ON THE FRONTLINE: Getting Unstuck
By Cindy Campbell
I RECENTLY READ AN INTERESTING statement in an online forum: “You know when you order a new item off the menu and you don’t really like it but you keep eating it—and every bite you’re like, ‘Nope, this is awful, but I already committed to it.’ Yeah, some of us are doing that in our careers.”
This statement reminds me of many discussions I’ve had with colleagues through the years. Perhaps someone you know has talked to you about their job dissatisfaction or maybe you’ve personally experienced this feeling. Whenever someone stays in a job long after they should have identified a new professional path for themselves, you have to wonder what’s keeping them from seeking new opportunities where they might actually find both personal and professional satisfaction.
Finding a Good Fit
Why do we stay in a work environment where we’re not blooming? Frequently, we stay for the money. Financial stability is important, but we step into dangerous territory when money becomes our sole reason for staying in a bad work situation. It happens all too frequently—health and happiness are sacrificed for money. Health issues related to work stress and job dissatisfaction can include high blood pressure, heart and circulatory issues, sleep issues, migraines, depression, ulcers, and obesity, to name just a few.
If any of these sound familiar, I have a couple of questions for you to consider: Do you recall the last time you felt like you had a great day at work? Do you remember what it feels like to enjoy your work? Let me be clear: There isn’t a job that exists where every day at the office will be fulfilling or fun, but life is too short to work in a position that never brings satisfaction. If this is sounding uncomfortably familiar, perhaps it’s time to think about employment options.
Nothing will change without first making the conscious decision to do something different, but how do you go about it? Here are some things to consider if you’re looking to make a job change:
The grass isn’t always greener. Let’s start this conversation with a dose of reality: A 2016 study found more than 50 percent of American workers dislike their current jobs. (You are truly not alone.) Keep in mind that all jobs have their high and low points. Before deciding to make a career change, make sure your attitude and outlook aren’t major stumbling blocks. If you’re starting off the day believing it’s going to be bad, it can quickly become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even that dream job won’t seem so dreamy if you have a perpetually negative attitude.
Invest in yourself. Are you prepared for that next step? There are employment options every day in the mobility industry. If you’re concerned that your current qualifications won’t get you where you want to be, hold off on the job search until you can present yourself in the best possible light. IPMI offers a full array of professional development options. Are you a CAPP? If you haven’t taken this career enhancing step, maybe it’s time (see parking-mobility.org/capp for information). You can also take advantage of the CAPP Mentor Program to help you along the way.
Follow the leader. Before you can chart your course, it’s helpful to know how someone else achieved their professional goals. Who has a job you aspire to? How did that person land their current position? You’d be surprised how willing colleagues are to share their stories and to help you achieve your goals.
Bottom line: If you find yourself spending the majority of your time feeling frustrated and unsatisfied with your current position, perhaps it’s time to consider revisiting your priorities. Believe me—your life is worth it.
CINDY CAMPBELL is IPMI’s senior training and development specialist. She is available for onsite training and professional development and can be reached at email@example.com.