Career Happiness is Never Over-Rated
How are you feeling? Good? Not so good? Ever think about how often your physical health is aligned with your career satisfaction?
I strongly believe that career dis-ease can lead directly to actual disease.
It’s somewhat akin to when we were kids and there was a big test coming up and suddenly we could ‘feel’ a big stomach ache coming on. We’d mope around the house, feeling low and dragging ourselves about hoping someone would notice and ask us what’s wrong. If you made too much out of it, the whole plan might backfire. But with just enough groaning and moaning, you might just get to stay home from school the next morning, with a perfectly ‘legitimate’ excuse for postponing the test.
When you have faced a work situation where you weren’t happy, I’m guess you (as I) have tried to think of some ways to get out of showing up for a day or two. But what happens when things are much more than just unpleasant? What if you are seeing things, or being asked to be a part of things, that are not in alignment with your own views of how things should be done, or how people should be treated?
A number of years ago, working in a corporate job, I was given my own big health wake-up call. Over a period of a few months, I went from never visiting a doctor and eagerly jumping out of bed in the morning to seeking out as many different forms of health care services as I could find to deal with a persistent back pain that was all but debilitating. Looking back now, it surprises me how long it took me to wake up to the direct correlation between my declining health and how unhappy I was with the behavior I was seeing around me every day. I’m not saying there were laws being broken, but the activities of some of the senior folks in the company did not align with what I believed were the right ways to run a business. I was trying to fight the internal battles to improve things at the same time as my daily back pain was raising major red flags that it was just time to just go. No surprise, when I did leave the company a few months later, my health returned to normal within just a few weeks.
Time and again, clients who come to me for help in preparing for a career transition share with me their own health challenges, at the same time as they tell me how unhappy they are in their present situation. When I speak to health care providers I know, they agree that they see a similar correlation.
Are there ways in which your body is trying to tell you that this just may not be the best place or job or role for you? Or is there someone on your staff that is taking a lot of time out to visit doctors that may just be in the wrong job? Take a moment to listen. Is it time to reach out and get some help in re-thinking your career priorities?
Put together a personal board of directors (mentors, former colleagues, smart people you know) that can help you evaluate your present situation. Is this a temporary problem that is likely to go away within a few weeks? Or is it time to go? Is there anyone higher up in the organization you can talk to that might be able to help you fix things, or is there somewhere else in the company/organization that you can go? Making an internal job change is often much quicker but you have to be sure that the problems you are seeing don’t carry over somewhere else. Or perhaps your organization is just too small to need your skills somewhere else?
If so, it’s time to put together your career transition plan and get some help. There may be outplacement services available where you work now, but they may not be available to you until you have already quit the job. If so, start by reaching out to your immediate network and let them know, confidentially, that you’re ready for a change. Don’t say negative things about your present place of work – just focus on the next step. Start attending more industry networking events and set up lunches with influential people you know who may know about new opportunities. If you can’t get outplacement help paid by your company, you may want to hire your own professional help. The money you spend working with a great career transition expert will likely save you a lot in the way of medical bills. Kind of a funny way to think about it, I know.
But remember, your health is your best reminder that career happiness is never over-rated.
Posted by Denise Brosseau on 30th May, 2010 | Comments
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