During my work as a coach, I had a joint conversation with job hunters. “Well, I decided to go for this position. “I am qualified and the salary is fantastic,” I am often told. But then they add, “I do not see myself working in the organization – something just does not feel good. What should I do? “Or engage in a dialogue with a Ph.D. holder who says,” Here is the job advertisement I’m applying for, but I have no skills. Can you please help? “
And then when I ask about each person’s relevant skills, knowledge, professional network or emotions about this opportunity, I hear “No”, “Not really” and “I do not know”. I shake my head sympathetically and sigh.
While these two scenarios are different, they share one thing in common: the ambivalence of future employment. Simply put, both individuals choose to pursue jobs for which they are indifferent.
Unfortunately, such a path can be costly. For this reason, I would like to explore the consequences of choosing him and propose some solutions when you find yourself painstakingly detailing your CV for a job that you honestly do not care about.
First, let’s see why a stellar employee would leave his or her current position. On the one hand, sometimes the reasons include various external circumstances. such as contract termination, immigration issues, family related problems and the like. Unfortunately, we can not do much about such issues except accepting reality and working with what we have. However, another category of reasons for a “should get out of here” attitude includes things like:
- Dissatisfaction with current role and responsibilities;
- Difficult relationships with management and leadership; AND
- Lack of growth potential in the organization.
These last circumstances are often stressful, but they offer job security and enough time to look for a new and better offer. However, many people choose to jump on the ship in the first case, often ending up in almost the same situation from which they are fleeing: another postdoctoral fellow, another science project, another bad boss leading a fragmented team.
At this point, you may be wondering what’s so bad about having a well-paid and stable employment at the relatively small expense of your personal concern. I can mention two negative consequences:
- Sorry. When applying for a job, especially in times of distress, we tend to overlook the importance of intrinsic motivation, a driving force behind work for the sake of satisfaction and interest. By focusing more on external motivators like money, status or moving away from a toxic environment, we forget that internal motivation will help us get up in the morning when work gets hard. When intrinsic motivation decreases, performance and commitment also decrease. Until one day, we wake up with a deep sense of regret and contemplation of how everything would have been different if only we… Once regret enters our lives, life satisfaction, well-being and even health suffer. Sounds not good, does it?
- Suffering. Believe it or not, an innocent act of getting a temporary “meh” job can be dangerous because of the mismatch of cost (a mistake in thinking), which makes us work for something because we already have invest time / effort / money. Remember that boring book you went through because you were half done? What if you stuffed an extra dessert to get your $ 20 worth of buffet restaurant? The same thing can happen in the workplace, where “temporary” employment turns into a terrible stalemate filled with apathy, stagnation and lack of understanding. Comes to her advantage! As you count down the years toward retirement, the alternatives become impractical — you think — because you have already invested so much in this career. Outcome? Unhappiness, low self-esteem and another blow to your life satisfaction.
Given the long-term downsides of “I do not like the job, I will still apply for it”, what can you do to avoid, or at least limit, the damage? Assuming you are not under the pressure of external circumstances and have little room for job search, here are some strategies to try.
Explore ambivalence to raise awareness. Having mixed feelings about a position can reveal a conflict of values, such as working in the oil industry versus a nonprofit that fights climate change or an organization that emphasizes teamwork instead of independence. It can also expose some limiting attitudes you have that hinder your decision-making – for example, that you are not good enough or you will fail. Investigating ambivalence with kindness and compassion will help you optimize your job search criteria and understand what would be possible if you had a job based on your interests, strengths and values. Not sure where to start? Ask yourself, “What does ambivalence tell me now?”
Call “you of the future” to see a bigger picture. When we are laser focused on a specific position at a given time, we may fail to assess the impact of a decision on our overall life. A good way to challenge the tunnel vision is to expand your decision-making framework by envisioning yourself in 10 to 20 years. And I mean really anticipate and have a conversation with the happy retired future about the prospects and course of action you will take. Whenever you talk to yourself, pay attention to all the thoughts, feelings and sensations of the body that arise. It is awareness data that will bring you one step closer to a full career.
Exercise your endurance muscles. It is tempting to take action and apply for dozens of jobs. Yes, this strategy will give illusion control over your future, curb anxiety and stifle fear of the unknown. But at the same time, it will deplete your internal and external resources without fruitful results. Instead, try to embrace patience by reminding yourself how much you will benefit from having a job that matches what you are, instead of remaining in a position of financial bondage fueled by regret and sickness. I know it’s hard to keep up with the ordinary business, so I invite you to challenge your thinking by asking, “What if I do nothing now?” And then marvel at the answer.
During my work as a coach, I see many different scenarios unfold as my academic and non-academic clients insist on realizing their dreams. The process is not easy. Sometimes, they struggle and despair; sometimes, they accept limitations and overcome ambivalence and uncertainty. In the end, their commitment is rewarded and they move into new positions with confidence and calm. When going through difficult points in your career path, keep in mind that every decision carries consequences and you already have everything you need to honor your truth and create a rewarding career where you can grow, thrive and have fun.