A 2010 report released by The Conference Board says that American employees are increasingly unhappy—which they say is “a long-term trend that should be a red flag to employers.” But is it also a wake-up call for employees who are experiencing increased workloads, ramped up stress and a lack of purpose?
The kind of stress people experience working extended hours in a place they dislike has a ripple effect on both physical and mental health. Addressing this issue starts with two things: 1) dispelling the lies people tell themselves that keep them in their jobs, and 2) uncovering the truths that will set them free.
Lie #1: “I’m Trapped in This Job.”
The Truth: If you THINK you’re trapped, then you ARE trapped.
Start challenging this belief by asking yourself, “How do I know I can’t find a better job?” If the only answer you give yourself is “I just know I can’t,” then you are simply making excuses for not trying. To build up some self-confidence, start by taking inventory of the skills in your toolbox by asking the following questions:
- What skills do I possess through my current job, past jobs, volunteer experiences, and educational training? Make a list. Then, begin to think about the kinds of jobs these skills can help you do. Look beyond the direct link of a specific skill set to a traditional job, and think about how to transfer your strengths to areas where you’ll find more fulfillment.
- Do I have any skills or resources I might be wasting? Whether it’s talent, time, money or relationships, everyone can do a better job of putting their resources to better use.
- Do I really have the desire to continue working here? Self-honesty is always the best policy: if you don’t have the desire, and you know you don’t have it, this is a good thing! If you clearly do not have the desire, find a different way to be satisfied.
Lie #2: “I’m Too Old to Make a Change.”
The Truth: You CAN challenge this belief, you CAN switch jobs or careers, and you CAN learning something new—if you put your full energy and creativity into it.
To begin, seek help and advice for your job-hunt. Things have changed, so you’ll need to update your knowledge about the search process and the interview process. One of the reasons people think they’re too old to switch jobs or change careers is because they don’t stay current. Knowing more about today’s world will help you to feel and act like you’re a part of it. Also consider taking a course in something new, to stretch your mind. If you go in with a commitment to learn and a willingness to put in the effort that learning requires, you can learn whatever you decide to learn—and age will not matter.
Lie #3: “No Job Will Allow Me to Do What I Enjoy.”
The Truth: This is only true if you think it is. But how do you know for sure?
Instead of looking for an existing job, why not invent one and try to sell the idea to a person or a company? If you ask around, read the paper, look online and check out company websites, you might be surprised at the variety and diversity of jobs that exist today. Believe me, if you like doing it, there is almost always someone out there that wants (or needs) it to be done. Don’t limit yourself with this lie—give it a try, and don’t quit on yourself!
Lie #4: “No One is Hiring, So I’m Not Going to Look.”
The Truth: Even in The Great Depression, people found work.
“No one is hiring” is the ultimate lazy person’s excuse. Today, people can look in more places and use more job search mediums than they ever had access to before. Once you can learn about the different ways people conduct job searches, and get current on all the ways to look and network for jobs, there are no more excuses. Excuses are like band-aids . . . they cover the wound, but don’t heal it.
Lie #5: “I Don’t Have the Discipline to Be My Own Boss.”
The Truth: Anyone can challenge who they are and what they’re capable of doing—including YOU.
The fact is, discipline comes naturally to some people, while others have to learn it. But you CAN learn to be more disciplined if you choose to be so. Setting up a system and following it might take more energy and focused attention for you than ever before, but you CAN do it. If you need to, get a buddy to support you—or hire a coach if you are in a position to do so. Support people can help you set goals, organize your schedule, and review your progress milestones. But at the same time, if you’re simply not willing to do the work involved in overcoming a lack of self-discipline, don’t lie to yourself (or anyone else, for that matter).
One thing everyone can control is their own frame of mind and approach to how we learn and earn. There might be nothing tangible in your way, but the beliefs you hold, the things you say to yourself, and the limits you set can slow you down. Emotional desire is the greatest motivation, and if you truly desire something, you WILL figure how to make it happen. That’s the way it works: when your heart and head are aligned, you are unstoppable.
The career-related lies above can (and will) influence how you think and how you feel, every single day. They will define every decision you make, and will eventually shape your life if unchallenged. So what is your real job right now? Get busy uncovering and challenging each assumption that is keeping you stuck in exactly the place you don’t want to be—and make some changes!
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