When a career change can’t come fast enough for you, you have to do what you can to make your current role manageable. Making a bad job better can help you to make better career decisions moving forward. Many poor career decisions are made in haste due to an ongoing discord at work that spurs quick, irrational, and uninformed career moves; moves that put you in a role that 2 years later you are itching to get out of. That’s not a place you want to be.
Making a well thought out, researched, and impactful career move usually takes time though. During that time you need to make the best of your current situation; after all, you are still an employee with a job to do and you should continue doing it with integrity. Whether you owe that to your employer is at your discretion, but you definitely owe that to yourself.
Sounds like a lofty goal, though, doesn’t it? Especially if you’re on the precipice of making that hasty decision. There are several ways to help you make your bad job better to help improve your time left while you make the right career decisions.
Stop, Evaluate, Plan, Focus.
Determine what it actually is that you don’t like. Funny enough, when I ask people why they dislike their jobs so much, it usually comes down to just two or three areas. It’s never the WHOLE job that they don’t enjoy, but rather, it’s singular components such as their boss, their schedule, communication breakdowns, not feeling connected with the company’s purpose, or the company culture. If you can begin to pinpoint exactly what it is that is giving you pain, you might be able to find some solutions around it. For example, if it’s your boss, ask what is it that you don’t like about him/her? Can you learn to approach them differently to help improve the relationship? The other benefit of figuring this out is that it helps you to understand what to look out for when it comes to your next career move.
Make plans to level up. As you plan out your next steps, focus in on where you need to develop in order to achieve your next career move. Can you take advantage of your current role to learn and grow in those areas? Consider taking on extra projects outside of your usual scope to give you some experience and the opportunity to learn. Even look at professional development workshops or events being hosted either within your organization or industry that you can attend.
Give yourself goals. Sitting by and grumbling about your job isn’t helpful. Starting a job search without a strategy is likely to produce poor results. Take the time to make a plan and set goals within it. Include goals such as your exit date, networking activities and building, learning opportunities, and self-reflection (as in, figuring out what that right next move actually is). Hold yourself accountable to a timeframe and benchmark your progress.
Keep a track record of the good things happening at work. There are good things happening at work, trust me. Some days you might not be able to see them, but they are there. Look at things like people you enjoy working with, client interactions that put a smile on your face, skills that you are learning, projects you are completing, and ways that the product or service that your company provides is helping their audience.
Network within. Talk to people in the company. Build up good rapport with people of influence with the intent that they will become part of your network. When you leave that place behind you in the dust, ensure that you have good bridges back there leading to people who will have positive things to say about you.
It’s easy to get lost down the slippery slope of a bad work situation. Climbing back up to the top of the hill takes effort and focus, but the view is more than worth it. By allowing yourself the freedom to spend the time making informed decisions while relieving some of the stressors in your current job will help to release the pressure. The suggestions above are just a handful of many that you can take action with. Talk to people in your inner circle to brainstorm other ways that you can make the best of where you are to help make your time more enjoyable and advantageous.
Want to know more about how to evaluate your current role to pinpoint what isn’t lining up? Check out this article on conducting a career check to download the worksheet to help you move forward!