Stop the Job Suckage: Day Seven

* This ten-day series is designed to help you kickstart a new way of approaching your job or career. Over ten days, we’ll explore how to look objectively at the job/career situation you’re in, and clarify where to go next. For some, that might mean not leaving a job but drastically improving it in some meaningful way. For others, this series will provide some help with clarifying your next career move or pave the way to a transition. You’re strongly encouraged to complete all ten steps, in order, to see what answers you arrive at.

“I’m going along with all of this, but I still know that I don’t want to be in this line of work. Now what?”

First, let’s start with those of you who may not know what line of work you want to go into, and then we’ll get to those of you who know what you want to do and want to take the leap.

Please note that these are both super-involved topics, and I’m going to be aiming for brevity and directness.

If you’re not sure what other line of work you’d like to do–talk to your closest friends and ask them what line of work they would imagine you doing, knowing the kind of person that you are. I consider this far more effective than a college career counselor administering an aptitude test. I took those in college and none of them told me what feedback from my friends told me: that I wanted to call the shots, that I wanted to balance between working with people and flying solo, that I had an interest in problem-solving, that I wanted to incorporate creativity, that I get bored with repetitive tasks.

Who knew? Life coaching is a career where I get to “call the shots” by setting my own schedule and working for myself; I work with people one-on-one for their sessions but “fly solo” when I work by studying up on human relationships or working in my home office; it’s all about problem-solving (the kind that can actually be solved or reframed); I get to incorporate creativity all of the time through writing or website design or just having a schedule where I have time for that. And trust me, there is nothing boring or repetitive about it.

My friends never said “life coach” when I asked them what they saw me doing. They used the phrases above. Notice that no one suggested I go into sales.

What jobs are you drawn to? I didn’t know coaching existed as a career until I happened to read an email about it (passed along to me by a college career counselor). Everything in me said “YES!” when I read that description.

What careers have you heard of, where you thought, “THAT sounds so cool!”

I’ve worked with coaching clients before who described five seemingly unrelated creative things they wanted to do, and then followed that up with, “But there is no career that has all of that.”

Meanwhile, I was listening to that thinking, “Oh, she’s talking about becoming a Creative Director.”

The client thought the job didn’t exist. I knew such a position did exist.

And, as Yvonne Dutra-St.John of the Challenge Day organization is fond of saying when she describes how she ended up becoming a leader/co-founder/author: “The job for me didn’t exist yet. I created it.”

Those of you who are uncertain about your next move are in a great place. You get to experiment and try things out. You also get to choose whether you look at that as an unfair burden or as something exciting!

Now, for those of you who already know exactly what you want to do: How can you make that happen for you, part time? Etsy is everyone’s favorite for crafty selling.

Worried that you aren’t yet experienced enough to do what you want to do? Give it away for free. People tend to worry less about experience when it’s free. Worried you don’t have enough experience to work as a home organizational consultant in some capacity? Start consulting for free–organize your neighbor’s closet, note what you learn, and don’t charge a dime. Positive that you can’t book photoshoots because you didn’t go to school for photography? Do it for free.

Or if you know that it’s not possible to implement it part-time, how willing are you to start announcing to family, friends, loved ones that you intend to start __________ by [ this date ] ?

You have no idea what will come out of the woodwork. You might meet someone tomorrow who can hand you the opportunity to make the switch you want to make. That won’t happen if you keep quiet about it.

For every barrier that comes up, choose to take the approach that you will find the time, money, skills, or capability–the solution will present itself. Resistance will tell you that it’s got to be all or nothing, that you have to have it all figured out now (or five minutes ago). Resistance will tell you that if you can’t quit your job and do exactly what you want full time right now, it’s not worth it.

Okay, then–to what are you more committed? Resistance, or something bigger?

Stop the Job Suckage: Day Six

* This ten-day series is designed to help you kickstart a new way of approaching your job or career. Over ten days, we’ll explore how to look objectively at the job/career situation you’re in, and clarify where to go next. For some, that might mean not leaving a job but drastically improving it in some meaningful way. For others, this series will provide some help with clarifying your next career move or pave the way to a transition. You’re strongly encouraged to complete all ten steps, in order, to see what answers you arrive at.

Day Six–whew! 

You’ve looked at how to be in integrity (if you skipped the last post, it’s really important–pause, read, then come back here).

Now it’s time for action. Look at your list of possible solutions from days three and four.

Choose between 3-5 items (challenge yourself to go beyond that, even) and implement them.

Now.

Not tomorrow. Not next week.

Now.

It’s Wednesday. You can do this. You don’t have to do it perfectly. You don’t have to see the effects immediately. 

You don’t “have to” do anything–you GET to do this. Chances are good that if you are reading this, you are living in one of the lucky countries where changes such as, say, improving communication skills in the workplace or having a more balanced schedule are “luxury problems.” I don’t say that to guilt you; I say it to encourage you to take advantage of how fortunate you are. Use your power.

Get started.

Tomorrow we’ll address: “I’m going along with all of this, but I still don’t want to be in this line of work. Now what?”

Stop the Job Suckage: Day Five

* This ten-day series is designed to help you kickstart a new way of approaching your job or career. Over ten days, we’ll explore how to look objectively at the job/career situation you’re in, and clarify where to go next. For some, that might mean not leaving a job but drastically improving it in some meaningful way. For others, this series will provide some help with clarifying your next career move or pave the way to a transition. You’re strongly encouraged to complete all ten steps, in order, to see what answers you arrive at.

Whenever I used to go to my coach and complain about my previous job, he would ask me how I could effect some kind of change. I was a college teacher and, for instance, one thing I didn’t like was how I would cave in to students because I wanted them to like me. However, I didn’t like me when I used rigid, strict control to keep from being manipulated. I blamed the students a lot for why I didn’t like my job; I wanted to jump ship and quit.

My coach reminded me that I was in charge of whether I liked my job, and that liking myself/my job was tied closely to integrity, and that it’s not a good idea to leave any relationship (personal, friendship, or otherwise) without first “cleaning up your side” and getting fully in integrity.

So today, Day Five, we get into…INTEGRITY.

Integrity is: when your words and actions match, and they are in alignment with your values, beliefs, commitments and life vision.

I was not liking my job because I was out of integrity all over the place. I was complaining rather than doing (words and actions not matching; violation of my life vision–no one has a life vision that involves “complaining a lot”). I was setting up rules and breaking my own rules (more words and actions not matching, breaking commitments). When I was super-strict, I was enforcing rules in ways that were contrary to who I wanted to be in the classroom (contradiction of my values/beliefs). 

I could go on, but I think it’s obvious–I wanted to blame the students, talk about how awful they could be, blame their parents, blame society, blame budget cuts, blame violent neighborhoods, blame blame blame.

But really? I was in charge of bringing my best to the classroom, and it was really hard to do that when I was a.) out of integrity and b.) topping that with a whopping pile of blame to try and avoid owning my part in all of it.

So, it’s time for a tough question: Where in your current job/career are you out of integrity?

Looking at who/what you blame as the cause of unhappiness is an important place to start. There’s probably lots of juice there.

And, by the way–kudos to you for being willing to even consider looking at this, because it’s tough. Noticing where we’re out of integrity is really, really simple (as a step) yet really, really hard (to embrace).

Of all the steps I took, this was the most important. I knew that if I didn’t “clean up my side” and get into integrity before leaving that relationship, I’d just bring the same old patterns to my next job. I’d still abuse myself in the same ways, blame others in the same ways, and try not to own my own part.

A funny thing happened when I did get in integrity with myself around the guidelines I was setting up with students–when I clarified the message I wanted to send and then stuck to it, letting go of the worry that I wouldn’t be liked–students actually thanked me for being strict. They said things about how it kept them motivated. Even better? The occasional belligerent challenges I’d been subjected to when a student didn’t like it if I asked them to turn papers in on time disappeared–in fact, students said things to me when turning in something late, like, “Hey, I know I’m turning this in late, and I’m sorry about that…”

Once the students were no longer the source of blame, my Resistance/Ego/Inner Critic/Fearful Self shifted, and then spent some time blaming the administration, or society, or the curriculum. 

And one by one, looking at my part, getting into integrity with me, I slooowly dropped the resentment I had around my job. 

This didn’t mean that I chose to stay in that job (why, as some of you may have heard…I’m my own Boss Lady/CEO/CFO/VIP). I ultimately knew that teaching English was not quite the right line of work for me–and I discovered that when I even took the very powerful step of getting in integrity by totally creating a curriculum that I was excited about (rather than complain about the dull curriculum that I’d thought I was forced to work with) and then realized that at the end of it all, my heart was still called to something different.

Getting in integrity with your job–doing all that you can to bring the qualities you know you want in your life into your job, right here, right now, no waiting, no putting the onus on someone else to “fix it” or change it–this is BIG. It’s powerful. 

It’s not something you do because you want to stay in the same line of work–it’s something to undertake because it feels more powerful to live that way. It is THE thing that can shift any job, any relationship.

So–again with this question–what are you more committed to? Resistance, or stopping the Job Suckage, aka, getting into integrity, aka, getting fully into your life?

P.S. If you are still interested in signing up for The Courageous Year but you missed the January 1 deadline, I’m extending it to January 15th! If you are contemplating making big changes this year, this course will support you with that–with exercises, interviews, discussion forums, live conference calls, and who knows what more we’ll dream up? Sign up for the e-course today.