I met with a job seeker recently who was in the midst of a miserable job experience. Perhaps you can relate. You may dread going to work at your current employer.
Sometimes it can feel like you are trapped by a bad work situation, but you aren’t … if you take steps to escape.
- Decide if your work situation is really that bad or if you have let office gossip taint your perspective. Also consider if you are letting a fixable problem fester instead of doing something about it. Don’t skim over this guidance … and don’t take the good aspects of your job for granted.
Make a list of what’s good and bad about your job and tally it up. Does the good outweigh the bad? If yes, then consider sticking with it and improving the situation. Jobs are hard to come by so don’t take leaving your job lightly, but if the bad outweighs the good or if you are in a crisis situation where you feel you could lose your job any minute …
- Commit to fully engaging in a stealth job search … a search you keep on the down low so it won’t jeopardize your current employment. Note that I said “commit.” That’s important. Many miserably employed people are immobilized by fear or procrastination and don’t take action … staying in a bad situation for years … all the while losing their confidence, energy and joy. Stop that!
Prepare now for opportunities that will come … it will build your confidence and restore your hope for a better career. One great way to prepare is to reach out to recruiters who specialize in your field or industry. Here’s how.
- Refocus your mind from your bad job drama to the pursuit of a passion. Take salsa dancing … design jewelry … build a bookshelf … write a book … do something to free your mind from negativity (which can only make your work situation worse and make you less attractive to hiring companies).
Pursuing such a passion may even lead you to a new business or career, but even if it doesn’t, it can help you see that your job predicament is not your whole world.
- Complete an action plan to determine the job you want and how to land it. Visit the Getajobtips.com Free Downloads page to find a Career Search Action Plan, as well as a Career Search Checklist and other free printable resources.
- Carefully let the right people know that you are job seeking:
Don’t tell your coworkers that you are unhappy or job seeking. The word will spread quickly and can be used against you.
Don’t broadcast your job search or air your dirty laundry on your LinkedIn status bar or in LinkedIn group discussions, or on your Facebook wall, or any other social media site. Social networking can be useful, but if you want to remain employed while job seeking, communicate privately and confidentially to individuals who can help you; never in an open forum.
Do un-friend bosses and coworkers on Facebook and make your Facebook wall private if your conversations there could hurt your job prospects. Note: People do not receive a notice that you un-friended them, but they may notice they can no longer view your wall. Explain to them that due to problems you’ve had with the site, you’ve curtailed your activity on it.
Do disconnect with bosses and coworkers on LinkedIn if you plan to markedly change your status or join job seeking groups.
Here’s how to disconnect from someone on LinkedIn:
- Log onto LinkedIn and visit the person’s profile.
- Click the triangle next to the blue “Send a Message” button near the top.
- Select Remove Connection.
Note: People do not receive a notice that you disconnected from them, but they may see your name in the “People You May Know” box on your Home Page as a potential person to connect with. Be ready to express surprise if they invite you to re-connect and comment that they thought they were already connected to you.
- Do temporarily change your LinkedIn settings to not show your profile updates (otherwise your connections will receive a notice of these activities in their network updates).
Here’s how to keep your profile changes private:
- Go to your Edit Profile page.
- On the right sidebar, look for the white box that reads, “Notify your network”.
- Click the down arrow and select “No, do not publish changes”. Note that I typically leave this option turned off, but you may want to change it to “Yes, publish changes” after you have completely finished profile edits to alert your network about your recent updates and career aspirations.
- Do contact people who can help you. Send them your resume, tell them what kind of job that you seek, ask them to refer you for positions, and to send you job leads. Keep in touch so that they know your status and that you still want their help. Also remember to help those who help you by sending them job or business leads, by referring business to them, and by talking them up to their potential customers.
- Improve yourself on your current company’s dime … This is a win/win deal for you and your company. Figure out your weaknesses … the things you need to improve before other companies will hire you and gain that knowledge now. Take classes, learn new software, ask an accomplished coworker to teach you things, etc. By learning new skills, you will become a better worker for your current company and perhaps, a more qualified candidate for a better internal job.
- Become a leader in your field on LinkedIn by sharing your knowledge … Determine what aspects of your field you are most qualified to share wisdom. For example, if you are a fundraising professional who has been involved in a capital campaign, share that knowledge in relevant LinkedIn group discussions.
A friend of mine became a thought leader on fencing, a sport that had been his passion for years. In a similar way, I was always good at helping friends get work, so I started sharing job tips on LinkedIn. From there the blog was born.
It’s easy to participate in a LinkedIn group … simply join a group, get accepted and either create your own posts or respond to other people’s posts. Making these efforts can make a huge difference in how people perceive you. I toiled at progressive communications positions for 20+ years, but it wasn’t until I started participating in discussion groups that peers noticeably began perceiving me as a communications leader.