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 Frustrated With Your Job Maybe It’s You!

By Joe Stein

The title of this week’s column may seem like blasphemy to some readers. The idea that the current dissatisfaction with your employer may be, to some degree, due to your own actions or thoughts just can’t be true. Unfortunately, this just may be the case.
It very well could be the reason you are unhappy with your job it’s not due to outside forces (such as the overall company, your supervisor, etc.), but rather yourself. If this is true, then you need to determine if that is the case prior to your job search (or at the very least, before you accept a new position).
One of the most valuable traits a person can have is self-awareness This allows a person to understand what he/she is good at (or needs improvement), what he/she likes or dislikes, what kind of co-worker he/she is, etc. This type of self-introspection is critical for a Job Seeker to truly determine whether they should leave his/her current position or even start a job search. The challenge is that reflecting on the origins of your dissatisfaction can be very difficult to do properly especially if you are going to be honest with yourself
There is a frequently used term that goes “the grass is not always greener on the other side”. How that applies for your job search is that you can’t always be guaranteed that your next position will be better, especially if you carry some of the problem issues with you.
The first part of your self-evaluation is the hardest, and that is to determine if a personal issue is driving your current work problems. This could range from a medical issue, a relationship problem, or family challenges. Whatever the driver is, it won’t go away if you change jobs. In fact, changing jobs may make things even more difficult for you, as you add the time requirements and stress of a new position.
If your self-evaluation concludes that the work issues are tied to matters outside of work, you are probably better off placing your job search on hold and focusing on resolving those personal items. This may be easier to do within the confines of the stability of your current role.
If you determine that you do not have a personal life issue driving your dissatisfaction, then it is time to focus on work. I recommend that a person outline everything that is frustrating about his/her current position and company. Next, determine how important those items are to you. For example, if you are frustrated by the PTO schedule but you never take time off, then this issue should be weighted lightly.
Once you have created and reviewed this work issue list, then you have to decide to what degree you will be able to change things with a new role. For example, if the issue is that your supervisor is tyrant, then you probably can fix this by making sure (during the interview process) that your future Manager has a more temperate personality. On the other hand, if your issue with your current job is that you are in Customer Service and you have become frustrated having to deal with customers, then a job change into a similar role won’t revolve your issue.
You may wonder what the big deal is regarding changing jobs. There is a downside to changing jobs too often, so you want to make sure that any change is for the right reasons. A savvy interviewer is going to have you walk through your work history, and will focus on periods of short tenure, or any change that does not appear to be for promotional reasons. There is a negative to “job hopping”, especially when the reason is tied to dissatisfaction (“Bad Manager”, “Horrible Employer”, or “My Co-Workers were Terrible”).
The concept is a pretty simple one. Figure out why you are dissatisfied or unhappy before your start your job search. After some self-reflection, you may be surprised to conclude that a change in jobs won’t solve the problems you are facing. If you do decide that a change in employment is in order, then you are doing so with full knowledge of what you want in your next job and what you will want to avoid when evaluating the prospective employer.
As always, best of luck in your job search.