What To Do When You Dislike Your Job

 

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I’m going back to work in less than a month, my maternity leave is over and I really wish it wasn’t ending. Though it would be nice to earn real money again, short term disability and paid family leave is really nothing in terms of compensation.

During my time of just being at home with family, I realized why I’m always so on edge and why I’ve been so unhappy with my career. I finally have the job that I’ve been looking for for so long, but it’s the people that make it miserable.

You see, I thought I would be happy doing challenging work with competitive pay but I was wrong.

There’s not a single one of my bosses that I’ve liked. You can follow all my blog posts and see just how miserable this job has made me. Yet I stay because of the benefits; because I have to put food on the table.

  • I’m Beginning To Realize It’s Just Me.

I’m not a team player and organizations don’t like that. They want someone who’s going to do what they’re told, follow the pack, play fair and be nice, all while being trampled on. And I don’t know how to be a team player in that kind of environment.

Ever noticed whenever you question something at work or you you realize that you’re taking on more work than you should, they always throw out “be a team player?” Like that propaganda is going to make me forget that I am being used beyond my compensation. If I already know that I have no chance of being promoted mainly due to the culture of the company, why would I do more and why would I want to be a team player on a team that doesn’t recognize hard work and excellence?

The truth is I work better on my own. I like to solve my own problems, have my own system and have autonomy over the quality of my work. With team environments, generally, jobs want a systematic approach that’s not necessarily most efficient, consistency across the board and groupthink where everyone has the same opinion. And that’s just not me and that’s not going to change, I’ve tried.

So here I am, a black sheep in a white flock, trying to stay inconspicuous.

I Haven’t Met A Manager I Respect

I honestly have rarely met a manager I can respect. Just because you’re above me in rank or in compensation doesn’t mean you own me; the corporate world kind of forgets that.

The only manager that I have ever been able to respect was one that looked out for their employees, mentored them and wanted to see them succeed. Plenty of managers will pay lip service to that kind of idea but actions always speak louder than words with me. And someone who doesn’t walk the walk is less than a manager in my eyes.

So right now my manager is someone who complains a lot, wants to get things his way, a brown noser and someone who pretends to be nice but really isn’t. I’ve worked with him for about a year and a half now so I have low hopes that things will get better. I just can’t get myself to respect him.

So what do I do? When I’m working at a job that has no growth with a manager I don’t respect?

My goal for when I come back to work is to just keep my head down and take it day by day.

I’m not going to pretend like I love my job or that I respect my manager or that I’m even friends with my coworkers, because I’m not. What I can do is control my attitude and realize that I’m at this job for a reason. I can quit any day I want. But I don’t. And that’s because I still need to keep this job for whatever reason whether it’s benefits or pay.

A lot of career advice will tell you to just talk it out with your boss or change directions at work or put everything in emails, but sometimes that advice is just full of shit.

I’m giving real world advice here and that is: work’s not fair and work’s not always right. You have to keep a long-term goal in mind even when you’re doing something you hate because you’re not going to be at that job forever. And I want to say that there’s nothing wrong with you just because you can’t fit into corporate culture; it’s really not for everyone. It’s not for me either but you need to use it as an opportunity even if it’s only a short-lived one.

Worst than being at a job that you dislike is being the person who’s constantly jobhunting for the perfect job, which I don’t believe exists unless you’re your own boss and can control your work environment.

So my main point is to make an exit plan, find out what you love and find a way to monetize that. Then make a deadline on how you’re going to make that your full-time job and do it. Your day job can just be a steppingstone, something that can get you to the next place in life.

Maybe I’m not corporate made, it’s not who I am but somehow I’m going to find a way to make my job work for me and help me grow into a career that I can be proud of and love.

It’s OK if you’re failing at work or just getting by, as long as you treat it like an opportunity and a stepping stone to help get you the kind of work you love.

How To Interview Well: Tips & Tricks For The Perfect Interview

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I was always a terrible test-taker and on top of that, I’m terrible at interviewing. I just don’t have a gregarious personality. I’m introverted, I don’t smile enough but I know my stuff. Apparently, knowing my stuff doesn’t come across in my interviews if I’m not outgoing.

Personally, I feel like the interviews process is such a terrible way to hire people. There’s so much emphasis placed on interviews over resumes. How much can you really know about someone after 10 to 30 minutes of talking to them? Often times the smooth talkers and the more extroverted interviewees get preference just because they interview well. For me, I’ve gone as far as avoiding changing toxic jobs just because I don’t want to go through the interview process. It’s a nightmare. As I’m sure it is for a lot of people. But over the years I’ve gotten better. I’ve come to terms that it’s a necessary part of life like driving or Christmas with the in-laws, might as well get good at it.

Here Are The Things That I’ve Learned Along The Way:

1) Research The Company In Advance, Including Your Interviewer

Dig deep and find out everything you can about the company. Check the company website and look up the person who will be interviewing you. Google any news about them. This research will help you to come up with reasons as to why you’re a good fit for the position. Why is it important to research? Because you want to be prepared. One of the main questions interviewers ask is, “why do you want to work here?” Understanding the companies history, their current projects, what’s happening in the news will help you link your experience with why you want to work there. Since most candidates don’t put in this effort, this will separate you from the pack and help you be memorable.

2) Check Glass Door, Yelp, Linkedin and Indeed For Information.

This interview is also about finding out if this is the right position for you. Often times, people take jobs without thinking about the culture of the company, the work environment, or the benefits. It’s essential to find that out as early as possible so you could bring these questions to the interview. Glassdoor and Indeed are both great ways to get insider information on what it’s like to work at a company. Nearly every major company has a profile on Glassdoor or Indeed. There you can find out about benefits, interview questions, the salary and what current and former employees think about working there. Yelp is also a really great tool to find out more about what it would be like to work there. Customers play a major role in your work environment. What they think about the service or the product matters. With Yelp, you can find out if the company is organized or easy to deal with. I also recommend checking LinkedIn and looking at the profiles of the person interviewing and people who have similar positions as you. Low-key stalking. ?You want to know what kind of background they have. Maybe they have something in common with you that you can bring up casually in the interview. Or maybe they know mutual acquaintances and can help with networking and getting your foot in the door before the interview. These are all amazing ways to prepare for a successful interview.

3) Dress Business Formal.

No matter the culture of the company, the best thing to do is always dress business formal for an interview. I know that interview clothes can be expensive but getting one outfit that looks fantastic will help you win the job.

I’ve seen everything. I’ve seen women trying to pull off mini dresses as interview appropriate, I’ve seen women wearing weird patterned stockings, I’ve seen men wearing borrowed sports coats with khaki pants to an interview. And though some of these outfits you can get away with, you’re risking the chance that the person who’s interviewing is a very formal, traditional professional and will judge you poorly based on your attire. Always better to be overdressed than underdressed.

Women should wear either a pant suit or, preferably, a pencil skirt with a blouse and blazer. For men, all you need to do is invest in a $200 tailored suit and $100 dress shoes and that’ll be your interview outfit for years to come.

4) Prepare Mock Interview Answers And Questions.

The hardest question I’ve ever answered is “So tell me about yourself?” It’s such an open ended question! Where do you begin; how should I tell my story in a way that makes this person want to hire me?

Being able to answer that question and tie it into your experience and who you are is key. Give me questions about my qualifications and my previous experience anytime, it’s the open ended questions that can go anywhere that tend to be the most difficult.

Be prepared for behavioral questions. Things like, “tell me the last time you were challenged at work? Tell me about your weaknesses? Tell me about your strengths? How do you handle disgruntled clients?”

Of course you won’t know all the behavioral questions that could come your way, but preparing yourself to think about how you would react in a situation in relation to getting the job is important for your preparation.

5) What To Do The Day Of.

The day of the interview I like to abstain from coffee. For me, coffee or any caffeine makes me jittery and anxious if I’m already nervous about something. And I’m a nervous Nellie when it comes to interviewing.

I’ll also bring a bottle of water. I tend to get dry mouth when I’m nervous; a lot of people have that sort of reaction to nervousness. Nothing is the more distracting than hearing my own lips smack together while I’m trying to have a conversation, so I bring water to keep myself hydrated and even break up the conversation. Take a sip here and there if I need to think about an answer. I also make sure I have everything I need in terms of my resume. I’ll look it over one more time to make sure it’s flawless and doesn’t need an update.

Finally, I’ll just relax. You’ve already done the hardest part of preparing and if it doesn’t work out then it wasn’t a good fit. No need to torment yourself and cause more anxiety by worrying about how the interview will go. Just getting to the interview process is an accomplishment in itself.

6) Interview Etiquette.

This is really more of the basics of shaking hands when you meet someone, making a lot of eye contact and smiling.

I would also recommend using the interviewers name during the conversation. Using someone’s name frequently helps make the conversation feel familiar, friendlier, and casual.

Having a firm handshake is also important. A strong handshake is the first indicator of confidence. Don’t go with the limp or killer handshake. Practice in advance if you’re unsure of what kind of handshake you have.

7) After The Interview:

Send a thank you note. Recap what was discussed and just remind the interviewer why you’re a fit for the company. Thank you notes are professional, nice and a good reminder for an interviewer who has probably met with half a dozen people already.

Follow up on whether you received the position. Any more than once is considered desperate. If the person wanted to hire you, chances are there would be no need for a follow up. But the follow up is mainly to keep on their radar. If they tell you you haven’t received the job, you should express interest in any of future positions.

Let go. Sometimes you go on an interview, send follow up notes, send thank you notes and you never hear back. It’s hard, especially when it’s your dream job or you’ve been out of work for a while, but it’s important for you to keep a positive attitude. Sometimes that means letting go of negative feelings from past interviews.

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Interviews are nerve-wracking. It’s scary to go in front of a stranger knowing they’re judging you from what you look like, what you sound like to what’s on your resume. At the end of the day, you have to be positive and understand that it’s a numbers game. Eventually if you play your cards right with excellent interview skills, you’ll get a job that’s the right fit and the right pay. These tips will help you increase your odds to help you find the right position.

Check Out My Other Posts

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Tags Interview question and answer, interview help, second interview, phone interview, how to face interview, how to get a great interview

How to Job Hop Successfully

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Millennials are set to be the majority in the workforce in the upcoming years, that is if they’re not already running most offices.

5-10 years ago I remember reading article after article about how millennials were disastrous for companies because of their lack of loyalty and lack of respect for hierarchy and systems. Employers were scratching their heads trying to wrap their head around how to retain the best millennial talent. “What do you mean, you don’t want to pick up my coffee and work your way up from the mailroom? But that’s how everyone starts?!?!”

At the time, we were job hopping furiously trying to find opportunities that fit our best interest. Some of us were smart enough to realize that spending 5 years in a mailroom after spending thousands on higher education just wasn’t going to cut it.

I’ve personally had 8 jobs in the past 8 years! That’s a different job every year! Of course some of my employment was short-lived while others lasted 2-3 years. But honestly I’ve never stayed somewhere more than 2-3 years! Yet I’m making close to six figures in salary and compared to other comparable positions, I’m at the top of my pay scale.

So after 8 years of relentless job hopping here are some thoughts on how to make it work for you.  Is job hopping good or bad? That’s totally up to you!

1)  Realize the bigger picture of your position. Think about how will this add to your resume.

The only time you’re allowed to have a lackluster resume is during those few years after college. Even so, the lack of experience will cause you to be scrambling for meaningful work or any work at all. Because of this difficulty some people settle for the first job they land. Some people end up in the service industry like bartending or waiting. Others end up at a dead-end office job getting coffee for someone at a company that no ones ever heard of.

Smart employees take these opportunities for what they are and plan their exit strategy. They take on more than their role so they can add some extra skills to their resume. They bide their time while a side hustle slowly flourishes into a reliable business.

2)  You are not entitled to a growing career just because you have a diploma.

One of the hardest truths I’ve learned is that I was the only person that was capable of growing my career. No one else. All the dead-end jobs I ever had, the managers and coworkers would have been just as happy to let me stay there for all eternity as long as I did a good enough job.

Advancement? Ha! If you can call a 2% cost of living raise advancement, I guess so.

It’s a hard truth to swallow because universities and colleges tend to brag about how 99.9% of their graduates find jobs in the field of their choice within 6 months. You’re raised to believe that if you don’t succeed right away, it’s your fault. You’ll talk to your college guidance counselor and they’ll just say, “just network more.”

So for me job hopping was the best way to be in control of my work situation and career. By changing jobs frequently I was able to gain the knowledge I needed and move on to greener and more profitable pastures.

I would sometimes feel guilty for leaving, like, “omg, they need me…I can’t leave.” And I think people, especially women, tend to view their work like friends or family and feel loss when it’s time to move on… but at the end of the day we need to look out for own best interest.

3) You can give yourself some major pay raises by job hopping.

With every job you’ve taken, hopefully they’ve helped you add to your repertoire of skills so now that you’ll be in a position to negotiate and market what you bring to the table.

Here are the job hops I’ve made to help you’ve visualize what I did to make sure that each job and subsequent “hop” turned itself into a payday.

  1. Office job- sales job selling and organizing the movements of goods: $30K, 1 year period.
  2. Brief stint as a rental broker $1200. 3-4 month period
  3. Business owner- cosmetic distribution company- $5K over 1 year.
  4. Perfume salesperson- on and off for a few years, 8K over that period.
  5. Target Associate $3000- 6 month period. (I was pregnant during this time, so just needed light and easy work)
  6. Receptionist at a new rental building- 75K over a 10 month period.  (This was a troll position and I was definitely overpaid, but it was a blessing during the time I was a new mother.  It ended after 10 months because it was a contract position).
  7. Real estate broker – Year 1 $6000,  Year 2, $30K, Year 3 $45K.
  8. Full time salesperson for developers $80K

So my jobs were pretty diverse and but the main focus is that I’ve done sales jobs for the majority of my 8 years and, during interviews and my resume, I was able to convey how all these different opportunities helped me grow as a competitive salesperson.

Of course some things were irrelevant like that very short stint as a rental broker and that time I had to work at Target to make ends meet but those experiences still keep me humble as to how far I’ve come.  In the end I’ve left the more irrelevant experiences off the resume.

Overall, I think that job hopping has become more normalized.  People are realizing that they are not being rewarded or recognized for they loyalty and dedication but rather, treated like replaceable cogs in the corporate machine.  When there’s nothing to gain from staying, what is there to lose from leaving?

For me, my experience job hopping has been confusing and uncertain at times.  I wanted to know if I was going to make it somewhere where I felt I was earning a reasonable living.  And I finally made it!

My one piece of advice is to look at the big picture of what you need and want and commit to that over everything and everyone else.

Wishing you all the best of luck on your careers.  Feel free to share in the comments below.

Feel free to read my other career related posts:

Top 6 Ways To Maintain A Work Life Balance When Your Job Is Stressing You Out

Top Lessons I learned In Business & As A Salesperson

Build An Eye Catching Resume And Get More Interviews

 

 

Office Politics: Win At The Workplace

When I started my new position, I really didn’t know what I was in for. Really! I had been working independently as a real estate agent and basically could make my own rules about my business. I was so excited to start my new opportunity, it was more money, more benefits and a better schedule. Previously I would be working evenings or even going days between clients.

But the thing about working independently is that there is very little office politics! Almost none! It was glorious. I didn’t have to ask for too much permission and as long as I worked within the brokerage’s rules and made money, no one bothered me.

So moving to an organization that had 500+ employees and too many departments, I quickly realized that I was in over my head when it came to office politics. So much red tape, so much bureaucracy.  I couldn’t make a decision without the person ahead of me giving the go ahead. I didn’t know who could get me the things I needed for my role and I certainly didn’t know how to use politics to get ahead. At the time I felt like I knew so much about my industry and my job. I could do this job and shine like any other position I had.

Nope. I was not prepared for the level of politics that the position required.  I didn’t know how to create boundaries between me and my superiors when I felt like my toes were being stepped on.  I didn’t know how to make sure I would get credit for the work I was doing.  I didn’t now how to be my own advocate.

And it cost me. When the time came for promotions to be considered, I wasn’t even up on the table. It wasn’t until after the role had been hired was my value as an employee recognized.

Maybe it’s me.  Maybe I don’t care enough about the office politics, but in ways it cost me.

If you’re going to do extra work to be noticed, the politics game is a must.  Otherwise why go above and beyond and not get the right credit?

Here are some lessons I learned to get you recognized and make sure you are known, respected and valued.

Makes sure to understand everyone’s role and scope of work.

The workplace is treacherous and one of the first lessons you learn is how not to step on people’s toes. When you make assumptions or take on someone else’s role, even unwittingly, you can make people upset. Don’t be like my colleague John who assumes we can just give away free rent, when it’s only billing that can apply those kind of charges. Now John has to smooth things over with billing to get them to offer something he wasn’t supposed to offer.

I like to make a chart to remember what everybody does. There’s Lisa in Billing that handles all the funds from clients. There’s Nicole in Renewals that returns the security deposit.  I should reach out to Eric in Treasury when we receive wires. All of these people work with issues related to money and funds, but imagine how annoyed these people would be if I referred client’s to them for the wrong issues or if I gave out wrong information related to their roles, and they needed to clean the mess?

We have numerous departments and roles in my company.  You have to reach out to person X if you need help with Y or person B if you need help with A.

Knowing people’s roles and functions can help you build relationships in the workplace and become a more efficient employee.

When you take part in a project make sure you are named as a collaborator

The only person looking out for you is you.

Rule #1. Just because you’re chummy with your coworker doesn’t mean they will give you the recognition you deserve. Unless you can see every email they send and attend every meeting they go to, then you can’t know.

The only way you can be sure to be getting the credit for the work you do is to make it VERY clear you were included.

That’s by making sending emails and making a statement. It can be as simple as:

“Hi Dom, I just wanted to let you know that person X allowed me to be part of this project and I did A, B, and C.  I really enjoyed taking part in this exercise.  Let me know if there are any more projects like this, I’d love to take part!”

It’s just about putting your foot in the door and letting the people who are decision-makers know what you’re capable of doing and that you are open to more.

Make nice and be a team player

This one is the easiest.  Don’t try to play politics by throwing other people under the bus.  First, it’s not nice, and second, you never know when it’ll backfire.

My new manager N had sent an email crudely critiquing one of the marketing strategies.  He had sent it to our Director, who didn’t really even bother reading it, so forwarded it to the Marketing Director.  Well, N got a scathing email back from the Marketing Director basically telling him he has no idea what he’s talking about.  Apparently N didn’t expect his email to get around.

You never know when you’ll need another person’s help in an organization.  So why burn bridges?  What you need to do is build connections so that when you need a favor, it’s there for you.

N has already burned bridges with our Assistant Director, Marketing Director and Renewals Manager.

Being nice doesn’t have to mean you’re a doormat, it just helps keep you from being on other peoples shit-list.

Attend the company events

Everyone goes to the summer outing and the holiday party.  These events are a fun time to unwind, relax and kind of commiserate with your colleagues.

It’s also an opportunity to bump shoulders with your higher ups and pick their brains.  We have different offices in the company, so it’s also a way for me to actually meet people I’ve never seen but have emailed with a billion times over for projects.

Overall, it’s a great way to show face and make sure the right people can put the correct face to your name when talking about accomplishments and performance.

Work the numbers

Every job has it’s own metrics in terms of measuring an employee’s level of performance.

This was the hardest for me to learn.  I figured if I just did my work the numbers would reflect my efforts.  I really didn’t even take the time to learn EXACTLY how my performance was being measured.

The result?   My performance was not being completely represented by the numbers.

Upper Management doesn’t care about getting to know each and every individual employee.  Or working on their strengths and weaknesses.  They SAY they want to do that.  But Upper Management is made up of people, who, at the end of the day, want to just get the job done and done quickly.  In order to consider individual performance, at my company, metrics are KING.

Whether the numbers and metrics are right 100% depends on you and making sure you’re getting the credit for the work you do and being recognized.

Some people go as far as working the numbers in such a way that it starts to be very little work to look high performance.  Those people know how to PLAY THE GAME.

Get other people to say good things about you

My Asst. Director is good at this.  Almost shameless about it too.  She MUST get credit for her contribution at work.  She kind of needs it since she struggles to grasp the entire scope of her work.

She will straight up ask people to mention her contributions in meetings, while mentioning all the times she talked you up to the higher ups and stoking your ego.  She’s asked me! I don’t mind saying good things about other people because that just means you’re in alliance and they’re more likely to say good things about you.

You also want your work to be so good that other departments will know you and mention that you do “good work” or that you’re “very knowledgeable.”

It’s through the mouths of other people that you build a reputation, whether it be good or bad.

Brag and get credit for your accomplishments

This is kind of like getting other people to say good things about you except it’s just you saying good things about yourself.

I used to think that talking yourself up and bragging was in bad taste in the workplace but over time it’s become more normal for me.

Work is just too busy!  Who’s going to really remember who did what, who set what record, what your most recent accomplishment was, other than you?  It’s your job to make it known and to advocate for yourself.   No one’s going to do it for you.

Even more, if you stay quiet about your accomplishments and people notice, it might be mistaken for a lack of confidence rather than humbleness.

I hope this article helps you find the confidence to make sure your contributions to your company are noticed.  These were hard lessons for me but I hope they help you along your way to success.

Feel free to read my other posts:

Top 6 Ways To Maintain A Work Life Balance When Your Job Is Stressing You Out

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Organize Your Mind: How To Be More Productive With Your Day