Is It Time To Break Up With Your Job?
Are you really done?
Earlier today I was exchanging thoughts with a girlfriend and somewhere between laughing about silly things our toddler girls had gotten up to over the Ash Wednesday break and stating concern about our readiness for the upcoming Sagicor Sigma Corporate Run we strayed to catching up about things concerning her work. For the last two or so years she has been very unhappy at the job she has held for over six years. Last November she vowed to make changes ahead of 2015 to save herself from what we now call ‘spontaneous discontent combustion’, but having not received a response to the single job application she made, she still drags herself to her office daily. I laugh at her (lovingly) when she gets very specific about her grouses, so in support of my friend, I think I should dedicate my first blog to a more practical assessment of when it may be time to move on from a job.
Before I get into it, let me put this case into context, this is not for the lazy ass who has been employed in the same position for two to ten years and cannot give a proper description of the company or his function, it is not for the idler who sits inches away from a coworker every God given day and acts a fool when asked to fill in, this is not for those placed by politics, brotherhood or other social affiliation who damn well know they are ill-fit, this is not for those whose productivity starts and ends with their lunch break, this is not for miss cass cass who is fully content once there is someone to engage her in daily rounds of “he seh she seh”. This is for those with the requisite skill set, ambition and competence to carry out their functions, who are usually hardworking, dedicated and committed but who through organizational circumstances have veered off into a state of miz-areble-niss.
- Think Through the Issue(s) Thoroughly
It is quite normal for some personalities to become enraged when things are not going exactly as they would like, so it is critical to stop and think through the issues to identify those that are not a consequence of your parents and or grandma jumping at your every bawl. Yes, we need fi figga out if a di pwile pickini syndrome at work or if yuh issues real. Get pen and writing paper, locate yourself to a quiet place and think. Do not write just yet. Itemize in your mind the things that have caused the buildup of resentment for the place you work, the people you work with, the people you encounter at work, the type of work you do or any other thing about work that holds a seat on the sour end of your tongue (that’s a myth by the way, that some spots on the tongue only taste the sour (-: )
- Review the Thoughts Again
Have you forgotten any of your original thoughts? Have you unintentionally re-ranked your issues? Based on what is swimming around now, select the issue(s) that you are least worked up about and have a discussion with yourself about them, don’t start writing yet. Why did you select that issue(s) as having less weight on your overall state of mind? Dig deeply into all the things that are wrapped up in these ‘light weight’ issues. Dig deeply. Dem big enough fi still heng on pan or dem can leggo?
- Document the Issue(s)
So you have thought through the issues and you are convinced that there are things significant enough to keep you mad, to keep you disconnected from the job you once loved. Well, write them down. Mek it a tek yuh so long, yuh figget arredy? Hmmmn. If your list feels inadequate don’t be tempted to add any new issues or any you decided to leave behind. You should be moving forward with the issues that are threatening your sanity; those that come to mind before you can lean over to give your special one a good morning chups; those that halo your head during staff meetings and steer you away from giving attention to that email that hits your inbox ten minutes before 5pm.
4. Read Through Your Issues
Aloud please. You should be alone so only you will find it funny if you come to realize your issues are pathetic! Mi seh beg yuh read dem out loud fimi deh! If you are laughing hysterically at this point, I am very happy for you, your issues are quite likely non-issues or ‘simple ting’. If you are laughing, you already know what to do to get back on track. Like mi frenzy pon di enzy, not everyone will be laughing, some issues are real.
- Go Deep. Write.
Writing can be very therapeutic. Give each issue the time it deserves. ***How did it manifest? ***What was your role and who else is involved? ***What are the channels available within the organization to deal with issues of this nature? ***What formal or informal channels have you tried using to discuss the issues? ***Why do the issues still exist?
At the end of the day, we all won’t benefit from an exercise of this nature. Some will get to step 5 and realize that in fact they do or can have control over their situation and can step back and apply attention. Some, sadly or gladly, may just need to move on. From where I sit, the decision to move on must be made after evaluating how you are being affected by the issue(s).
It may be time to move on If….Nonchalance has taken you over
- You check your watch and notice you are 5 minutes late back from lunch and instead of heading back to your desk you make your way to start another snack or to make a phonecall.
- You can sit through a meeting where weak arguments are being thrown across your ears and you have no inclination to air your wise opinions or corrections.
- You lower the volume on your desk phone so no one notices that you’re not taking all your calls.
If….Your energy level has taken a deep-sea dive, seemingly never to return
- You are now late for work regularly simply because it now takes twice as long to carry out a morning routine that hasn’t changed in years.
- It feels like work to greet your colleagues properly “mawn/morn.. (morning)”.
- Your supervisor or colleagues keep asking you to give them an answer you are sure you already did, but you know it’s likely the response was only in your head and didn’t make its way to your mouth.
If….Your thoughts have become very corrupted or aggressive
- You start imagining that there is a big show-down and people from your department get into big trouble.
- You sit across from your superiors and while they speak you hurl insulting words and a string of dutty Jamaican curse words at them in your mind and you really aren’t even that big a cussa (swearer)!
- Every conversation becomes an opportunity for you to argue, sometimes it is so obvious you are able to stop yourself.
If….Your body starts showing signs of its own issues
- Hair loss. Bald spots can show up during periods of stress even in very young people.
- Back aches. If you cannot identify anything else that may be responsible for the backaches it could very well be stress.
- I encouraged my girlfriend to see a headache specialist last year, it cost almost 15K JAD! It helped, but then came the hair loss and other physical manifestations of the stress.
- For ladies, unusually heavy menstruation and or delayed menses can also be relevant signs of stress.
- Weight gain. Eating away your sorrows is not just a phrase, check yourself, are you doing this?
- Your super sharp memory has become very bad. You struggle to remember what you were doing yesterday that needs to be completed and what someone asked you to do only ten minutes ago! You now find yourself rushing to write down thoughts to make up a to-do list before you ‘forget’ them.
If….Your point of view has changed on important things
- You start discussing work in a negative light with colleagues.
- Screaming starts feeling like the appropriate response to every customer service and supervisor demand.
- That you had ‘bought in’ to the company’s growth or recovery strategy by accepting the wage freeze or less than useful salary now reveals itself to be one of your most stupid moves- ever.
- You no longer admire your supervisor or leader instead you can now give a list of his flaws without thinking too hard.
- You no longer believe that trying to hold down your job is in your best interest; you are entertaining thoughts of moving on without a plan.
Nothing is meant to last forever and if your company expected to have you forever you would be on a “Till Yuh Drop Dung Dead” contract with the best salary and benefits and would not have been left by the wayside to read a blog from a non-therapist to deal with your issues . If you were that important an employee, someone within your company would know of the ‘need’ to have you around (supervisor, manager, HR leader) and would have been watching you keenly and so would have recognized by now that you are unhappy and would have ‘fixed’ your issues!
For how long do you think a broken electronic cash counter would go unnoticed at a bank? How quickly are inanimate things fixed around your office? Why is that? Who noticed the fault? Why is it easier to notice the broken state of things and not people?
Companies must do better ‘managing’ people and people must periodically evaluate the value the company assigns to them.
What is your value at work? If nobaddy nuh bizniz wid you an yuh issues an dem a get to yuh in a ‘real’ way it is time to move along.
(c) 2015 C.E. Clarke for Help Mi Consulting