Is a Career Reinvention in Your Future?
As a consultant who helps businesses become more profitable by leveraging the relationships they have with their employees — and as a previously miserable employee — I know how challenging it is to have employees in the wrong role, at the wrong company and managed by the wrong supervisor.
From your perspective as an employee, being in the wrong company, the wrong role and/or managed by the wrong supervisor is no fun at all and from the employer’s perspective it’s expensive and potentially disastrous. A misalignment between employee and employer is also the cause of unnecessary stress and health issues on behalf of the employee while also being a cause of lower productivity and profitability for the employer and nobody wants that!
Wearing my miserable employee hat for a moment, the reason I was miserable was that I was “stuck” in that job. There were no other comparable jobs that paid as well in my community and as a single Mom I needed a well paying job that also had regular hours.
Feedback and recognition — two elements needed for employee engagement were lacking. I did not have one performance evaluation in the 9 years I worked for the company — although I was suspended on my birthday once — I won’t forget that day!
I did not have any opportunities for advancement (perhaps it was my attitude 😉 — another driver of employee engagement (ugh)..
… and I had no idea what the mission or the vision was for the company and I certainly didn’t know how my role fit in — and I had a few roles within the company over those 9 years.
My managers didn’t manage — I really don’t know what they did — and my supervisors ranged from being great to downright horrible.
My trust in the abilities of senior executives was lacking (trust is another driver of employee engagement!) because the executives gave absolutely no indication that they cared about anything other than wheeling and dealing — which resulted in huge bonuses on top of their salaries. I never saw an executive — ever — in my 9 years there, so they had no clue what was really going on “in the field”…
… And then there was the “plan” — the strategy for efficiency which changed like the wind — first we centralized, then we decentralized then the focus was back to centralization — which was my fortunate “out” including a severance package.
I suspect many people who read this Career Reinvention blog post can find themselves nodding their heads in agreement to what is happening in their world.
If you are one of those people who are miserable at work too and you are ready for a career reinvention — which is in the best interest of both you and your employer — allow me to offer you a suggestion or two:
- Know what you want. What do you want for your life? What is your ideal lifestyle? What does your ideal day look like? Your ideal week look like? Who are you working with? What are you doing? What are you feeling? Where do you live? What are your clothes like? Do you have children and if so, where do they go to school, who do they hang out with, what are their goals for their life? Become very clear on what YOU want.
- Figure out your gap. The role of every consultant, marketer and salesperson is to figure out where the “ideal customer” or “prospect” is now compared to where they want to be and then they propose the bridge over the gap. For your career, where are you now? Where do you want to be (see question #1)? How do you close the gap?
- Create your plan. Using what you’ve uncovered in the first two steps, how are you going to close your gap — realistically — how will you fit in the training, mentoring and experience you need? Are you able to take a leap right now or do you need to be more conservative and methodical?
- Treat your career like a business. Yes, a business — you are the CEO of “Brand You” — the strategist, the sales person, the service person and the cheerleader for your career.
- If you intend to stay with the same company but in a different role — do the same “gap analysis” you did with your career but instead do it for the company and present it to them.
- If you see a company you’d like to work with, connect with people inside of the organization — LinkedIn is a great place — to find out what it’s like to work at that company. Be friendly, be transparent and be honest about why you are contacting people and ask for their opinion. Realize that the person you contact won’t open up to a complete stranger on the first contact, so tread slowly and carefully. See if you can connect with the person on Skype or a Google Hangout — so they can get a sense of who you are. Have specific questions — not an interrogation — but questions to help you determine if this organization is a better fit for you. Questions framed well are obviously better. Questions such as “It’s really important to me that I have the freedom to _______, is this something that happens at XYZ company?” The more people you can speak to, the better — after all, every person has his / her own “stuff” going on too.
- If you were a sales person, what would you sell to the company to make it better? (BTW, you ARE a salesperson!)
- If you were a consultant, how would you improve the business? (BTW, you ARE a consultant — you know ways to make a business better!)
- Create a business case and a sales pitch and pitch yourself as the one and only specialist who should be considered for this role. Be memorable (in a good way!). Note that you should have done some “sleuthing” before this pitch — find the hiring manager on social media (not the recruiting person) and make note of what he/she shares. What is his/her name (use it!)? Is he/she active in any charities? Does he/she participate in sports? The arts?
- When you get the interview — mix it up. Without being obnoxious, ensure that you have the opportunity to pitch your plan. Tell the hiring manager why you requested the meeting — remember you did request it when you created your pitch — and then have a conversation. You will likely have to humour the “usual” hiring questions, however, it’s also important that you show the research you’ve done and also interview the hiring manager. You want to be sure that you can work for this person, in this role at this company in a way that gets you to that ideal life / lifestyle you imagined.
- Show them that you want it — in this world of computerized resume / cover letter scanners and other “non-humanized” recruiting, show the person you want to work with that you have done your homework and why they should hire you — even if there is no current job posting for what you want. Your passion and your resourcefulness will get you places that you can never imagine.
- Don’t give up — in any sales role it usually takes multiple pitches in different ways to close a sale. Don’t give up if the response is not positive on the first try. Remember, this is what YOU want — it’s coming from your ideal lifestyle, your dream life. If this is what you truly want — the perfect company for you and the perfect role for you — your tenacity will make you memorable and remarkable.
- While you are not giving up — find ways to continually improve. Would writing an article — or better yet — a book help you? Would appearing on an expert panel? Would volunteering for a non-profit in a role similar to the one you want, give you more experience? Would taking a course give you that little “oomph” you were missing?
What you focus on expands — a brilliant lesson I learned from my mentor years ago. So focus on this ideal lifestyle, this ideal life you want. Make decisions based on this “dream” and never, ever give up.
As you go through your career reinvention plan, remind yourself that leaving a job that makes you unhappy is in your best interest, the best interest of your loved ones (no-one wants to live with someone who is miserable!) and of course, you are doing your current employer a favour by “releasing the job” for someone better suited. (Full disclosure — I say the same to employers — release the employee so they can find a better fit for themselves — but doesn’t it sound a whole lot better for you to “release the job for someone else”?!)
On a scale from 1 – 10, how willing are you to take these steps to get out of the job you don’t like / want and to reinvent your career? (btw, if you are finding deep resistance, check out the blog post on the Quadruplets of Discontent and see which one is showing up for you.)
Do you need a career reinvention?
Share your thoughts below in the comments …