At some point in our work lives, many of us will find ourselves in the wrong job. Specific fault can be difficult (and likely futile) to assign. However, one day you may look around to find that your work life is dangerously out of sync.
Few experiences are more alarming than throwing yourself into a role and realizing that things are not gelling. It is uncomfortable. It is frustrating. It plays on your emotions.
However, the single most important element here is this: Acknowledging the issue for what it is (in very short shrift) and acting to make changes. Poor matches do happen. Jobs morph. Great bosses move on. Teams disband. Chemistry wanes.
We grow and change.
Any of these could serve as a likely contributor.
So — make every attempt to let yourself off the hook and avoid a long-term “soul sucking” experience. Look ahead and offer yourself permission to let go. Poor fit is a very common occurrence and it is critical to recognize its symptoms.
It is even more important to act.
Here are a few signs worthy of notice:
- You feel lost. Are you living the classic nightmare where you arrive at class on exam day, only to realize that you’ve not purchased the correct textbook? This should not be your work life experience during waking hours. If tasks or projects leave you feeling unprepared and no one seems to care, take note: something is very wrong.
- Your strengths aren’t being utilized. Ultimately, work should align with our strengths. If your weaknesses seem to have taken center stage — it’s unlikely you’ll stay energized for the long haul. Have a conversation about this soon as possible.
- Challenge is absent. Certainly work is about task completion — and it is our responsibility to make this happen on a daily basis. However, if opportunities to enhance your skill set are completely absent, this can be an insidious problem. If you feel as if you are “standing still” skill-wise, it’s time to broach the topic with your boss. Remember — “withering on the vine” is not a viable career strategy.
- You feel disconnected. Is your team (or organization) clearly on one page and you on another? Are your ideas completely ignored? Feeling out of sync? Whether you work in customer service, sales or consulting — if you do not identify with the vision of the organization, the person-job match is in danger. If you see yourself as an island (and everyone is speaking an entirely different “language”) it may be time to explore a change.
- You can’t seem to complete anything. Does every project seem pointless and your level of motivation at a deep low? Are you dealing with looming deadlines with a blank screen continually staring back at you? Enough said. Something is very wrong.
- You are in avoidance mode. Be completely honest — is the process of going to work is excruciating? If you had your druthers, you would never set foot in the office again? If you have tried to make things work and simply cannot envision a future for yourself, you have a serious problem.
- You are in blame mode. You certainly can own the part of the problem that you’ve controlled (you’ve ignored your “inner voice”, for example). However, guaranteed there were plenty of other factors in play. The bottom line is this: It’s time to act. Blame doesn’t help things resolve — only a plan to move forward will.
Over the years, I’ve heard these issues expressed many times, in many ways. They are clear indicators that something must change. It is critical to address the issues with your supervisor, trusted mentor or career professional.
Remember, the fit is imperative to remain engaged long-term.
Have you experienced any of these issues? How did you address them?