Change and when it’s needed

change

It’s coming up to me having been in my current job for 4 months, and it’s flown by, but it’s also starting to feel a little dull and repetitive. So the thing that’s on my mind at the moment is how do I know when to move on? Do I need to make more effort in my current position to get more out of it, or is it simply and genuinely not right for me and it’s ok to try something else?

In a lot of aspects of my life I don’t cope well with change. Despite recognising that I’m emotional and my emotions will pass, in the moment I still panic and regret and question my choices. However when it comes to jobs (well, my so far fairly limited experience of jobs through studying, part-time work, unpaid internships and my current role), change is everything. I always want something new – new work environment, new colleagues, new tasks, new goals, new experiences.

So I either hate change or I love change and there’s not very much in the middle. Gradual change has to be best – small steps towards a bigger goal. I need to find a balance.

I received some good advice from a blogger called Ryan Balboa almost three months ago:

One of my mentor managers at where I used to work suggested that I keep a list of the top 10 things that were important to me in my life and career, with a ‘satisfaction scale’ ranging from 1-10 next to them.

Every 6 months (roughly when performance reviews and stuff were) she’d get me to fill out the list, and compare the list I filled out from last time. I find that it really put things into perspective for me, and framed my emotions in a more objective, logical way (btw, it also helped me convince myself logically that it was time to move on).

So that’s exactly what I did, and at this relatively early stage of my career I think a review every three months works pretty well, so I’ve just updated my numbers. It’s not good news. Most of the numbers have gone down, so now I’m trying to work out whether I should wait until I’ve had an unusually good day at work to fill it out again, or to trust that, at least relative to my last numbers, this is indicating some sort of change is needed (don’t worry, I’m not planning on quitting my job just yet, but currently my 6-months-from-now plan is to find something new to move on to).

changecomplainIt feels as though being in any job for less than 12 months shows nothing more than a lack of commitment, yet from the start I knew this job wasn’t quite for me. It’s a tough one, but I don’t do settling so it’s going to need some serious thought.

The question seems to be:

Do I want change for the sake of change, or because I feel there’s little room for growth in my current role and I want to keep experimenting and growing?

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What’s blogging all about?

I was more than a little surprised to find the following, rather unfriendly and cryptic, comment in my inbox a few days ago. I was in two minds about sharing it but it’s brought up a couple of things I’d like to discuss, so here it is:

Forget the blog post. I won’t blow smoke in your face and say I’m so glad that I read your post. What I will say is that people who go by a pseudonym annoy me. No name, no way to connect on LinkedIn or follow on Twitter. As well, your subtitle is a bit self-defeating and not a good way to start the branding process. None of this would have to be said in the form of a reply if I knew who you are and how to contact you; because I would like to offer a bit of professional advice. Namely, I’m not the only professional old-timer who is going to see your talented prose but wonder, “Are you for real?” So, two things that piss me off: one) you are a talented writer, yet immature; two) I don’t know how to contact you to tell you this in front of others who are to follow your writing, including my much respected pen pal, Rebecca. Sorry if this offends you, Rebecca. Bob McIntosh http://www.linkedin.com/in/bobmcintosh1

Assault on the anonymous

I choose to blog anonymously for two main reasons:

1. I feel that it helps me to be more honest in my writing

2. I’d rather my current and potential employers didn’t come across my confused ramblings

I don’t write this blog as any form of self-promotion or marketing. I write it for myself, to help me to explore career ideas and thoughts and to share these with others, and to enable me to read the thoughts and ideas of others who I can learn from. Being anonymous allows me to do this completely freely.

A supportive community?

Until I received the comment above I was pleased to be part of what I’d so far found to be a welcoming and supportive community of like-minded people. To me blogging isn’t about always agreeing with others’ views, but it is about being constructive and supportive.

I’d love to hear your views:

– How do you feel about anonymous bloggers like myself?

– What’s blogging all about for you?

Which would you regret more?

what ifYou regret more the things you didn’t do than the things you did. No, really, you do.

It’s taken me a very long time to even begin to accept this.

Let me give you an example. When I was offered a paid internship that I was really unsure about taking, one of the first things I asked myself – and one of the first things many others asked me when discussing my dilemma – was which choice would I regret more?

Having worked, unpaid, for the company, I knew lots of the good things about them, but also lots of things I didn’t like so much. I’m very much drawn to variety and new things; I’m bad at commitment. And my expectations for a first job were too high.

I tried to picture myself in the role, and rightly or wrongly felt that I would regret taking on something which I felt so very little enthusiasm for. I knew the company was looking for someone to stay on after the internship and I didn’t want to take the position fully intending to leave after the three months and to be actively looking for other opportunities while in the role. I thought I would feel guilty. I thought that would be taking advantage. Except that’s what opportunities are there for – taking advantage of.

Yes, looking back my thinking didn’t make much sense. Even now I have to remind myself that companies don’t have feelings. You can start a job and quit in a month. It’s about you, not them. And you know what else, I might have changed my mind. I might even have grown to like it – first impressions can be wrong. But let’s keep this balanced, intuition can also be pretty accurate, it might not have worked out. But that’s not the point I’m trying to make here.

I turned it around in my head and asked myself – would I regret more taking something with so little conviction, or would I regret more not taking a risk to continue to look for something better. Of course this is rubbish – I could have worked and searched.

We regret more the things we don’t do than the things we do, because it’s the not knowing that drives us crazy, not making a mistake. We can deal with mistakes because we can learn lots from them. All we can learn from ‘what ifs’ is next time,  just give it a go.

Not so great expectations

I was looking through some old school reports the other day. Back at school the teachers knew and supported everyone, and had high hopes for many of those they taught, but from university onwards each student becomes more and more anonymous.

clowntvweather

Well it would certainly be a conversation starter…

My tutor at university was great, I remember him telling me that I could do anything I wanted when I left. Nothing at all to do with my intelligence – one of his suggestions was joining the circus and another was becoming a weather girl! I think he was really just trying to say ‘the world is your oyster’.

Then you start applying for jobs and you realise just how big a pond you’re in, and just how small a fish you really are. And even once you’ve got that first job, there’s always that niggling feeling – is this really it? Can’t I do something better than this? Aren’t I destined to do something more meaningful?

And it begins to feel like you’re not living up to your potential. All of that talk of becoming an artist, a doctor, a teacher – whatever good solid, or even dream, job you thought you might end up with when you’d finished your education – has gone out the window, and worst of all, no-one really seems to care what you do or become anymore. You’re told you’re lucky to have any job in this economic climate, that it’ll ‘work out eventually’, that no-one really knows what they want to do.

Those dreams of doing amazing things, of travelling, of excitement, of adventure… “Oh yeah, you want to do that? Sure, you do that one day,” they say. Well I want to remind everyone, and myself, that we’re not here to live up to other people’s expectations of us; we’re here to live up to our own expectations for ourselves, so we better make them high.

pacific-blue-eye-really-is-a-small-fish-in-a-big-pond

Being a small fish in a big pond doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

Sitting in the park

parkbenchThis might well be the longest I’ve gone without writing a blog post since I started – where does the time go?!

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the idea of fate. And I’ve come to the conclusion that believing things are just ‘meant to be’ is a really positive way of thinking and living. If you don’t accept things that come your way then you’re just left fighting against them.

I’m not sure that I really believe in destiny or fate, but I do believe in believing that everything will work out in the end. Hope is absolutely everything, and I can’t even imagine what it must be like to lose all hope. You have to believe that something better is around the corner when things aren’t so great, or you’d just stop trying, and to get anything really worthwhile out of life takes effort.

If it’s meant to be, it will be. If it’s not meant to be, it’s because there’s something better out there.

I’m starting to appreciate the fact that my job is actually a pretty good starter job. Life’s not a race and I’m holding on to my dreams and ideals, but right now I feel like maybe things are on track and where they’re ‘meant to be’. I’m finally beginning to let go of the regret I was holding about past opportunities and whether I made the right choices. I did what I thought was right at the time and that’s all that matters. Those things simply weren’t meant to be.

I’ve also done a little reading up on mindfulness – the practice of being fully in the moment here and now. It’s really calming and helps me to feel in control. Essentially (from my limited reading on the subject!) it’s a case of paying attention to each individual sense and appreciating them all without judging. I’ve been noticing the birds singing more than I might usually, and not getting so annoyed at music and chattering on the train. I’m not talking about anything spiritual or religious, just relaxation and acceptance – give it a try!

10 things I like about my job

chickenlovesjobI came across this post: Ten things I love about my job, a while ago and have kept meaning to write my own list. I think it’s something everyone should do. The list can include anything, even the small things, and it’s a great way to appreciate what you have.

I may not love my job but I certainly don’t hate it, in fact I’ve realised it’s actually a lot better than I give it credit for!

10 good things about my job:

  1. I get two computer screens (or is this pretty standard in modern offices?! Either way it’s great)
  2. I work in a nice building in a nice part of town
  3. It’s 5 minutes from the train station, making my commute pretty easy
  4. I get to hear about lots of interesting jobs from people who love what they do
  5. My work (hopefully) helps to inspire and encourage young people
  6. I often learn new things and interesting facts
  7. I now know more about WordPress (use it a lot at work)
  8. It’s more of an entrepreneurial rather than a corporate company
  9. My colleagues all like their jobs making it a positive place to work
  10. As my first proper job, it’s helping me to work out what I like and don’t like and what I want to do next

It’s easy to focus so much on ‘something better’ that you don’t appreciate what you currently have. I’m very guilty of this, and I’m realising that there has to be a balance between having long term goals and ambitions and working towards those, and living in the moment – allowing myself to fully appreciate my current job and situation as a good thing at this time.

Well, it pays the bills, doesn’t it

I hate that phrase. I hate what it stands for: giving up, letting go of dreams, accepting the general opinion in society that a job’s a job and who is anyone to look for something more meaningful.

Of course temporarily it can be true and necessary, but if you’ve been using that phrase for more than 6 months I’d say you need to seriously consider how you’re spending your time. Life IS short – it’s a total cliché but completely true. I understand that not everyone has the luxury of spending time and thought finding work that they enjoy, but I feel that those of us who do owe it everyone else to take advantage of this luxury.

I don’t hate my job. It does pay the bills but that’s not why I’m doing it (I realise I’m extremely lucky that I don’t have to worry too much about money at this point in my life, but I’m not a big spender and really do believe we could all live happily on a lot less money than we think we need). I’m doing it because it relates to my interests and because it’s really good experience. My colleagues are also far from hating their jobs and it’s really not a bad place to work. It’s nowhere near perfect but it does a heck of a lot more than just pay the bills.

Part of my work involves hearing from others who are passionate about what they do, and it’s really inspiring. It makes me want to work hard to find something that I really love. It shows that there are lots of people out there who genuinely have found work that they love to do – and these people aren’t doing extraordinary jobs. While one person’s perfect career may be as a doctor, someone else could be just as happy as a researcher in a lab, a teacher, engineer or hairdresser. One person’s dream job is another person’s nightmare, and it’s worth remembering that.

thethoughtstevejobs– – –

Because I love quotes, and because these are some great and important ones from a man who was both highly successful and also very happy in his career and life, I want to leave you with these from Steve Jobs:

Find what you love; don’t settle

Remember you are going to die

Follow your heart and intuition – they somehow know what you want to become

Stay hungry, stay foolish

– – –

I don’t want to do something that simply pays the bills, that’s ‘good enough’, that’s expected or respectable. I want to do something because I love it, and because I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

That’s got to be worth searching for, however long it takes.