By Deirdre May, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers
I recall a conversation with a friend a number of years ago. It was around this time of the year and, like many, she had started to reassess her career options during the Christmas period. She wanted a change based on her unhappiness in her current role and explained a number of key issues causing her distress within her working day.
Firstly, she was bored in the role and found herself needing a new challenge. She was reviewing documentation of a technical nature and was essentially dealing with the same type of content over and over again with little or no variation. Secondly, she felt her immediate superior didn’t appear to take her opinions on board, especially during group meetings.
I asked her if she had raised any of these issues with her boss or someone else in the organisation. She said, “no, there’s no point as nothing would change anyway”. She wanted out and had made up her mind.
She began the quest for a new job with a new set of challenges. I met her several months later and picked up the conversation where we had left off. She was now in a new job in a similar organisation. Ironically, her daily schedule turned out to be similar to her previous role but this time she approached her boss and asked if she could be given different challenges within her job spec. As explained to her, the type of work was technical in nature, required certain skills, and ultimately needed to get done. Her boss agreed that an element of variety would be beneficial and, as a consequence, she now splits this particular task with two other colleagues, allowing her time to be involved in other aspects of the organisation.
Her new colleagues also encouraged her to speak out a bit more at meetings and to get her points across. She changed her approach and mind set and now feels that her opinion is valued. There has been a significant improvement in her contribution to the company and this has had a positive impact on her morale. Her new job involves a longer commute to and from work and the pay is slightly less than what she was on previously. In hindsight, she accepts she was hasty in her decision to leave the previous employment and genuinely regrets not attempting to address her grievances in the first place. She’s not certain this approach would have worked, but she wishes she had tried.
We can sometimes fall victim to the a ‘grass is always greener’ belief. In some cases it is, but invariably we find out that you still have to look after the garden. In our frustration, we can sometimes see only the bad in where we are, and only the good in where we would like to go, but the bad may not be as bad as it seems and the good may not be as good. If you’re unhappy within your current role, try addressing the problems first. Sometimes you can fix the issue yourself or, alternatively, the answer may lie with someone else within the organisation.
There’s no harm is asking the question anyway.
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