“Hey Tracy...”
“Ya, what’s up?”
“We need to talk.”

Gulp.

Even a girl knows that statement is bad news.

“Sure, ok. [Awkward long pause]. What’s up?”
“I just don’t think this is working.”

Body heating up. Mind racing. Heart thumping. Voice… non-existent.

“…”
“Did you hear me?”
“Uh… ya. Ummm… I don’t understand. What’s going on? I thought everything was fine. I thought things were getting better.”

Ok … so the voice works again. Maybe too much.

“I hate to say this because you’re so great, but it’s just not a good fit. I know you’ve been trying to make it work and make the best of everything, but I just don’ think this is working out. And it’s not just your fault, you know? I share some of the blame.:”
“Uh… uh… I just… I… I don’t know… I… um… what… I didn’t see this coming.”
“I know, but deep down, didn’t you have a feeling something wasn’t right? Didn’t you feel like things should be better?”
“Well, I mean… if I’m being honest, things weren’t perfect, but nothing’s perfect. It hasn’t even been that long. I don’t understand. Is there anything I can do to make this work?”
“No, I’m sorry. There is not. It’s just not going to work...”

Now, I have a quick question for you.

What just happened here?

If I were you, I’d be thinking this was a breakup conversation. A rather polite and peaceful one, but a breakup nonetheless. However, if you’re thinking that this was a conversation I was having with a man I was dating, you would be wrong.

This was a conversation I was having with my boss.

The more career advice I give, the more I realize that type of advice sounds eerily similar to something you would tell to a person seeking dating advice.

Don’t settle.
Don’t let fear keep you from taking chances.
If you commit, go all in.
Be open and honest.
Communication is everything.
You’re too good for them.
Just be yourself.

It’s kind of funny when you think about it. Good jobs are a lot like good relationships. They make you better. They bring out the best in you. They make you feel engaged and alive. They highlight your natural gifts and talents.

*Important side not/public service announcement: If you’ve never felt like this, keep reading and watch this week’s video.

But here’s the scary part. Bad jobs are 100% akin to bad relationships. Lack of communication. A general sense of uneasiness. Tiptoeing around issues. Hiding behind walls (hopefully not literal ones). Not feeling like you’re good enough. Wondering if you’ll ever find something better… worrying that you won’t.

I’ll never forget that day or that conversation I was having with my boss.

We need to talk.

I knew what it was the second he pulled me in the room. I knew something was seriously wrong, but I never once imagined I was being let go. I never once thought that would happen to me. I mean, seriously. Massive perfectionist. Constant overachiever. Never got a B until college. Thought WAY too highly of myself. I’d been on Wall Street and traveled the world and this company should be lucky to have me…

This isn’t working out.

Gulp.

And you know what, for the first time in my life I had to face that it was completely my fault.

Sure, they can take some of the blame. I mean, why on earth would you hire someone with an outgoing personality and zero patience to sit behind a computer screen or 8 hours a day to edit document drafts and deal with client problems? Seriously, why? That’s an accident waiting to happen.

But here’s the real truth of the matter—it was just as much my responsibility to say “no” to that job as it was their responsibility not to hire me.

I knew, from the first day that I considered this role, that it wasn’t right for me. In addition to the sinking feeling I got in my stomach when I thought about, none of the dots lined up. There was no direct engagement with other human beings besides phone calls. There was no direct interaction with my coworkers besides Zoom meetings. There were only 3 other people in the office that seated a maximum of 6. And to top it off, I wasn’t even passionate about the subject matter, aka, our products.

I screwed up because I knew all of these things about myself and about the job, but I didn’t do anything about it. I took that job out of fear and the “desire for security” only to be left in the most insecure place I’ve ever been in my life—fired.

And you know what? It was all my fault.

This Valentine’s Day, I want to challenge you. If you don’t like your job ask yourself this question:

How much of this is my fault?

So much of our lives are in our control, but we choose to blame others to make ourselves feel better. If it’s my job’s fault or my boss’s fault or the situation’s fault, then I don’t have to do anything to change it. It’s not my responsibility. It takes the weight off my shoulders and puts it somewhere else, which makes it easier to explain away.

But I promise you this—if you wait long enough, that mindset is going to come back around and bite you when you're not paying attention. Just like when a person in a relationship can tell you’re apathetic at best, an employer can spot a disengaged employee a mile away. You think you’re blending in with the crowd, but you stand out like a sore thumb.

If there’s any doubt in your mind about your current job and whether you’re in the right place, please watch this week’s video. There are 3 very simple and concrete steps you can take to make sure that this career dumping never happens to you. I know, because I’ve lived it. And now, I want to share it with you.


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