Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it? I’ve had my fair share of experiences and now that so much of my work is steeped in self awareness and self reflection, I think it’s important to share solutions to common challenges in the workplace. 

I’ve had a few jobs. Job-hopped some years, freelanced others and after two years of being in the same place, I got itchy feet. It was time to leave. The work wasn’t fulfilling me and I hated going in. The first sign for me when I was done with a job was when I wouldn’t want to wake up and get there on time. I didn’t know this then, but I do now. I had conflict in nearly every workplace. Mine was steeped in passion for what I was doing, drive to win at my goals in the job and a sense of purpose for my career. Others however didn’t like this and created opportunities whenever they could to cause conflict. At the time, I was devastated. I thought I was such an awful person. Why couldn’t I avoid conflict happening to me? Why did they betray my trust? Why did they bully me to leave? Only hindsight lets you see the errors of your ways and theirs. I now know so much more about myself that I can reflect on this time compassionately. I had no one helping me, I had no idea how to ‘play the game’ and I had no idea that my passions would be killed due to bloody jealousy! Needless to say in my 20 year Marketing career in hospitality, travel and retail, my favourite job was a side hustle I did for 2 years at a sex shop in Soho. 

One of those topics is this one, how do you know if you’re in the right job for you? Many of us go into the workplace because it’s the natural progression from studying. We may have done some work experience when we were 15 and then again at Uni but after that, we enter the world of work and just get sucked into the cycle of work hard, earn more, spend and repeat until we die. What we don’t get to do unfortunately, is realistically experience the workplace and all that it brings. We assume this is it, this is the workplace, this is what I’ll be doing for the next 60-odd years of my life! Ugh, that’s miserable. 

When we’re at work, we are either in a job that completely fulfils us, there are rainbows in the sky and we have everything we need. Or, there are the rest of us who work in a job that slightly relates to what we might have studied or slightly relates to our passions and hopefully pays us enough to get the things we want. I’m going to talk about us. After years of being in a particular role or company, we start getting itchy feet. Something’s not quite right but it’s difficult to put our finger on it. We can’t just take a hiatus because we’ve committed to a mortgage/car payments etc and so just go and apply for another job, doing the same thing, in another company for a little more money, hoping that we’ll find the answer. And this continues usually until we either have an epiphany or burnout. 

So how do you know if you’re in the right job for you? The first place I would start is, do you like to wake up in the morning and actually go to the job? Do you look forward to what you’ll be working on, seeing your colleagues and feel like your work is making an impact somewhere somehow? Does your job fulfil your expectations of working in the field you do? How often are you able to disconnect from work without feeling guilty and just enjoy the joys of life?

Then I would ask you about conflict. Do you face conflict often at work? This may be innocent conflict where you’re so passionate about what you do and good at what you do that you’re threatening to others which results in regular conflict. Are their communication issues that makes your boss regularly call you into their office to tell you to play more nicely with the other kids? Are you experiencing the same challenges no matter how many times you change workplaces?

If there are a lot of yes’s to those questions, you need to take a long hard look at yourself and determine what the actual f*** is going on with you? Something has happened along your journey of life that is affecting the way you work and it’s time to put that mirror up, dig deep and find out what.

Here are some closed questions you could ask yourself to start the process. When you get a ‘No’, that’s what you need to start reflecting on.

  1. My work stimulates me

  2. I am proud of what I do for a living

  3. I feel appreciated in my workplace

  4. I am happy with my salary/bonuses

  5. I have clear short-and long-term work goals

  6. I acknowledge others every day

  7. I have a good working relationship with others

  8. I communicate clearly at work

  9. I feel confident in my dealings with others in the workplace

  10. I am able to collaborative effectively

This is not an easy exercise to do but if you really want things to change, it’s time to start asking yourself some challenging questions because that’s where the answers truly lie. Once you know what you want from your work/job, you know those questions you’re supposed to prepare for an interview and that research you’re supposed to do on that new company you’re applying to work for? Well, you’ll have those questions more easily answered through the research and through asking the right questions at the interview. Remember also that a job interview is a sales process for both parties. The employer wants to come across attractive to you just as much as you do and that probationary period is for both of you to assess if either of you lied during the recruiting process or whether you haven’t dug deep enough yet with what you truly want from work life. 

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