It’s been a while since my last post because I have been working on a personal project that will come to fruition next week, and then I’ll be back . Truly, there are only so many hours in a day. So, while I have been diligently focusing my time elsewhere, my mind hasn’t been idle–just my blog. But there has been something weighing on my mind for a while and I just think it should be shared.
I may have mentioned this in the past–a friend of mine once told me, ‘Never stay some place where you’re not valued.’ It’s such a simple concept. Recently, I ran into a neighbor of mine. She had been at her company for the last 10 years and in her field for 19. She starts a new job on today. She said that she had been passed over for promotions–repeatedly–by less experienced candidates; she took on the tough and sometimes thankless assignments, including sometimes sacrificing her personal life. But at the end of the day, she realized she wasn’t valued and so she had to move on. While a difficult decision to make, she’s excited about the new endeavor that awaits her and anxious to get started. It’s outside of her trained field but will build upon her past experience. As I listened to her story–we were each walking our dogs at the time–I couldn’t help but be inspired.
In this day and age, it’s not often you find people who stay with companies for more than 5 years, maybe 10 years tops. But I know people who have been with the same company for 15, 17, even 20 years who are not adequately compensated for the work they do and not receiving promotions–all because they work for a ‘good company.’
What really intrigues me is why so many people stay in this type of environment. Are they simply too comfortable where they are so they’ve convinced themselves, it’s just not that bad? Are they afraid of trying something new? Do they think it’s easier to stay with the known then to venture into the unknown? Or, quite simply, have they given up?
It’s hard to believer that there isn’t something better out there for you. Yes, we were in a recession. Only, I knew several people who found new jobs while we were in the thick of it. Now, according the numbers, the recession is over. Jobs are hiring. Even the housing market is bouncing back. The energy it takes to psych yourself up to go to a job that does not challenge you, does not spark your creativity, and forces you to live paycheck to paycheck can and should be channeled into ultimately making a better life for yourself. So for those that aren’t independently wealthy, need to work, and feel stuck–here are some suggestions.
Update the ol’ Resume: No one likes to do this. It’s time-consuming and tedious, but it’s necessary. If you don’t want to do it, then pay someone to do it. You need one, you know it, so in the spirit of Nike–just do it.
Research, Research, Research: Find out how much people in your field–in and out of your industry–in your state earn. Find out if you need additional qualifications–degrees, certifications, etc.–in order to make a higher salary. Knowledge is power, know what you’re worth so you know not only what to ask for, but what not to settle for. Remember to take your current benefits, 401(k) matches, bonus, vacation, etc., into consideration. And keep in mind, if you’re switching fields completely, you may need to take a step back in pay to move forward long term. Look at the big picture.
Mine Your LinkedIn Connections: I heard a staggering statistic that 80% of jobs these days are found through networking. So network. Once your profile is set up, don’t just connect with people, set up time with them. Have coffee. Meet for lunch.
Set Up Job Searches: Gone are the days of looking through the newspaper classifieds trying to find a job. (Which, by the way, is how I found my 2nd job out of college.) It’s easy to set up searches so jobs come to you, how easy is that? LinkedIn, Indeed, CareerBuilder will send you jobs every day matching pre-set qualifications of your choosing.
Apply, Apply, Apply: It may take 6 months, it may take a year, but know that it will never happen if you don’t apply. Yes, it’s time-consuming and tedious, but it’s necessary. Think of interviews as practice, because eventually, you’ll wind up interviewing for the job you want. Prepare in advance, put your best foot forward, and always ask for feedback.
Hone Your Skills Outside the Office: If you build websites, build. If you write books, articles, white papers, write. Build your portfolio. Not only does it keep your skills sharp but it lets potential employers know that you’re not sitting idly and it provides you with an opportunity to showcase your talents on your terms.
Above all, stick with it and keep trying. This list isn’t exhaustive, certain steps don’t have to be done in order, and it’s not guaranteed, but it will certainly get you closer to achieving your potential and goals in leading the life you want than not doing anything at all. Quite often starting is the hardest part. I bought something with the greatest quote today, it says, ‘Begin Anywhere.’–John Cage
I think that says it all.