Is the grass ever greener? How to make your current job work for you?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Everyday I ask people if they are 100% happy in their current role; what is important to them when moving job? and what they are looking for in a new employer. Of course, there are many reasons. But will a new job be any better than where you are now? Is the grass ever greener?

The trick is to understand your reasons for your dis-satisfaction. Broadly they fall into 3 categories: You need more money; you don't like the work or you don't like the people.

I need more money.

If this is your reason then speak up! Make a point of knowing how to get more money in your current company. Typically there are a number of ways:

- If you have just completed an exceptional piece or work that has driven sales, taken cost out of the business or enabled better service. Then ask if there are any bonuses, awards or recognition available for to you. This also is a good way to introduce the idea that money is on your mind.

- Understand the skill set of those above you and develop / demonstrate those skills in your current role and put yourself forward when there are opportutnities. Make it clear that you are ambitious, understand what skill set you need to develop to move up or diagonally and actively go after it. This might take more time to achieve, but in the long term should pay off.

- Start looking for another job and hope that a counter-offer comes in. A very risky strategy, but every so often it works. you need to be sure that you can pull off the bluff, or risk taking the alternative role.

- Just ask. Use an appropriate time e.g. at a monthly review, or book an appointment with your Line Manager. Explain your circumstances and put forward a persuasive case, (this could be based on loyalty, service, customer knowledge, skills etc). Dont expect to come out of the meeting with anything, Its unlikely that your Manager will be able to offer any incentive immediately, but do try to have a timescale in mind, so a further meeting next week/month/quarter depending on your circumstancesis arranged to continue the discussion. At the very least, after such a meeting you will have a better idea as to your worth with this employer.

I dont like my work.

This is a tricky one that needs a significant amount of self analysis.

- What is it about the work you don't like? Is it one particular part? Is it one customer driving you crazy? One area that you are not confident with? If that is the case, speak to your Manager. It doesn't need to sound like you're not coping, more that you require some support in a particular area. You'd be surprised how co-operative people can be if you ask.

- Is it the work or the company? Could it be more about the size, nature, style, industry that you are in? Could a shift to a smaller more agile company suit your skills better? Would a more formal, process driven culture engage you more?

- What are the options available to you to switch careers? What would you do? Do you have the skills to do it? Are you financially secure to start re-training again? Do you have the support of your loved ones?

Really try to understand the nature of the problem, what could be what can be fixed, the conditions that you work best under, and seek these out first. Of course a change in career can be life changing for some people, but it is not the solution for most.

I dont like the people I work with.

They say "people dont leave a job they leave the people" so you might be in good company if this is your reason. I am a firm believer that you cannot change people; you can only change yourself and how you react to things. So what could you do differently that might generate a different feeling towards these people?

- Take control and face the problem. Clearly this depends on the issue and who the people are. If its negativity in your team, then tell the negative people that you are trying to be positive and solution based, that you will turn negative conversation to look for solutions.

- If its your Manager, explain to her that you need more / less information / management / decision making in order to enable you to be more productive / satisfied / enthused. Be explicit about what you need. Of course if it is bullying, or descriminiation there should be a procedure for you to follow.

There are times that you just can't make it work in your current employment and your needs are not being met, in which case the grass probably is greener. Leaving your currently role isn't always the only option, so perhaps try to to remember why you liked it, fix whats wrong and if that doesn't work, start your job search.

Its always worth remembering that work isjust a trade between you and your employer of your skills knowledge and behaviours in exchange for a monthly payment. Keep your perspective firmly in that frame and then all the grass will be different shades of green.