I am talking about the ‘urgh ‘😖 as you roll over to turn off your alarm. The lack of motivation, something I like to call the ‘can’t evens’ 😞 and, perhaps worst of all, the ‘I hate my job’ is turning into ‘FMLs’ and ‘I hate my life’
… and, did I mention, it is Wednesday?
In fact, you have the MONDAY MORNING DREAD daily, Monday to Friday and then the Sunday BLUES!
The truth is, you spend most of your life working. So, don’t you deserve to be in a career that fulfils your values, abilities and aspirations? Have a mindset that propels you, instead of hinders you?
Now for some harsh truths – being unhappy, unfulfilled and underpaid in your career will over time manifest itself into something pretty ugly. It will start to impact other aspects of your life, from your relationships to your mental wellbeing to the ability to step up in other areas, such as travel and buying a house.
I get it. You bury your head in the sand and hope for the best. But where does that get you?
In this article I take you through the areas that you can explore to pull yourself out of the CAREER SLUMP, so you can propel yourself forward – turning the CAREER SLUMP into a CAREER SLAY! (Well it is December after all…)
Overcome the career slump
We’ve identified what a career slump is – it’s that lack of motivation, struggling to get up in the morning and having that constant nagging feeling that something isn’t quite right. You feel down in the dumps and stuck in the mud.
So how can you overcome the slump?
Time to do some self-reflection
Start by thinking about your current situation – but first take yourself away to a neutral place with no distractions. I’m thinking a Coffee Shop, your bedroom or even your garden. Grab yourself a pen & paper and answer the following questions:
What aspects of my job do I enjoy?
What aspects of my role, do I just HATE? (Be honest)
What needs to change?
Who can help me?
How could I approach this with my manager?
Is there a specific individual that is causing me issues?
How do I actually feel about the job?
Am I happy with my benefit package?
Do I feel fulfilled?
How did you feel in other job roles?
It may take you a few days to answer the above, so don’t be put off. Similar to when you journal – let the first words that come to you, flow onto the page. And if you can, once you have gone through the questions, ask a friend or a relative to hear what you have to say – talking about your thoughts and feelings will help clarify the current situation.
Tip: Do you see any themes? Is there something missing? Is there something you can do?
What do you value?
Your values are the things that you believe are important. Both with your personal and professional life. They ideally should determine your priorities and they also act as a good measure to help understand where your life is going. As an insight, when the things that you do and the way you behave matches your values, life is usually great, meaning you’re satisfied and happy. But when these don’t align with your personal values, that’s when things just don’t feel right and you may feel dissatisfied and unhappy.
To find your values start by answering the below questions:
Think about a time when something bothered you. What was it exactly? And Why?
Think about a time when you have been fulfilled and happy. What was the situation? How did you feel?
Think about a time when you have been proud. When was it? What feedback did you receive?
Now start to pull out value words or find value words from answers. (Theses could be: compassion, community, family and independence, see the table below) You ideally should find around 8 to hit the sweet spot.
A little something extra to consider: How do your values match up with your managers? Or even organisation? Do they align?
What’s your personality type?
Something else I like to explore with clients, is looking at personality types. Now it is important to not get too hung up on the results however it can be interesting to explore and establish…
I like to use 16 PERSONALITIES The Myers Briggs test consists of 16 possible personality types, and even lists the career you’re suited for based on your type. It is free. It is informative. And results will give you options to do a little deep dive further, if you so wish to.
Fun fact: The 16 personality types were created by Isabel Myers and Katharine Briggs, developers of the MBTI® assessment. Myers and Briggs created their personality typology to help people discover their own strengths and gain a better understanding of how people are different.
If you are manager of a team or even just work as part of a close collaborative workforce – this will be a great team exercise – as you will be able to understand all your different personality types, how you all like to work and what strengths are in the team.
So how will all this, help you to overcome the career slump?
Doing the exercises above, is a great place to establish who are, how you feel and what you value.
Perhaps you have uncovered that you actually really love your job, the company culture and actually you just need something more challenging. So the action here, well is simple – schedule a 1:1 with your manager and let them know. If this is the case, make sure you go to your boss with an idea of what you could do and how you would approach it.
Maybe you figured out, you are feeling undervalued. You work so hard but there is no recognition. My question to you is, WHAT DOES RECOGNITION MEAN TO YOU? It isn’t always money or time off – it could be a simple ‘well done.’ Once you have figured out the meaning to you, speak with your manager … Now, if you don’t get it from them – it is worth thinking where else you can get it from.
After completing the exercises, you have a ‘OMG’ moment. You realise, oh goodness, you are not in the right job/career/company…
If it is career/job – before you jump ship make sure you explore your options. Is there an opportunity for you to do a different role in your current organisation? Is there someone who can reach out to? How about someone in HR? A different team? A different manager?
If it is everything and the company… and you are not too sure on which direction to go or you might have an idea but not sure how to take it forward – then career coaching is a great option.
And you’re in luck! Because I am a Career & Mindset Coach.
The aim of Career Coaching is to help you understand what you want, the skills you need and how you can develop. As your career coach, I will support you in making these initial step as well as:
I will look and focus on the current situation and create action goals to help you move forward.
I will assess where you are and encourage and challenge you.
Together, we will define outcomes, results and accomplishments.
I will never tell you what to do, but will support you through decision making, and give you the time and space to talk about how you’re feelings and establishing your goals.
If you would like to find out more, you can visits the CAREER COACHING page and/or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
From SLUMP to SLAY. I hope you have gained some inspiration from this post and found your own way forward.
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It was hard a decision to make. but once I had decided it was time to go from a job & Company that I fell for, to follow my own path that was more suitable for me and my career aspirations – I felt lighter, happier and energised.
The truth is, how you leave a company is just, actually, if not more important than how you enter the organisation. Yes, first impressions count but what about that lasting impression.
When you watch a film or TV programme you are gripped to how the story ended. Not necessarily how it began. Crappy endings mean bad reviews, no season renewals, no sequel and worst of all, placed in the crap pile! By the show of hands: Who wants to be in the crap pile? – that’s right, NO ONE!
My Partner, who is self-employed, has a bit of a motto: “You are only as good as your last job” and it is something that is not only quite fitting for this post, but actually rather a nice mantra to live by.
Here I tell my story of what I did in my final working days. If you are currently working your notice period, I hope this can help shape your exit strategy.
My last few weeks were tough, my brain had started to empty, I had even started to forget people’s names (OK, in my defence, they themselves had already left and I hadn’t seen them for a good few months) and I was getting excited about my new adventure…
The plan was simple. Align expectations with my line manager, deliver on the items that were deemed critical and although tough, DO NOT get involved with the office politics!
I kept my line manager in the loop, offered any assistance with reviewing CVs or being part of the recruitment process (which wasn’t accepted or in fact really my place, but the offer was there) and made sure I was available for any handovers. The management role I held, meant that I was a resource on multiple projects that were at all different stages within a project life-cycle. Knowing this I did the following:
Two group drop-in sessions for Project Managers to come along to ensure that they had the up to date version of the process and had an opportunity to bring up any critical actions
1-2-1 sessions with the individual Project Managers which gave them the opportunity to go into more specific detail and complete any relevant documentation
And finally, on this point – Each session was followed up with an email, copying in my team, my line manager and the managers of Project Managers.
Aside from the project work I was responsible for, I also had ownership with processes and some general administration. I made sure all artefacts I created were accessible and followed this up with an email. I also produced a basic handover document, which could be used as a base for a new starter – the document included the repository location, reporting details and conference ID. Although it seems simple, not everyone uses their initiative or bothers to spend the time.
As my last few days sailed by, I made sure the I’s are dotted and the T’s crossed. I made sure I swapped contact details with colleagues that I built great relationship with. I wasn’t very forthcoming with my next steps after I leave; some people like to announce their success however, it is also just fine to keep your cards close to your chest.
Departure day arrived, I sent a few emails then cleared my laptop down. After a farewell lunch, I did my rounds of goodbye, wishing people luck and success. I handed my equipment and building pass back to a trustworthy individual (my manager wasn’t in).
I gracefully stepped out the front door, where it only felt like the day before where the excitement all began.
Imposter Syndrome, something we are all too familiar with.
Have you ever felt inadequate? Suffered from self-doubt? Feared a question in meeting? Felt like you shouldn’t be in the room? Questioned why you even stepped on the career path you are on?
Then you’re not alone.
Many women (and men) experience the constant, nagging feeling they’re going to be unmasked as a fraud at any minute. Despite overwhelming evidence saying otherwise. It’s a phenomenon that blights most people – and it’s called Imposter Syndrome.
Welcome to Imposter Syndrome – the data
The term Imposter Syndrome came into my vocabulary over the last few years. Perhaps unsurprisingly since I started to progress up the career ladder. I started seeing articles in magazines and recommended reads on Linkedin. Then this year at the Best You Expo, people offering coaching for Imposter Syndrome and most recently a podcast/instagram page called The Imposters Club (find them on insta @theimpostersclub).
Psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes coined the “imposter syndrome” in 1978 when they were studying successful women who believed they were not worthy of their achievements. Their definition:
A feeling of “phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement.” These people also “live in fear of being ‘found out’ or exposed as frauds.”
The Independent study stated it found a third of millennials experience self-doubt at work, with 40% of women saying they felt intimidated by senior people, compared to 22% of men asked.
According to HR news ‘Imposter Syndrome has impacted a whopping 62% of people at work, according to a report by Access Commercial Finance. The survey of over 3000 adults in the UK shows over two-thirds of women (66%) have suffered from imposter syndrome compared to over half of men (56%) within the last 12 months’.
The Telegraph reported that research showed that 28% of working women feel like imposter syndrome has stopped them speaking in a meeting. It also found 21% have been prevented from suggesting a new or alternative idea at work, and 26% have failed to change career or role.
In a WITI article, it stated that research eventually showed a majority of people (70%) will experience imposter syndrome at some point in life, often during transitional times.
In 2011, a study published in Human Relations questioned 60,000 full-time workers on their attitudes toward male versus female bosses. 72% of those who expressed a bias towards gender, wanted a male manager. (That was back in 2011!).
In one of my most recent articles Please mind the (gender pay) gap I explored the well documented topic, of men being paid more than women. I refer to this, because I see a similar pattern. There does not seem to be an equal balance to the feelings towards Imposter Syndrome. With Women showing 10-20% higher results in feeling like a fraud then compared to men. Perhaps Human Relations has a point! Companies are very bias towards one gender, which could be impacting the behaviours and progression of women.
‘It is crucial to remember that women are not born feeling less-than. But if you are continually treated as though you are, you eventually internalise it. And this is not merely a synonym for low confidence – imposter syndrome is the logical outcome of a world that was never designed for women to be successful. It is time we stopped seeing the problem as being women’s refusal to believe in themselves and rather a world that actively refuses to believe in women’. *The Guardian Yomi Adegoke.
With the facts and figures of Imposter Syndrome explored, as a career coach I wanted to provide you with a some useful suggestions to help combat that feeling. That feeling of being a fraud.
6 Imposter Syndrome Hacks
Capture all your achievements and remember the positive results. A degree, a career change and/or running a 5K. Whether a photo around your house or on your desktop – make sure they are visible so you can see them.
Ask for feedback. Don’t be afraid to either. I like to ask for 360 feedback. It is a process where your manager, your peers and direct reports and sometimes even customers can evaluate you. Ask 3 simple questions – What should I start doing? (This will capture what you need to do) What should I stop doing? (This will give you something to work on) and What should I continue to do? (This is your positive feedback that you can save in your brag list).
Remember it is more than OK to ask questions, put your hand up and say ‘I don’t know’ – you are not expected to know everything.
Find ways to manage the Imposter Monster when it takes centre stage in your head. When you start hearing ‘You can’t’ find a way to turn that into a ‘CAN’.
Find allies both in work and in your friendship circles. When you start using self-doubting language ask your allies to use a code word like ‘pineapple’ 🍍 to bring you back in the room and capture the moment you started to doubt yourself? Perhaps at this point you may want to keep a diary so you can start to build any patterns and recognise any triggers.
Listen to podcasts, speak to friends, colleagues and family members about Imposter Syndrome. You will be surprised in how many people are willing to share their stories and you will truly realise you are not alone.
Do you have story of Imposter Syndrome? Have you been in combat with the fear of being found out? Or maybe you have suggestion on improving self doubt. Comment below your thoughts.
Would you like to explore more ways of beating the Imposter Syndrome dragon?
Working with me, as your career coach, we can build successful resilience methods to slay that dragon! I get it, I have encountered so many challenges within my career from lack of support or access to coaching, to bad company cultures with glass ceilings and, of course, the gender pay gap. All leading, to me, once experiencing and suffering imposter syndrome with self-doubt… Yet have found and grasped opportunities to slay, shine and progress.
Book your free 30 minute Discovery Call with me to find out more: