Stop the Job Suckage: Day Four

* 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 Four: The “Can’ts.”

Perhaps you read yesterday’s post and decided that you “can’t” find any solutions to incorporating a particular quality into your current career/job.

Perhaps because there’s no time, no money, or because someone else won’t let you.

Yesterday I offered the example of bringing creativity into the workplace, and offered some example hypothetical solutions. One was to see if people from the office would be interested in getting together for a once a month art group.

Resistance–which is codename for that fear-based part of ourselves that doesn’t want to try anything new because it would be, ugh, hard–is going to say something about how that’s a lot of effort, and you don’t even like the people from work anyway, and no one else is creative, and they’re not creative the way you want them to be creative, and you don’t have a house where that could happen, and you’d feel stupid if you put it out there and no one responded, and…

Okay, cool. So Resistance has all of that come up. Now–what are you more committed to? Resistance, or stopping the Job Suckage?

If, right now, you’re more committed to Resistance, that’s okay. No need to cue the grand inquisitor. You’re not bad or wrong. You’re just at where you’re at.

If you read that and thought, “No, you don’t get it, I’m not committed to Resistance–I want to CHANGE,” then we circle right back to that list of brainstorming, and all of the myriad possible ways that life could get shaken up and look different because you were courageous enough to take a new step. 

Whatever Resistance comes up for you, accept it and then work through it. Beating down Resistance with happy affirmations does not work (you heard it here, first). Accepting that you have Resistance, that “Can’ts” come up, is part of the work. Courageously making a different choice is another part of the work.

What are you more committed to?

Maybe you’re overworked at your office and you want peace. Maybe you brainstormed solutions like, “Delegate work to someone else” because you were thinking of any possibility, but really, you can’t imagine that that will ever be a possibility–there are budget cuts, there is no one else who can take the work, etc.

Okay, fine–that might not ever happen. In what other ways can you bring peace to the workplace? Five minute meditation? Closing your eyes and breathing for thirty seconds?

Resistance is going to pop up and go–”But that’s not what I WANT, I want the kind of peace that comes from not having as much work; it won’t work for me to close my eyes and meditate, I NEED the solution to be that someone else takes this work off of my hands!”

Recognize that that is Resistance. Resistance is going to tell you that it’s all or nothing. Resistance is going to tell you that taking any step that is not THE SOLUTION is wrong.

So, to what are you more committed?

Review your list of brainstorming items. Put a star next to the ones that you most wish would happen. Put a checkmark next to the ones that you notice you are most Resistant to–the ones you believe are most impossible to have happen.

Challenge: start daydreaming about the changes you most wish would happen, working out possibilities like you’d move puzzle pieces around to see where things fit. Notice the Resistance that comes up.

Stop the Job Suckage: Day Three

* 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.

Badda-bing, Badda-boom! You have now…

1.) Written out your ideal day, from start to finish

2.) Identified the most important qualities of that ideal day.

(If you haven’t done these first two steps and want to see the previous days, click the “job suckage” category to the left of this entry)

Today, Day Three, it’s time to get pro-active.

Exercise: Brainstorm at least 3 different ways that each quality could some how be incorporated into your current job situation. Brainstorm solutions even if you think that they aren’t likely to happen (note: fire-bombing is not an option).

For instance, perhaps you work for a large corporate entity and you have identified that “creativity” is a quality to bring into your ideal day. Perhaps you are a receptionist, and the idea that you will ever be able to fulfill your longing to become a mixed-media artist while somehow sitting at that desk seems like it’s a total pipe dream. The goal with this exercise is to bring the quality of creativity into your current workspace, because bringing the qualities that are important to you into your current job will make the job seem just a smidge better. It empowers you to create the life you want, with the circumstances you’ve got–and that is Powerful with a big, phat-ass “P.”

Here are some possible brainstorms for such a hypothetical situation:

1.) make art on my lunch break

2.) organize people from work into a monthly art group

3.) carry around art in my wallet/purse/briefcase and look at it often

4.) creatively answer the phone–make it a game to see how many creative ways I can think of to make everyone I talk to feel really great as a result of talking to me

5.) create a piece of artwork, scan it, set it as my desktop screensaver.

Those are just a few random ideas for one quality–creativity. Brainstorm at least three ideas for each quality you’d like to bring into your current job/workplace. The value of how the small things add up is best explained in a quote I heard once. A CEO had turned around a failing company and people asked him how he did it. He replied, “It’s not that we did one thing, 100% better. We did 100 things, just 1% better.”

Lots of “1% betters” can add up to “100% better.”

Now why would you do this, if you know for absolute certain that you are in the WRONG JOB?

I encourage you to do this because this is the 100% fail-safe way to a.) test out whether the jobby-job is the real issue or the scapegoat issue for why life is not working, and b.) because it’s more powerful to make positive shifts even in situations you dislike than it is to wallow, and c.) because if you’re still in the WRONG JOB, theoretically you have not up and quit because you need to wait to do that…you need another job, or to build up your biz on the side, or for Obama to push universal health coverage through so that your kidlets won’t end up with untreated cases of rickets because you jumped ship from that employer HMO. And if you’re in the WRONG JOB for the next three months or year or whatever, why not make it a little more palatable? Why not build some character? Why wallow when there is possibility around every corner?

I’m kind of laughing at myself as I type this, because I absolutely know that when I started to do this work myself, I was all, “Are you kidding me?” It seemed like a colossal waste of time.

And now, on the other side of all of that, having taken these steps, I see how important it was that I acted with all of the integrity I could muster. I felt stronger and more powerful every time I made a choice to put my all into what I was doing. For someone having doubts, I’d ask–what would that feel like for you?

I’ll also add that tomorrow, I’m going to address the “Can’ts” that might have come up for some of you in response to this call for action.

Get started–no need to wait for the right time, the right MOOD, the right pencil, the right…just dive right in and brainstorm at least 3 solutions for each quality that you identified in the previous exercise. Left your qualities list at home? Lost it? The dog ate it? Start brainstorming just based on what you remember, and fill in the blanks later.

Stop the Job Suckage: Day Two

* 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.

Congrats, you’ve arrived at Day Two. If you haven’t already read and completed the exercise from Day One, head over there first and see what’s the what before reading further–yesterday’s practice builds on today’s practice.  Click the link on the left under Categories that says “job suckage.”

Okay–Day Two–so I’m sure many of you may have noticed that there is this thing we do in our modern day society where we get sucked into media advertising and think that if we had SomeThing or SomeThings, we’d be happy. Even though we “get” that it’s all a lie, a funny thing happens on the way to the Circus–we buy yet another book or pair of pretty shoes.

Media research has shown again and again that when we buy Things, we envision that the having of the Thing will confer upon us certain qualities that we associate with the Thing. Clothing is an easy example–branding is so obvious. What’s the branding of a store like The Gap compared to a store like Bebe? If you buy something from The Gap, you’re probably imagining that you’ll take on certain qualities such as looking streamlined and being comfortable. The clothing, of course, does not actually DO this–it’s just an idea we have. And if you get something from Bebe? You’re probably imagining how hot you’ll look. Yet again–it’s just an idea. The clothing does not automatically make you hot.

So we have tendencies to buy Things that are either ideas or image boosters. The book (ideas) and the pair of pretty shoes (image boosters) can be an excellent accompaniment to the ride, but they won’t get you as far as tapping into the qualities and going after the qualities rather than the stuff that we think will get us those qualities.

For example–I’ll just out myself here–I have been known to go through a particularly difficult stretch  in my life and then go out and get a new book, thinking that that’s what will help. That book might promise to organize my life in five easy steps, or teach me positive communication tools, or get me on a new enlightened path to meditation. I buy the book, then read part of the book, then my funk passes so maybe I don’t even finish the book.

It was never about the book.

I bought that book because of the qualities I decided it represented; I hoped that (perhaps by osmosis) I would have those qualities because I bought the book.

But–it was never about the book.

So yesterday you wrote about your ideal day, and part of that exercise was to write about how you felt throughout that day. That’s important, because for this next step I’d like you to review what you wrote and pick out ten qualities/feelings that stick out to you. Prioritize them if you feel so inclined, or organize them neatly in a binder (just don’t go out and buy a book on getting organized to complete this piece of the exercise…)

What does that have to do with stopping the job suckage?

Wait for it…wait for it… I have an idea that if you believe your job sucks, you’ve worked out all of the angles for why it sucks. We don’t need to spend more time there in the Suckage and arrive at those same answers. Looking at your ideal day and the qualities inherent within is part of turning things around at your current job, while you’re still there, or moving towards a new career path.

Tomorrow, I’ll connect these qualities very directly to the Job Suckage issue!