Do you ever catch yourself saying, “My job isn’t so bad” or “I’m being ungrateful”?
I read the list of 9 Warning Signs You’re Settling For Less In Your Career in the Forbes article and I’m pretty sure I have said every single one of them during my career. What can we do when we are settling for less and want more in our career? I have three steps you can take when you’re ready to stop settling in your career.
I was coaching a client recently who had outgrown her toxic workplace. She spent two years telling herself that she should be thankful that this employer hired her at a time when she was escaping an abusive marriage and struggling to land on her feet. She was desperate to land a job with insurance benefits before the divorce was final. Within the first two weeks of her new job, she knew the position wasn’t a fit for her, yet she felt trapped. How could she leave now? She had two little ones to provide for and, for the first time in her life, she was solely responsible for them. She stayed.
Step 1: Recognize there is more to life
One day, she decided there must be more to life than working in a life-consuming job with a toxic boss. Her longing for more led her to call me. As we talked, my client shared that every single job she’s taken has been the wrong one for her and she knew it right away. This time, she wanted to weed out the wrong positions for her before she accepted one. We entered into a six-month coaching agreement and got to work.
Step 2: Recognize you are in control
We talked through some of the ways she evaluated positions in the past. She always went for the biggest title and dollar amount. She spent no time asking about the company’s values, how they live out their values or how they handle contrarian viewpoints. The truth is, she shared, she didn’t feel like she really had the power to flip the table and interview her future employer, because she thought she should just be grateful that they extended an interview to her. Through coaching, she was able to see that she was in the driver’s seat and had a choice about where she would work. She no longer had to take the first thing that came her way and she could interview prospective employers, just like they were interviewing her.
This lesson was actually very powerful for her and I remember the message she sent me one day when she turned down a position. She said the way the interview team talked with each other did not sit well with her and she wouldn’t want them talking to her that way, so she sent an email to them withdrawing her candidacy. For the first time in her life, she felt in control of her future.
Step 3: Recognize who you want to be
Eventually, she landed the perfect position for her. Her excitement was eclipsed by the fear upon the realization that she needed to break the news to her boss. He was so condescending and she feared he would tear her apart, yet she knew she had to tell him. We coached through when she would tell her boss and how. We also coached through who she would be during the remaining weeks she worked for her boss. While the conversation went as poorly as she expected and her boss sent a less-than professional email to the organization about her departure, my client remembered that she had outgrown the toxic workplace, held her head high and remained the consummate professional she was.
She’s now two months into her new role and she loves it. She told me that the first two weeks were hard as she kept waiting for the “shoe to drop” and it never did. For the first time in her life, she picked the position because it was the right fit for her.