Monday, April 19, 2010

Getting fired - part 3

How to fix the problem: another job?

In the previous part, we discussed that working just hard enough, accompanied with looking like you are working hard, can prevent you from getting fired as long as the reason for being fired is specifically addressed to your achievements. But what if that reason is something else?

Companies can fire you for whatever reason they want, I'm not talking about that right now. I want to go into detail about those cases where you're stuck in a job that's slowly pulling you down. Those cases where you made a wrong career choice, that has a negative effect on your life.

It can happen to all of us. The job market is saturated with fancy job descriptions and most people don't understand what they mean anymore. I think they do this deliberately, to hide the fact that the jobs they offer might not be so interesting. As long as it sounds awesome or as long as it has a good title associated with it, people will respond to the job-opening.

I'm here to tell you, that you might have taken one of those jobs and you might have been wrong. Yes, we are still human beings and we can make mistakes. It's not very difficult to admit a mistake like that, the problem lies in understanding and seeing that you made a mistake. After all, they didn't fire you yet, so you must be doing something right.
Other excuses that cloud your judgement, might be:
  1. As long as I have work, I don't have to worry...
  2. I'll get to like this job, once I get better at it...
  3. As long as I get paid, I'll do anything...
  4. I need to support my family, I can't afford to be unemployed right now. I better work harder to keep my job, whether I like it or not.
  5. <Insert anything here>, whether I like it or not.
  6. There are no jobs available like this right now... I better wait.
  7. It'll be better once I get that promotion.
  8. I studied <X>, so I can't do <Y> as a job...
  9. ... (I bet you can think of more valid excuses, maybe you use a good one yourself?)

Are you in the wrong career?

If some of the excuses in the previous paragraph sound familiar or if you use another one yourself, than that's a good indication for knowing you're in the wrong career or job.

Another indication is how you go to work every morning. If you have to drag yourself out of bed every day, to get ready for work... that's another clear indication that you're in the wrong job. If you keep doing something you don't like or something you're not good at and can't or don't want to become good at, then you'll be tired every day. You'll know what crappy project awaits at work, so it takes a lot of effort to get out of bed in the morning. You worked hard trying to understand a difficult assignment, only to be progressing at a slow pace. That will in turn make you very tired in the evening.

Another way of looking at jobs

This brings me to the following: 'Don't get good at something you don't want to do'.

Remember that, it's important.
If you keep with your job, even if you don't like it, you might become good at it. This is a bad thing, because then you'll always have to do a job like that. Even if you get good at it, it will keep making you tired. You'll still feel like you are not where you're supposed to be and it will still bother you.
The way I see it, you have 2 options:
  1. Find a job you actually love or at least like, so it's negative impact on your life is as minimal as possible or find a job that gives you benefits that cancel out the bad things associated with a job.
  2. Find a job where you can learn stuff you could use if you ever wanted to start your own bussiness or where you can learn stuff that enriches you or gives you knowledge you can use in other aspects of your life.
Why should we look at jobs like working for someone else? Why not change our view and look at jobs like they are tools that enrichen our minds or get us closer to our personal goals. Those personal goals can be to start your own business or perhaps to retire early? Or maybe you would like to travel and see the world? You could do that, for example, by getting a job as a reporter or a wildlife photographer? All it takes is determination and the willingness to look at your career from another angle.

I do have to mention that, people who want to start their own business, are always in the wrong career, no matter what job they choose. They will never belong, except in their own business. If you dream about your own shop, you'll feel great when you have it. You'll never feel great if you don't have it. But in order to get it, you need money. That money can be obtained through a regular job, working for someone else. There might be other ways, but this is the most commen and easiest way.
But even though the job you have to do isn't what you want to do for the rest of your life, you can turn it into a positive experience. Look at it from another angle. Become one of category 2!

How? Choose a job that resembles what you want to do as an enterpreneur. That way, you can learn from their mistakes, in stead of making your own.

Taking action

If by now, you still don't know whether you're in the right career or not, I can tell you that you aren't! Every job has it's bad moments, don't let that fool you. But if you want to belong to 1 of the 2 categories in the previous paragraph, you need to take action and find the new job of your dreams or the new job you need.

This is what I have done:
  • writing down the positive parts about my current job
  • writing down the negative parts about my current job
  • find all jobs available for my degree and try to match as much positive parts as possible to that job <- This is where I could improve, by looking beyond my degree.
  • ask a lot of questions in the job interview, to find out whether those positive parts are there
  • turn the conversation in the employers favour and take the job anyway <- You should not do this! It's where I fail so far.
So this is what I should be doing(*) for my next job search:
  • write down the positive parts
  • write down what experience I could use to improve myself
  • match those values to ANY job available in my region
  • deny a job that doesn't meet the requirements
If you do that, you'll have a harder time to find a job, but an easier time to like and keep a job. It's the long and difficult road to finding the job you love.

(*) I did say 'should', because I kind of belong tho the second category and I have other plans now, which I will explain some day in another post.


So now you know that you could be in the wrong career and that this is what makes you feel bad at your current job. It makes you perform under your personal standards and will either get you fired some day or keep you miserable for the rest of your lives if you adapt to the situation every time.
I also talked about finding a job you like or looking at jobs in terms of tools. In the next part, I'll tell you all about actually getting fired and how you should react.