How to fall back in love with your job

Remember when you first started your current job – how excited you were? How much love you felt for it. How you loved going to work. Has the novelty worn off? Is the honeymoon over? Has the reality of what you do every day kicked in? If you’re now in the twilight zone of your job relationship and feel a sense of dread on Sunday evening then something’s got to change.

It’s tempting to dust off your CV, give your job the old ‘heave ho’ and make a move to something new and more exciting. But before you do, consider if you can fall back in love with your job. Just like a relationship, you don’t have to go straight to divorce, with a bit of work you can salvage what’s good.

Here’s how to fall back in love with your job:

Take time to reflect

Make space to get a bit of distance from the day to day and have a good think about your job. This could be a holiday, a weekend away or even just take a day off. You need to get some perspective. Ask yourself three questions:

 – What do you enjoy about it?

 – What are the good bits?

 – Can you do it in a different way that will reconnect you with it?

Ask for what you want

Most managers want to keep their staff as it’s expensive and time consuming to recruit. Don’t sit in silence. Talk to your manager about the fact that you’re not enjoying things as much. Ask for some changes to make it work for you (which will ultimately help them too!).

They may not be able to agree to everything but if they can allow you to implement some key things it will help you feel appreciated and valued. Work out what would help – is it working on some different projects, learning a new skill or working from home one day a week? Getting what you want will contribute to how you feel about your job.

Change your view and mindset

It’s easy when you’re not enjoying what you do to get stuck in a negative frame of mind. This means you tend to focus on all the things you don’t like, and lose perspective on the reality. Make a conscious effort to focus on the areas that are good about your job. You will have to retrain your brain, and it will be tempting to fall back into your old views.

Focusing on the good is a much more enjoyable way to spend your time rather than moaning about things. Try to avoid other people who enjoy saying how awful the company or your job is and seek to reinforce your positive mindset. Choose a word to focus on that can help you stay positive.

Use your strengths

Research shows that we are happier and more confident when we can use our core strengths at work on a regular basis. Do a simple audit of how you use your strengths at work and look for ways you can do that more. Want to discover or remind yourself of your core strengths? You can take the free VIA Strengths Survey.

Plan to learn and grow

Take control of your own learning and development by being proactive about what you want. Check in with yourself about skills or qualifications that could either broaden your current role or help you become more specialist in your role. Look at a variety of ways you can access this from either formal or informal learning, and make a plan to avoid drifting. It’s your responsibility to fulfill your potential.

Fix the things that annoy you

What is getting on your nerves? Is it within your control to fix it? If it is then make some changes. It could be minor such as there is never milk in the fridge for tea or coffee. Organise a rota to buy it. It could be more significant such as your supervision sessions with your boss are always cancelled. Put it in writing that you would like to have them on a  regular basis. Whatever it is, try and resolve it, and if it’s out of your control, accept that you can’t fix it and move past it.

Do your utmost to make it work, to try and fall back in love with your job. But if it’s not possible, don’t stay in a job you don’t love – make a change, and if you need help with that please get in touch.

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Spring Clean your CV

Spring is here at last! Feeling a surge of energy as a result of the sunny days and brighter evenings you might think about decluttering the house and detoxing your diet in readiness for the Summer but what about your career?

Whether you are thinking of changing jobs or careers, or returning to work after having a break now is the time to direct a bit of energy to tidying up and spring cleaning your CV and job search.

Firstly, you need to find a space in your hectic schedule when you can dedicate enough time and energy to it. It is very easy to find other things to do when facing the prospect of rewriting your CV!

What can help is to visualise what you will achieve by spending the time on your CV, for example, if by changing jobs you will be able to afford a lovely holiday then find a picture of your holiday destination to remind yourself why you are doing this, or if it means something deeper, perhaps finding more meaning at work or reconnecting with your professional identity then find an image that sums this up to you.

So now you’ve accessed the motivation you need to work on your CV find the latest version and give it a critical review to assess how much work it actually needs. If you are changing career or have had a long career break then it may require quite an overhaul but if you’re looking to move to a similar job then it perhaps only needs a few tweaks.

Top tips to Spring Clean your CV

Layout:

CV styles and layouts do change over time so make sure you are presenting yours using the current approach for your sector so it doesn’t immediately look dated. Remember less is more 2 pages is a definite maximum – recruiters won’t have time to read more than that. The top half of the first page must have the most impact as this will determine whether they read on.

Presentation:

It must be easy to read – choose a clear font and use 11pt font size as a minimum, and make sure that it is not text dense – use bullet points, bold and headings to help your achievements stand out, and keep plenty of white space around the text and between categories which make it much easier on the eye. Spelling and grammar mistakes result in your CV being dismissed immediately so double check for errors.

Content:

Before you write your CV do your research – what are the key skills needed for the job you are looking for? What is important to the sector or kind of organisation you are going to be working in? for example, is it a busy, creative field? do you need knowledge of a particular area?

Now’s the time to develop the achievements that will help your CV stand out – employers are interested in what you did well in your last job, not in what your tasks or responsibilities were, for example, ‘Organised successful new product launch party for 50 clients, including PR and catering, resulting in 10 orders placed.’ This has much more impact than ‘Responsible for organising corporate events.’ If you can quantify your achievements and include some figures that creates extra impact.

Remember you don’t have to include everything you have ever done, and jobs further back in your career history may only require 1 or 2 key achievements.

Profile:

This is the summary at the top of the first page – make it specific, interesting and relevant to the job. Highlight the key skills and experiences you have and the kinds of environments you have worked in. You can even include things you are passionate about if it is relevant to the job.

Social Media:

Include a connection to your LinkedIn profile – do make sure your profile is up to date and consistent with your CV. If you searching for a creative role then having a portfolio on tumblr or pinterest and including a link to them on your CV is very useful for employers to see your work.

Tailor it for the Job:

Don’t be tempted to send the same CV out for different jobs – you have to tailor it for each job you apply for – write it in response to the specific advert – if you don’t you are just wasting your time as employers won’t be interested if you haven’t taken the time to make it specific to their job.

Impact:

Remember recruiters only spend about 20-30 seconds reading your CV on initial screening. Imagine your CV being read by someone in the organisation you want to work in – if they only remembered 3 things about you from your CV after the initial read what would you want those three things to be?

It may seem like a lot of work but it is a good investment of your time especially if it leads to a fantastic new job. So when you think about spring cleaning, don’t waste time on the windows, dust off and revitalise your CV instead!

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This post originally appeared in London Mums Magazine

Hate your job? Develop a 7 step Exit Strategy

If you’re not enjoying our job or you know you’re ready to move on then you need to develop an exit strategy. Having an exit strategy helps you focus on finding something new and means you avoid getting stuck.

What is an Exit Strategy?

An exit strategy is essentially a plan of escape! By committing to devising a plan you are starting a process of change that will lead you to a new job within a relatively short space of time. You are taking control of your situation which helps you to feel more positive about what next.

What to include in your Exit Strategy:

Set a Time Limit

Maybe you don’t want to be at your Company’s next Christmas party  or you simply want to be in a different role within 2 months. Whatever, it is set yourself a target to motivate yourself and avoid drift. Be realistic though and take into account your notice period and how long it takes to go through the recruitment process.

Identify your Criteria for your next Role

It can be tempting to take the first role that is offered to you but you need to make sure you are taking the right role. Make a list of what you want from your next job and divide it into essential and desirable. Be clear about what you might compromise on and what is non-negotiable. This can include practical things like location, commuting time, salary, working hours and type of organisation, as well as areas key to job satisfaction such as more responsibility/challenge, opportunity to manage others, learning/training opportunities, potential to grow and develop in the role, or an element of work that you don’t want to do any more. Be specific about what you want.

Seek Opportunities to Upskill

Maximise the time in your current job. Focus on opportunities to make yourself more marketable. Consider any gaps you may have and seek opportunities to gain new skills or experiences that potential new employers would value and that will make your CV stand out. Be proactive and ask for what you want. For example, if you want to manage staff in your next role, ask your current boss if you can supervises/mentor a more junior member of staff or an intern.

Rewrite your CV & LinkedIn profile

Your CV will get you an interview so make sure it’s up to date. Add new achievements and start tailoring it to the kind of role you are looking for. Read more on how to create a CV with impact here. Then up date your LinkedIn profile so it reflects your CV, or if you haven’t got a profile start building one now.

Schedule some Time

Job searching  can take a lot of time so you need to work out when you are going to do it. Perhaps you can set aside a couple of evenings a week to work on your job search and ring fence that time. Get more tips on creating time and motivating yourself to job search here.

Talk to People

Review and develop your network – who can help you in your job search. Book some coffee meetings with contacts who can advise you on who’s recruiting, give you feedback on your CV or could be a warm contact at a company you want to work for. And look out for who you can help too – what goes around, comes around!

Keep your Confidence High

Find ways to boost your confidence until you achieve your exit. If you’e not enjoying your job or you’ve had a rejection from a job you wanted then you can start to feel dejected. Try keeping an achievement journal where you record your daily work achievements (also useful for interview examples), start collecting pieces of positive feedback from clients, colleagues or your boss, or do something outside work, such as sport, creative hobby or volunteering, that makes you feel good.

Make it a priority to devise your exit strategy now so you can stay focused and motivated to change your job and make a successful move to something new.

Need some help moving forward? Get in touch for a FREE clarity call to work out your next steps.

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Unhappy at work: should you stay or should you resign?

You know your current career is not where you want to be right now – you’ve had enough. You’re fed up of being demotivated and unhappy at work. You feel stressed and exhausted most of the time. Enough is enough and change is definitely on the cards.

The question buzzing through your brain is should I resign now or wait until I have a job to go to or when I’m clearer about my career change?

What’s the answer?

I’m afraid there is no easy answer but I’m going to set out some things to consider that can help you with that decision:

Stay in your current job:

  • It can be easier to find a job or change career when you are already working. You don’t have to worry about explaining why you left and you can be relatively sure that the decision to leave and step into something new is because you want it not because you’re getting desperate.
  • If you know you are going to leave at some point and you are mentally (but not physically) resigning from your company this can alleviate some of the stress and allow you to feel you are taking control.
  •  You don’t always have to leave your job to change your life at work – you can do a review to work out what you can do proactively to improve things at work temporarily until you can leave. These could be small things like taking a lunch break, leaving on time, etc or larger things like speaking to your manager about your workload.
  • You can use your current job to give you experience or skills in different areas that could be useful for the future – be strategic.

Read my blog on creating some love for a job that you can’t leave yet or on detoxing your career.

Resign and leave your current job:

  • If you are at the point where you are thinking of quitting then things must be extreme – maybe it’s a poor manager, lack of support, overwork or a culture which clashes with your values or personality, maybe its overly confrontational or unsupportive. When this is the case you may feel you don’t have headspace, energy or time to consider what to do next. What you feel you need is clarity, control and confidence.
  • Understanding your approach to risk and thinking about how you can minimise the impact before you quit can help:
    • What is your financial plan? How long can you survive without an income?
    • Does your skill set lend itself to interim or temp work?
    • How can you make sure you don’t get stuck? What is your timescale to be in another role?
  • Not having a role to go to can spur you on to make your change happen faster. If you know you’re an all or nothing kind of person then this could be an approach that works well for you.

Like I said there is no easy answer, and there are pros and cons for each option. Feeling you are trapped or that you have no control over your career is stressful and not sustainable.

Whatever you decide the most important thing is to do SOMETHING!

Tips for deciding what to do:

  • Choose carefully who you ask for advice, and then listen to your inner voice and let it guide you. Everyone will have  a view so do what is right for you!
  • Remember you won’t feel like this forever, you can get through this difficult time. Draw on your resilience and remember other challenging times that you have survived.
  • Take care of your career confidence –be mindful it may take a knock, and look for ways to boost it

Finally, life is too short to do a job you don’t enjoy so whether you resign now or wait until you have a job to go to, you know either way you are doing the right thing by leaving a job that is making you unhappy.

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Hate your job but can’t leave? Look for ways to create some love

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How do you feel about what you do for a living? do you love it ? maybe the feelings are not so positive, maybe you hate what you do…

Confucius said ‘Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life‘ but for many people that feels like the holy grail. They think you have to be lucky to find it and that, in reality you have to make do with whatever profession/career that you end up with, and which sometimes you end up hating. If you can’t leave a job you hate, for whatever reason is trapping you there – money, status, circumstances, then you must find ways to love it more. If you don’t it will make you unhappy, erode your confidence, affect your well being and your life outside work.

Try these tips to help you feel more in love with work:

  • Let Love play it’s part – work out what you do love about what you do (there must be something!) and try and do more of it. For example, if you really enjoy the client facing part of your role, and you have a colleague who really enjoys the financial and spreadsheet part of the role why not swap so you do more of the client work and she does more of the financial elements?
  • Look for a theme – outside work what do you love doing? See how you can incorporate it into work or lead you to consider work in that area. For example, if you are someone who loves researching topics and maybe you’re a bit of a secret ‘geek’ on certain subjects then see how you can take on a project involving in depth research, or talk to your boss about how you can use this skill more at work.
  • Ask for some feedback about what other people (at work and at home) love about you and if their comments chime then consider whether you are using this to the full currently. For example, if they love your flair and creativity check whether your  job challenges you creatively. Consider what you could do to allow your creative side to flourish more.
  • Love yourself too – start developing a plan to change your job . Taking control,even if you feel you are stuck and can’t leave, will help you manage some of the emotions of frustration and despondency. Really explore how and if you can leave – staying in something you hate is riskier than trying something new.

So this St Valentine’s Day enjoy the flowers and chocolates but also make a little time to find some love for you and your career.

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