We’re often brought to think that we should be just glad we have a job and a paycheck to pay the rent/mortgage, fill-up the fridge… But what happens when the fun has gone for us at work? Boomers used to say something like “love your job/company or quit”. But few of them had to actually deal with massive inflation, housing crisis, globalization and outsourcing of the workforce… WE Millenials have to bear with that. In this day and age, being happy at work is vital. More than an income, it’s really important that we harvest something else from it, something that nourishes us. Otherwise, we’ll just fade away. In this blog, I’d like to provide some of my experience with professional mobility in order to help you decide whether or not you should think about moving on with your career and potentially change job.
In the last 10 years, I’ve changed jobs (and careers) a fair amount of times (5 times!). I did it either because I was leaving abroad twice (leaving from 2 different countries each time), or just because I didn’t like the people I was working with/for. Sometimes I would just a better position/pay elsewhere! And I don’t think there is any shame in that… Does a company feel shame when they lay-off people, no! It’s just the way it is, nothing personal.
I’m a developer, I like to build things and solve problems. As I work for a university, every day I get the satisfaction of helping people. I help them to achieve their goals in life and build their future. That’s very fulfilling! That being said, I think there is nothing wrong with being a barista, a store cashier, an accountant or a bar attendant… As long as you like it and you see beyond.
For many of us today, the workplace is where we spend most of our life! Working is the second biggest task we do after sleeping! Therefore, it’s important to be sure that we are at the right place when we’re at work. To consider this, you have to go beyond the practicalities. For sure, ergonomic chairs, workplace perks and group insurances can help. These are undeniable nice-to-haves. But I think work, like any human activity, is about feeling like a part of something. Contributing to something positive and bring value.
Given my occupation, I’m a builder, a problem-solver. My father ran his own business as a builder for 30 years. It seems to me that building houses is very similar to developing computer programs. It rises from chaos. From problems getting fixed one-by-one with logic and organization. I couldn’t be a barista (although I have been at a time, but not for long). I would just break the coffee machine there just to get a chance to fix it. I think what I’m trying to say here is: know your value at work and realize the impact it has on people.
Now, all of this is great. But what happens when being happy at work is impossible for you. As in: you don’t like what you do? Life is short enough to get bothered as few as possible with things we don’t like, I think we definitely have to do something about it. I’m not saying you should step in to work tomorrow morning just to say « I quit » to your boss, slamming the door on your way out. But if you are in such a situation where you are not happy at your job, you should definitely take the time to think about it and think about yourself (consider your current situation in terms of skills, finances…) and plan for moving on with your career.
In their book « Work Freely: Love Your Job, Love Your Life », authors Nancy Richardson and Rochelle Davidson share their experiences. Both having been former managers within big companies, they speak out about facing characteristic challenges in today’s working environments and how they have experimented in order to find actual solutions that would work.
I think there are 2 ways that you can reach that happiness at work. Either you enjoy the interaction you have with people there, this be your colleagues, your customers or whoever you interact with, or a big salary.
During my first year living in London England, I was doing customer service in a startup and the job in itself wasn’t fun at all. But I was so happy to work with these people! Today still I think they were the best people I’ve ever worked with and that company has been my best professional experience so far!
A third factor to consider is the absence of interaction. A certain liberty on the job that allows you to choose the way that you’re going to get the job done. I’ve personally known delivery men (and delivery women) that were very happy with there jobs precisely because of that!
However, when there are no goodies at all, it seems there is not much matter for hesitation. Things could only be better elsewhere! Last July I went for an interview for a contract position with the main university in the city. Things went quite well and later on in August I sat down with my now-former boss and announced to him I would quit my permanent position to join the university. The reason why I did that was a better salary for some part… But also because I wasn’t happy working with these people!
If you are considering moving on with your career to another job but don’t know if your resume will bring you there, I would like to introduce you to myperfectresume.com. Indeed, this website is a highly performant tool to build relevant; convincing and appealing resumes to catch the attention of recruiters. To achieve that, the website maintains an extensive library of templates, as well as pre-written parts for a wide array of occupations. The templates can be customizable for colours and text. On top of that, users have unlimited downloads for their resumes.
MyPerfectResume has been featured in various newspapers such as The Guardian, Time or The New-York Times and on other websites such as MSN and Forbes and, as with thousands of other people, it can provide you with great help moving on with your career!
To sum up, when you’re feeling unhappy or anxious about going to work, day after day… Something is wrong. And if we acknowledge again that work represents a third of our life, I think we shouldn’t be bothered. Sleep is the second biggest task in our lives, and we actually choose how we want to get that overnight rest (with someone particularly or alone, which kind of mattress…). Because the quality of our sleep is important to us. Work is about the same thing! We should choose what matters to us. I think the value we provide to others and the value we receive from them is what matters. Take one of these out and you will not be happy at work. Moreover, if you cannot get it back, it’s definitely time to moving on with your career!
PS: The header picture is from a very talented photographer from Michigan called Ben White. I strongly encourage everyone to go and check his work on unsplash.com, great pictures!
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