We’ve all had days when we’ve thought to ourselves, ‘I work with a bunch of idiots…what am I doing here?’ Luckily, those feelings usually pass and we wake up to a better day.For others, those thoughts come on a daily, if not hourly, basis. In fact, what inspired me to write this post was hearing several different people say basically this same thing to me within the space of a few hours. If this describes the situation you are in, here are some things to consider:
– How bad is this situation…really. Think about what the real issues are. Is it the people themselves? The work environment? The combination of people? The tasks you are assigned? The hours? The pay? Do a rational assessment of what makes you crazy and think about whether or not you can change any of those circumstances. Many times it’s all in the way you look at a situation that will determine whether or not it is worth enduring.
– Can you afford to make a change? This is a very difficult economic time for many. The job market is soft, the housing market is in the dumpster, and salaries are stagnating. All of these factors affect people’s decisions on whether or not they want to stay in their current positions. In fact, maybe some of those people who are driving you crazy also wish they could leave. But before you make any decision, you will have to determine whether you need to have another job lined up prior to leaving, whether you can sell your home (if you plan to relocate) and whether you will be able to start somewhere else at a comparable salary. The financial considerations may or may not give you the go ahead.
– What needs to happen for you to make a change? In other words, how bad does it have to get before I have no choice but to leave? Think about your own situation, set some low-end benchmarks, create an exit plan and then stick to it. For instance, you could say if XY&Z don’t change by December, I will start looking for a new job in January. Only you can determine what XY&Z are. And most likely they aren’t going to happen on their own. Another realization you should make early on in this process is that nothing is going to change without action on your part.
– Is there someone (anyone) you can talk to about it? Do you have a co-worker you can trust? Someone who knows the situation from the inside who can listen and perhaps give suggestions? Do you have a mentor in the company? Mentors can be wonderful cheerleaders in times of frustration and anxiety. In addition to someone inside the company, you should seek counsel from a trusted advisor outside the company. This person can give you an objective outsider’s view and feedback on your assessment of the situation. Perhaps they can also offer viable solutions that you had not considered.
– What’s the payoff if you stay? When you hate to get up and go to work in the morning, the thought of a great retirement package 30 years down the road isn’t all that enticing. In your planning process, make sure to consider what you will be leaving behind if you decide to go. What kind of unique benefits do you have, not just monetary, but lifestyle. Is your dog allowed to come to the office? Can you work from home a day or two a week? Do you get tuition benefits that might earn you a degree and launch you into another career? Think about and weigh the pluses of your situation (if there are any).
– Deal Breakers. If you are being asked or pressured to become involved in dangerous, unethical or illegal activities, or a combination thereof, you probably should move quickly to find other employment. The exception would be if said dangerous or illegal activities could be reported to the highest levels in your firm without repercussion. That being said, protect yourself as best you can and determine an exit strategy.
There are any number of situations that will make you hate your job and the people you work with. I can say this because I have been in jobs where I thought I would lose my mind if I had to sit there one more day. Luckily that has not been the case for me in several years. However, I know how depressing it can become when every day is a struggle and you can’t see light at the end of the tunnel.
If you determine that your situation is unbearable, just don’t waste too much time treading water. It’s not good for your health, in any sense of the word.
The highlight of attending this past weeks Mirror Awards,was when I snapped this picture of Anthony Rotolo, Social Media Strategist for Syracuse University, meeting Biz Stone, founder of Twitter. Biz was graciously posing for photographs after the luncheon ended and then slipped into the crowds of Manhattan unnoticed. The man who helped changed the world was unassisted and unable to hail a cab in front of The Plaza.
One more thing of note. The AT&T coverage in New York City is notoriously awful, and proved itself again to be so during the Mirror Awards. An award for Twitter, and we were unable to Tweet.
There is a huge Apple store right across the street from The Plaza too. And guess, what — my phone said ‘no network coverage’ right there in front of the home of the iPhone & iPad.
Has another year really gone by so quickly? This post first appeared on May 14, 2010, but the advice still applies to 2011 grads. If you contributed in 2010 and would like to update your advice, tweet at me using #Advice4Grads or leave your comment here. Thanks again to everyone who contributed last year and best of luck to the Class of 2011!
The class of 2010 is graduating on Sunday. In their honor and in the spirit of true alumni networking, I asked many of the alums I interact with on Twitter to tweet me their best career advice for 2010 grads, in 140 characters or less.
I got a great response and each is a little bit different. Some of the alums couldn’t stop at just one, and I included them all. Us twitter folks are very good at writing concisely, and that is evident as you read through these snippets of advice. Obviously, 140 characters of advice is not going to land you a job, but it can help you tweak what you are doing in your job search or how you behave in the workplace, to make that experience more successful.
Instead of providing the names, grad years and majors of these alums, I offer their twitter handles. If you are interested in hearing more of what they have to say, follow them on Twitter; the vast majority have a link on their bio to a LinkedIn profile, website or blog.
You will also see a couple of longer bits here from a couple of alums who e-mailed me their advice, and a few more from some Non-SU alums, but nonetheless great people who I know from Twitter and wanted to help out.
Many thanks to all my Twitter friends who contributed to make this possible! Many of the alums quoted here I have met on campus or at one of the SUccess in the City events, or spoken with on the phone. Some I only know through Twitter. All are wonderfully giving people who wanted to share what they have learned with you. I would love to have your feedback in the comments section ~ let me know what your favorite bit of advice is and why. (you’ll probably be able to guess what my favorite is 🙂