Look for signs of job-fit, then do something about it!
I have been in the wrong job before. So I completely understand the signs and signals — and the reasons why it happens. I was guilty of using everyone’s favorite refrain for sticking with it: “the people are great” and “the money is good.” Those had some truth. But I knew deep down that I wasn’t where I wanted to be or doing the work that was meant for me. And my employer knew it, too. We eventually parted ways but it could — and should — have happened much sooner.
Being in the right job has been on my mind a lot lately. Over the past few weeks, I’ve talked to many job seekers. I’ve also talked to several hiring managers. And both parties want the same thing: a person in a position that has passion for the work and organization.
The signs are evident when someone has a lackluster feeling about their work. Here are some signals that I’ve seen over the years:
- Going through the motions without caring about the outcomes
- Lack of fresh ideas for improvement or even achieving established goals
- No interest to support co-workers
- Never volunteering for assignments
- Lack of ownership for tasks
- Never putting in extra energy or effort to a project
- Doing the bare minimum that allows them to ride under the radar
- Disengaged body language (see pictures!)
This list of traits is an obvious nightmare for an employer. Who would want this type of worker on the job? As managers, we often grumble about it and then try to find some crazy ways to motivate the person. Instead, I recommend you begin conversations about the fit. Managers can forget that this situation is not fun for the employee, either, especially if the employee feels stuck.
Sometimes we stay in a job because we think we have to. Perhaps financial or personal constraints make us believe we have to stay the course. But the irony is that when we stay a job that isn’t the right fit for us, our performance suffers and it spirals into a host of other problems, including lack of confidence and perhaps even depression.
Yet when a person is doing the work they love, work that is a good fit for skills and personality, the work quality and overall demeanor of the person is automatically buoyed. You may have witnessed this first-hand or perhaps seen in with others.
Yesterday, I listened to the video recording of the keynote speaker from this year’s annual NHBSR conference. Jay Friedlander offers ideas for how organizations can be sustainable in today’s economy. He reminds us that a committed and loyal workforce is necessary for sustainability. Longevity and loyalty do not come automatically these days. Years ago, in my parent’s generation, a person would get a job and remain at a company for years, frequently a lifetime. But more and more, employees are looking hard to find that ideal fit. Good employees are seeking something more than a job. They want to use their talents and they want to be part of something important. (As an aside, another great session from that conference is a short story shared by Amy Hattan about her work to increase internal stakeholder [employee] engagement. Well worth watching!)
We often associate people who have “found the work they love” to be an artist or entrepreneur, something outside the realm of everyday, “normal” jobs. But I have seen lots of people in traditional jobs that know they belong there. You know it, too, because it’s when performance shines. Those individuals understand what they do best, and have found the place to offer it. That is sustainable!
Nancy Bishop and I believe that everyone has unique and special talents and that it really is possible to use them in your professional work. The real work is knowing what those characteristics are and how to use them to their fullest. To help explore those questions, including the obstacles that prevent our forward movement, Nancy is launching a new group coaching session, designed to help individuals find their passions. For those of you who want to move in the direction of finding freedom in your career path, I encourage you to join in this interactive program. Let us know how we can help.
Start to look for signs of where you’re at. Do you look like Grace and Oliver? (OK, an occasional yawn is acceptable.) What brings excitement and energy to your work for you?