Is the grass greener?

Is the grass greener? Or are you just stuck in a career rut?

When things are cruising along seamlessly or not filled with drama, as people, we start to think maybe I am in a rut? Are things supposed to come so easily? Does this mean I am missing out on something?

We might be envious of what a fellow co-worker has done in moving into a fabulous new role that seems perfect. In this digital world, we have a sneak-peak into other people’s lives so we might think they have the perfect life or situation but that is not necessarily the case.

We are also trained to continuously want more and to strive for bigger and better. Bigger house, newer car, better job – which then leads to wanting more because we think that is what we need. We believe the grass is greener on the other side of the fence however we can’t really see that grass, we are simply making an assumption it is better.

That is what FOMO is all about – that fear of missing out on something we think we should have. This also applies to our careers.

If you are not sure if you are just in a career rut, try asking yourselves these questions:

  • Has something happened recently to trigger these feelings in you?
  • Has a co-worker left to go to a better role (or what you perceive to be better)
  • Are you generally happy in your job?
  • Do you love the company you work for and still enjoy the work you do?
  • Do you feel fulfilled by the work you do?

If you answer yes to most of these perhaps you are just feeling envious of someone else and what they have, rather than you not enjoying your role.

If you feel like you are in a career rut, try these exercises:

  1. Get inspired –Think about who you look up to professionally. This could be someone that you know or someone that is a thought leader. This will be different for everyone. What is it about them that inspires you? If it is someone you know, spend time with them and allow yourself to get inspired.
  2. Meet new people – Learning and growing from people outside your normal day to day world is a great way to positively impact your career. Broadening your scope and connections with people from outside your normal circle opens up new learning opportunities.
  3. Find a mentor – A mentor can be a great person to look up to and help you along your career path. They can provide advice, direction and inspiration to keep moving forward in your career.
  4. Join a mastermind group – Benefit from the collective intelligence of others by joining a mastermind or peer to peer group, where you learn from each other and navigate through business challenges together. Ensure you find one that suits your situation and the level of conversations you need to have.
  5. Hire a coach – If you still don’t feel inspired, perhaps it’s time for a complete career change. A coach can help you successfully navigates the process. (Just make sure you do your research and hire the right one!).

Remember, you are in control of how you feel about your career. Feeling like you’re in a rut can negatively impact your mood and your life outside of the office. It’s important to adjust your mindset and take control.

How to resign in style

You’ve come to the decision that it is time to move on. Now what?

How do you tell your boss that you are leaving? It is never a fun conversation to have, no matter how good your relationship is with them. What you don’t want to do is text your boss your resignation on Friday afternoon, after having too many drinks. (it’s been done many times before).

Instead, you want to approach it as you would a task in your role – professionally and respectfully. Here are some helpful hints to ease the stress and anxiety and help you make the transition in a positive way:

  • Ideally, you should have a conversation in person. Sounds straight forward but you would be surprised by how many don’t have the respect to do this.
  • Email your boss in advance to set up a time to talk.
  • Be a bit vague in that initial email simply requesting a time to discuss a current matter.
  • Meet in a quiet space where you won’t get interrupted. You could even suggest you go and have a coffee in a local café.
  • Don’t walk in with an envelope in your hand. If you do have a resignation letter, put it in your bag or compendium. The envelope will trigger big alarms bells with your boss and could steer the conversation away from what you wanted it to be.
  • In the meeting, start with your agenda item then steer the conversation towards your future with the company.
  • Start out by thanking them for the training they have given you, the opportunity to work with great people, and anything else you’re grateful for.
  • Then say you’ve found a perfect fit for where you are in your career, and as much as you’ve enjoyed working with them, you’re moving on.
  • Give credit to specific members of your team you’ve enjoyed working with including your boss.
  • Reassure your boss that it is not personal and that your decision is about your needs in your career (even if your boss is the reason why you’re leaving).

The key thing to remember is not to burn your bridges. Especially if your new position is in the same industry or city. Your new boss might even know your old boss which could be awkward. Resign in style and at the very least you will feel good about yourself knowing you took the high road and did the right thing.

How to minimise the impact of a job move

There are some things in life that are very stressful and changing jobs is near the top of that list.  Quite often we move from optimism to stress as we pass the initial excitement of winning the role, to the reality of when it comes time to moving on.

Failing to recognise and manage your own stress levels around this can impact you so take note of how you are feeling and remember that a bit of emotional fortitude is required at this time.

Here are some tips to help make the transition smoother:

  1. Leave well – Leave on good terms with your boss and co-workers. When you tell people, you are leaving some might get upset, jealous and downright rude so be prepared for the fact that not everyone might be happy for you.Despite that, make sure you do the work required in your notice period, don’t slack off, don’t gossip about co-workers, don’t have a bad attitude and stay positive with clients. Take the high road and don’t burn bridges as you never know when that co-worker or old boss may turn up in the future. You want them to remember you fondly as a good employee that they would hire again.
  1. Don’t forget to remove your personal possessions – Tidy up your workspace, remove personal items and clean your desk. (you know cleaners never do that properly). Make your space inviting so it provides a fresh start for the person coming in behind you. You don’t want the new person to find a bunch of your photos or personal items awaiting them.
  2. Celebrate your time with your current team – Celebrating your achievements is important, especially if you have been in a role for a few years. Having some leaving drinks or lunch is a nice way for the company to say thank you for your service with them and provides an opportunity for you to thank them and your co-workers for some good memories. Think of it as closing one door before opening a new one. 
  3. Connect with people in your new company before you start – You can ask to be introduced to a couple of key people before you start. Another way is to look them up on LinkedIn and connect with them by letting them know you are starting work there in X number of days. It is an easy way to start a conversation and build some initial relationships before Day 1.
  1. Make the most of your fresh start – When you start in your new job, you will probably be feeling out of place and uncomfortable as you probably don’t know anyone. This could be a great time to introduce some new habits into your day. Bringing your lunch to work and mingling with new co-workers in the lunch room is a good way to get to know people quickly. Embrace new tools or technology that you might not have previously used. Take notice of how others work, what systems or processes are in place and how you use these to work smarter.
  2. Leave positive notes – Leaving a nice note for the new starter on the desk and perhaps even consider writing some personal notes to your boss and closest co-workers is a kind gesture. This personal touch will leave you in a very positive light when you are gone.

Having a positive mindset and recognizing how you are feeling throughout the process, should be embraced.  While often stressful, a job change navigated well can be an amazing personal and professional launchpad, especially when you leave on good terms.

Flexi work and the gig economy – how can you prepare?

The working world has changed and 9 to 5 is no longer the norm. Candidates want and expect a new level of flexibility as they look past the traditional working hours. You just have to look at the amount of new co-working spaces that are popping up all over the city to see how popular flexi work is becoming. Also with flexible working hours, comes technology that allows employers and employees to be efficient and productive when they are not in the same building.

Many of the world’s top companies offer flexi work arrangements and look to the gig economy to fill gaps and build a brand culture that will attract top talent. Companies like Amazon, Dell, Xerox, Adobe, JP Morgan (the list goes on) wouldn’t have flexi work options if they didn’t work.

The benefits of more workplace flexibility acrrue to both sides. Employees are happier because they forgo less opportunities with their family or things that interest them. Companies also enjoy workers that are more energised and motivated, and less prone to absenteeism.

About 40% of the U.S. workforce will be comprised of independent contractors by 2020. It is estimated that the number people in the gig economy will double in the next 4 years. These numbers are likely to trickle down to Australia  as is the usual trend.

How can employees prepare?

In order to keep up with a changing marketplace, gig workers need to learn how to understand what skills they need to be equipped for this type of work.

  • You need to become comfortable with uncertainty.
  • You need to understand what a company needs from you as a remote employee.
  • You need to understand finance and taxes to allow for cash flow and budgeting for your business and personal life.
  • You need to be able to understand the needs of the customers and communicate with them in a compelling way.
  • You need to remember you are in charge of sales, branding, marketing, and new product development. You move from having one role to having many.

Embracing the gig economy means having a combination of full- and part-time workers to keep the business’s functions up and running.

  • Firstly, identify which areas in your business might be able to reap the benefits of the gig economy:
    • Do you have seasonal spikes in traffic or overall business?
    • Do you have one-off projects that could easily be outsourced?
    • Are you trying to expand in new markets?

You might not require a full-time employee and often roles like copywriting, graphic design, web design and social media management are ideal for gig workers as they can be done anywhere.

  • Figure out how to manage projects remotely

As they likely won’t be coming to the office on a regular basis, you still need to figure out exactly how you’re going to manage those projects. How will you exchange documents, files and feedback? What will be the main form of communication? How can you handle training and onboarding for new freelancers?

  • Understand how the hiring process is different

With a freelancer, the traditional job interview will likely be different. Ask candidates to provide work examples, references and complete skills tests. Looking for someone who can do the job well with minimal supervision and probably minimal training will be a higher priority than someone that is a cultural fit.

  • Be mindful of security

Always run background checks, including verifying references and education history when appropriate. You want to ensure you are handing these responsibilities only to people you trust, which means a background check is always worthwhile.

According to a recent HRD report referencing a poll by Hays, 89% of employers believe that flexible work arrangements are very important when it comes to staff attraction and retention. Certainly, millennials are craving flexibility which is strongly linked to improved performance, employee retention and loyalty. The Deloitte 2017 Millennial Survey revealed that flexible working continues to be a feature of most millennials’ working lives with 84% of millennials reporting some degree of flexible working.

It seems this is the way of the future. So, spend some time considering how you can include this in your hiring strategy moving forward.