Do you dread getting up and going to work every day?
1. Begin focusing on what you want instead of how much you want to escape. When you find yourself sharing the latest horror story, stop in mid-sentence and say, “What I want to have is…”
2. Create an image that describes you in your job.
Are you on a riverbank with no way to get to the other side? Lost in a jungle? Poking through a thorny hedge? When you get comfortable with the image, begin visualizing a change in the obstacle. Imagine building a bridge across the river or finding a path in the forest. Don’t force the image or the change. When you’re ready it will come.
3. Think of developing skills, not serving time.
Take every course that’s offered and focus on skills that can lay a foundation for your own business or next job. Can you learn HTML or PowerPoint? Can you use some evenings, weekends and lunch hours to solicit some free lance gigs?
4. Focus on satisfactory, not superior performance. Use the time difference to build your new life. People often say, “I can’t do anything — I work ten hours a day!”
If you are firing yourself or expecting to be fired, your job is finding a new job. Be ethical: you owe your company the minimum you need to earn your salary.” But don’t be surprised if you start to accomplish more than ever and find yourself getting promoted.
5. Identify the conflict you want to escape. Dishonesty? Corporate greed? Stupidity? Hypocrisy? Allow yourself to wonder if these qualities are mirrored in your own life — or even in your mind. If everyone around you seems dishonest, are you being dishonest with yourself? With others? After you resolve your own conflict, you may find the workplace has changed or you have been catapulted into a new, more satisfying life.
6. Put on your shield and armor when you enter your workplace. Everyone should learn how to create a psychic shield. Imagine that you are surrounded by an outer shell that is made of a solid material — so strong that nothing can get through to hurt you. Some people prefer to imagine a protective golden light, but I think the solid shield is stronger. Take two or three minutes to put on your shield, every day, before you enter the workplace.
7. Give yourself a gift every day — a splurge of time or sensual taste buds. Read a book, talk to a friend, eat your favorite food. Don’t deaden your senses with alcohol (although if you’re a wine connoisseur, your special wine can be a gift) or spend big bucks at the mall. Think simple.
8. Find at least one thing in your life to appreciate: the softness of your cat’s fur, the winter sky, the spontaneous hug from a friend. Appreciate as much as possible about your job: the money, the view from the window, the new computer, friendly conversations with the guy down the hall. Savor the experience. Appreciation is the engine that attracts good things into your life.
9. Tune in to your intuition before deciding what to do next. Meditate and listen to the world around you. The saying “frying pan into the fire” is real. If your goals and desires do not come from a secure place within yourself, you will find yourself paying undue attention to wet blankets (“If you quit you’ll never get another job”) and false friends (“Just quit! Move to Tahiti! You won’t starve!”). Sometimes the same “advisor” proposes both ideas in the same week. A good coach or counselor will give you confidence in your own intuition, not impose their views of what you should do now.
10. Write this down somewhere: After you’ve left — and you will — all that time will seem to have gone in the blink of an eye. You will have trouble remembering what bothered you so much. The rest of your life will still be ahead of you.
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The truth is, most of us spend more time deciding which car to buy than investigating career decisions. (I’m the same way, most of the time.) There’s a good reason. We don’t have simple checklists for quantifiable attributes, such as “gas mileage” or “frequency of repair.” So we’re often in the position of making a decision about how to make the decision.
Based on my experience as a career changer and career consultant, I’ve put together some starting points in this free ebook. You can download here immediately at
In her book What To Do With the Rest of Your Life, Robin Ryan identifies 10 career killers. Today we’ll look at two and explore a third, all related to self-presentation.
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Killer #1: Wait to be noticed. Expect that you’ll be recognized if you do good work, so don’t announce your successes.You just finished a degree, won an award and maybe got a paper published. Have you shared your news with those who have the power to reward you?
Positive colleague and bosses want to hear about your successes. If their response is lack of interest or even jealousy, you’re seeing red flags all over the place.
And if you’re a solo-preneur, share triumphs with customers and clients. They want to know they’re dealing with a winner.
Killer #2: Demand credit you don’t deserve. Claim credit for the success of others. Brag about skills and talents beyond what you have.
These days, most of us work in a spotlight. It’s too easy to be exposed for inauthentic self-promotion. Not worth the risk, in my opinion.
Killer #3: Get noticed for the wrong reasons. Share potentially damaging personal information about yourself.
Last weekend I saw the movie Notes on a Scandal, an outrageous example of inappropriate self-disclosures and weak boundaries. With coworkers and colleagues, you’re always “on.”
Even experienced professionals can drop their guard and share personal information when they’re feeling stressed and/or lonely. We’re most vulnerable right after a major move or career change. (Did you see the movie Notes on a Scandal? An outrageous example of confiding in the wrong person, among other things.)
During a career change or other transition, most people need 2 kinds of support: personal and informational. Personal support –from family and close friends — gives you a safe place to talk about feelings. Informational support – from professional colleagues, mentors and consultants – provides perspective: you get to figure out what’s really going on.
Self-presentation can be a great career challenge for anyone. Ultimately, in my experience, it’s a combination of judgment and support. My own report, Bragging 101: Promote Yourself With Professionalism, is based on the idea that brag is not a 4-letter word – if you do it the right way!