Jumping Ship or Jumping In: Making a Job Work for You

Making a Job Work For You

You’ve officially designated your lunch hour–and every other hour–as Surfing Job Board Time. You’ve had it with your current gig. The fluorescent light is blinding you on a daily basis, you can’t stand your boss, and you’re sick of trying to beat your all-time-high-score on Solitaire during the dreary three-month-long downtime. So the question is, how can you be sure to be making a job work for you?

Surfing a job board during your downtime is a piece of cake. You imagine yourself in these dream job descriptions in a much happier place: a peaceful work environment where coworkers always see eye-to-eye; an office where heated political discussions and awkward relationship dramas never unfold; a job where you move your bed into your office just so you never have to leave.

It’s easy to surf for jobs. The actual application, interviewing, and transition periods are not as easy. Writing a resume that gets you noticed (in the right way), putting your best foot forward in an interview, and settling into your new gig each pose their own challenges.

So before you wildly hit every “Submit Resume Here” button, let’s investigate why you want to leave your current gig so that you don’t wind up right back where you started from.

I Hate My Boss

Do you honestly think that Tattoo from Fantasy Island really liked taking orders from Mr. Roarke? I’m sure that he dug working on a tropical island but the walkie-talkie order-taking part was a drag. Lesson: every job has its pros and cons.

You hate working for your boss. She’s as warm as an Ice Queen. The work you’re doing couldn’t entertain a monkey. Are there other aspects of the job that could maybe be your version of Fantasy Island? This might take some soul searching and innovative thinking. Maybe your job offers you flexibility with your hours. If you have children, freelance on the side, or just enjoy being home before dark, that is the equivalent of Tattoo’s miles of lush green grass, beautiful women, and big tips.

Think about the parts of your humdrum nine-to-fiver that support your lifestyle. You might find there are more benefits to staying rather than going.

I’m Bored

Boredom, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. You know you’re bored at work if your mouse-hand is cramping at 2:00 in the afternoon from web surfing. Come on, you deserve more than that!

Curing job boredom is up to you. Career advancement and job challenges are not served up in the company cafeteria. If your eyes are turning red from reading The Onion, it’s time to talk to your boss. If you’re saying, “Sharon, I can’t talk to my boss,” then it’s time to turn inward and think what you can do for, well, you.

Think back to your job interview. Remember all those snazzy attributes you proudly promised to bring to the table? What happened? Try and make getting up and driving to work every day worth it by giving it your all.

Volunteer for extra assignments or conjure up new ways to make a positive contribution. If you love to write, but you find yourself proofreading, think of departmental newsletters or special-interest groups that could use your talents.

Think about career possibilities offered with your current gig. What about transferring to another department? Are there any great networking opportunities within your organization? Try to reap the most of your current situation by actively orchestrating change and career advancement instead of just hanging out waiting for things to change. You’ll know if you’ve tapped your resources dry…and then it’s time to move on.

Making the Jump

Once you’ve looked internally, volunteered for special projects, and offered help beyond the normal call of duty–and you’re still bored and miserable– it’s time to start looking. But make the days that you’re still working at your current gig worth it. You’ll feel satisfied for not wasting away eight hours of your day. Maintain your cool, professional demeanor. Don’t throw away the time you’ve invested in your current job with mysterious absences for job interviews, or a slacker attitude. Even though you don’t care much what your boss thinks of you now, a good review will do far more for your career than a bad review. Don’t let a surly attitude prevent you from
reaching your nirvana-of-a-job.

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