Our job, so this is what we are doing 8 hours per day, 5 days per week (typically) is a very very important part of the majority of the people’s life on this planet. It could have an impact on a private life as well. Nowadays, many companies are speaking about work-life balance and they try to create as friendly an environment as possible for their employees.
In today’s post, I’d like to write about, what I called, “stages of employee satisfaction”. Most of us have been through them, no matter how many professional experiences we have. I’d also like to show that at every stage there is something that you can do in order to have a better, easier, safer professional life.
Scenario #1 I like my current job and I don’t wanna change my company
The first stage is the ideal one. You are working for a while or recently joined the company. Your satisfaction is really high, you like where you are and nothing needs to be changed in your opinion. This situation is possible because of several reasons:
- You are paid fairly – yes, we are working, primary, for the money. So there shouldn’t be any surprise that salary is one the main motivators for liking our job. Also, more and more companies publish the salary range in their job ads so we are able to check if we are “overpaid” or “underpaid” in our field.
- Stable financial condition of the company – to feel safe at a particular company it is also important that the company is able to operate normally, without redundancy, when a crisis happens (last example pandemic). For many people it is also important that the company will be able to operate and will be avoiding redundancy in the worst time.
- Good relations with team members and others – if we have them we feel better and happier and people can count on us and that we can count on others.
- Job that has a meaning – if this, what we are doing, has an impact on the company we feel meaningful and needed.
- Psychological safety – when we feel comfortable to talk about situations that badly affect our psychological well-being and company will take this seriously.
- Companies that care about development – a clear, consistent personal development plan makes clear what we can expect in a certain period of time and what are the possibilities within the company.
- Boss that knows your plans – it’s a crucial factor to your satisfaction at work. Your manager mustn’t be your best friend but that person needs to be aware of your career aspirations – it helps, for example, in terms of your personal career development plan.
What can you do?
You may think that there is nothing to do for you. However, I believe that you can make the situation even better and secure yourself from unexpected events. Each of those points is a topic for a separate post so this time I’d like to introduce it only.
- Meet new people – no matter how many people you know, it’s good to know more (from the career point of view). At your current company you may attend networking events (especially at big companies) or invite someone for the coffee chat. Don’t be shy in that, people in majority of the cases are open to talk with someone new from the same company. On the other hand, it is very easy these days to do networking online and meet people from different companies – try it, and again – don’t be shy.
- Finding a mentor – mentoring, I think, is the best career development tool. In some workplaces there is a structured mentoring programme. If it’s not the case in your company, find someone who might be a good mentor for you and just ask (again, don’t be shy). You will be surprised that people with a lot of professional experience (aka mentors) are happy to share that with you and guide you in your career.
- Learning a new skill – what do you do if one day your current profession will be no longer needed? Do you have any alternative skills that will help you to find a new job? This is why I’m a big supporter of learning some new skills which will secure your future. Also, you don’t have to spend so much time on that – 10 or 20 minutes per day is really enough.
- Follow the trends in your area – depending on your job, being up to date with what is happening in the industry might be helpful to do your work better. Also, I believe that it makes someone a better employee. You can do that by following the magazines, blogs, attending conferences and so on.
- Do something more than is expected from you – the truth is that people who are promoted are those who meet two criterias. The first, obvious one, they are doing a good, solid job. Second, they are doing something in addition to their daily duties. It might be participation in the Diversity and Inclusion group (if your company has that), willingness to take additional responsibilities (but only if you have time and capacity within your working hours) or proposition of some improvements in processes. By taking that approach you are building your visibility as well.
I wish everyone was in that scenario for as long as possible. It is a really comfortable environment where we can focus on our private life, and hobbies without worrying about the job. But what is the reality? Let’s look at the next one.
Scenario #2 I like my current job but I want to change my company
The next phase is the common case for many employees. This is the situation where you are working at the current company in the profession for some time but you feel that this is the time to change the organization. Why?
- You are not paid fairly – it’s again, an obvious point. You may realize that by checking for example salary reports which are published every year by recruitment companies. In addition to that, there might be a situation that new joiners are better paid than the people who are already in the team for some time.
- There is no work-life balance – when you have to work overhears without the possibility to take holidays (because there are limited people in the team).
- You don’t like the way a company is managed – it means you are not accepting the organization’s decisions, the plans for the futures, how the employees are respected and so on and so forth.
- There is a huge barrier between management and employees – in other words – there is no interaction between these two groups. It’s an issue because people would like to be heard and would like to have some influence on what is going on in the company.
- You don’t have support from your boss – as mentioned in the previous stage, a supportive line manager is a crucial contributor to your satisfaction. If you don’t have that you feel ignored and alone with your problems.
- You already reached the limit – which means that there is no longer an option to be promoted and also you are not receiving regular salary increases.
- Company announced a redundancy plan – in some places that information will be known in advance. It’s kind of an external factor that pursues you to change the company.
What can you do?
Once you decide that it is the right time to look for the new company, it’s for your action. Of course, you can randomly send your CV to as many companies as possible, but I think that it doesn’t work. I’d like to suggest a few points which might be helpful in this process.
- Find the companies where you really would like to work – if you are in your current role for some time probably you know other companies in your area. However, if you start research, you will find many more organizations which are currently recruiting. Before you apply, find an opinion about each of the firms, ask people who are already working there (LinkedIn works in this case), check the financial condition and so on and so forth. Get to know as much as you can. At the end of that exercises list 5 to 10 companies that you would like to work for.
- Check, carefully, the job offer – what are the requirements, what you will be doing there, what kind of certification are required etc. You can reach out to the recruiter (sometimes the name is provided on the job offer) for example on LinkedIn if you have any question.
- Prepare your CV – make sure that it is up to date. I think that CV should be suited individually to every job advert. Read every single requirement and ask yourself if, according to that, you are doing in your current job and include it in your resume. Remember, that you don’t have to meet 100% of criteria for the particular position.
- Apply – if you know someone from the company where you are applying, ask for the recommendation. If not, just apply. If you don’t receive an answer after 2 weeks, you can contact the recruiter responsible for that process.
- Prepare yourself for the interview – it’s a book size topic but what is the most important is to have the basic knowledge about the company where you applied
- Follow up – if you had an interview but there is no information about the result for a long time, you have the right to ask the recruiter for the feedback.
- Prepare yourself for failure – you can get the new job after one interview or after 10 or even 20 interviews – there is no strict rule. The most important thing is to learn from the rejections and don’t give up.
As you can see, the process of finding a job in the new company requires huge effort from you but sometimes you don’t have a choice. Let’s look at a similar situation, which is very similar to the current one.
Scenario #3 I don’t like my current job but I don’t wanna change my company.
On the flip side, there is a situation where we accept some inconveniences at the workplace. We are saying that, in general, everything is okay – we have a stable job, the company is in general fine, and so on. However, when we start to have a huge discomfort, we feel angry and every day begins with the thought “God, I don’t wanna be there” which is a sign that something is wrong.
The third stage of the employee satisfaction lifecycle is about the status where we want to change the job (team, profession) but we would like to stay at the same company.
First, think about – why would people like to be at their current company in the case when they hate their jobs?
- If a company has various departments there is a huge chance that we can find something new interesting for us.
- It’s much easier to start a new profession within the current organization rather than find the same job in an external firm.
- In the majority of the corporations, if you change job internally, you don’t have a probation period (which means that your employment status is still stable).
- You hate the job, not the company itself which means that you identify with the company’s values, you like the benefits and so on.
- Fewer competitors – for the job offers that are posted only for internal applicants.
All of the above means that we are taking less risk, which is, more comfortable and, for example, costs less stress.
Why do we want to change jobs?
But back to the point – why do we hate our current jobs? I might say that the reasons are the opposite of those mentioned in stage #1 (why we do like our jobs), but I believe that there are many more. What are they?
- You are not paid fairly – explained in stage #1 and #2
- You are not respected – this is, in my opinion, the worst thing that can happen to you at work. If this is the case, the question is of course if there is something that company can do with that but unfortunately someone wouldn’t like to tell that to management because she or he is afraid of the consequences.
- Your tasks are very repetitive – you fell bored and you see no value in this what you are doing.
- You don’t have career development plan (aka your boss doesn’t care about your development)
- You don’t have time to take holiday – explained in scenario #2, in a situation where there is a lot to do but there are limited people in your team.
- Expectations are to work over hours
- There is no opportunities in your current department
- People are promoted by criteria who are working longer than who knows more and can more – this kind of a situation, where there is a “queue for the promotion” which means that you cannot get a better salary if the person who joined earlier didn’t get that yet.
- You work with toxic people, who blame others, create a toxic environment, don’t try to help the team and so on.
- You prefer different type of a job
There are two options. The first is to simply ask your supervisor to change the team (remember that person is not the mind-reader). If you would like to do the same as you are doing currently, in most companies it will be possible (aka changing assignment).
However, in the situation, where you prefer to change your job type (aka profession/industry), this requires more effort but of course it is possible.
How to change the profession?
This is a tough task to change the industry and get the first job. If you think about doing that within your current company and there is that position already open you are in the great place to start. My advice might not be applicable to all professions but I think it will be helpful in the many of them in the corporate world.
- Start with networking – have a chat with someone who is already doing this and what you would like to do in the future in your current organization. That person might be your mentor who will help you to gain necessary skills.
- Speaking of skills – do a good research in the Internet what is required in the particular job, majority of them you can learn from the Internet or attending courses
- Get the certification – it’s a good starting point. It is proof that you have theoretical knowledge.
- Collect the first experience – there are companies who are organizing some kind of “shadowing” when you can check how someone’s job looks. You can also be a volunteer in a non-profit organization from your new profession.
- Immerse yourself in a new industry – join discussion groups, networking events, read blogs and so on.
But what if you don’t wanna stay at the current company? Well, this is the last stage that I would like to talk about.
Scenario #4 I don’t like my current job and I wanna change my company
The last one is the mix of scenario #2 and #3. This is an extreme situation where you don’t like your current job as well as your current company and you don’t wanna stay there for any additional minute. But hold on for a second..
- It is really a comfortable situation when you can look for a new job, in a new organization, having a stable job at the same time. Of course, you can leave the current workplace without having something new – but your financial situation needs to allow for that.
- If the current work really impacts your health – leave it immediately, really. For some time, when looking for a new employer, you can do other jobs which will cover your living costs.
- Do you have a plan? Check the scenario #2 where I listed a few points about finding a new job in a new company.
- If you would like to change the industry and the first job there will be in the new company – don’t worry that job offers require x years of experience. Use your current experience and leverage it to the job offer that you are applying for.
- Ask people from other companies that you know – maybe they can recommend you or give you some advice. If you did networking for some time, great, that you can use right now, if not – start doing it.
- The last thing, which I repeat – don’t worry about the failures, this is the part of the process and believe me or not, sooner or later – you will find what you want.
One final thought – at the end of the day, you and only you is responsible for your professional development.
In the next articles I’d like to continue this series and write more about career development so watch this space for more!
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