We’ve all heard the saying “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”. In a work context, this may mean having wistful thoughts about what it might be like to work for the company across the street.”
These thoughts often form when something is not sparking us in our current jobs. Perhaps one of the following scenarios resonates with you.…
- You looked up from your desk one day and found yourself in a role that isn’t aligned with your current career aspirations.
- You were promoted to a senior managerial position that has left you longing for the days when you were more hands-on, doing what you loved.
- You’ve achieved significant personal growth, yet you’ve remained in the same job and your employer seems unaware of the new skills you have gained outside of work.
Whatever the reason, when we aren’t leaping out of bed in the morning to earn our daily bread, our eyes may start to wander. We see stories about the “Top 100 Places to Work” and ask ourselves…what would it be like to be there?? The faces on the magazine cover look so incredibly happy!
This article challenges the assumption that recapturing your enthusiasm requires you to hand in your letter of resignation.
Coach’s Question #1:
How has your role moved away from what you most love? What choices could you make to reclaim this excitement?
I’ve known several people who have switched from well-established careers in one functional area to start afresh in another, as a result of a deliberate uncovering of their personal passion. There was no defined career path that led them there, they simply determined what it was that they were most driven to do and figured out a way to shape this role within their own organizations.
I’ve also known senior managers who redefined their roles to become individual contributors because they realized that they frankly detested managing people and saw that their managerial roles did not leverage their true strengths.
Others I’ve known have created exciting opportunities to bridge themselves to an entrepreneurial future. They did this openly, with the endorsement of their employers, so that the transition was managed at a pace that was desirable for both the employee and employer.
The enlightened company demonstrates the flexibility to help their best and brightest forge untravelled paths. These organizations are rewarded with highly engaged and productive employees who radiate a positivity that inspires others.
When I was employed as a Human Resources leader within Fortune 500 companies, I would often surprise my peers and line managers alike by saying…”it’s great to hear that the external recruiters are calling our employees… it’s when they don’t call that I start to worry!”
I would elaborate…”I want our employees to answer those calls, hear about the wonderful opportunities and then CHOOSE to stay with us. That’s when I know we’ve truly engaged them. This is true retention.”
Personally, as an entrepreneur, there’s nothing like a call from a search firm describing an enticing job to provide me with important moments of self-reflection. Having the chance to remind myself that I am truly in this by choice, not by default, fires me up again.
Coach’s Question #2:
In what ways are you consciously choosing your current role with your existing employer? If you are simply there by default, what does this mean for you?
In my Coaching work, if a client is feeling trapped, under-utilized or like a square-peg-in-a-round-hole, then we look at how they could proactively address this situation, rather than just bail out. We spend time clarifying what the ideal role would look like and then we challenge the perceived barriers of the traditional career paths and all the assumptions about what is not possible. It’s thrilling to see clients emerge with a clarity of purpose and an exciting new role. They have, in effect, ended up “re-hiring” themselves.
No question that there are times when the well thought-out conclusion is that it is best to leave the organization. Wise employers recognize that there is no value in keeping employees hostage when they would clearly flourish more readily in another environment. When employees do opt to leave, I’ve observed those who do so after thorough self-reflection and sizing up the possibilities with their current employers have much more successful transitions into their new position “on the other side of the fence”.
So, I leave you with an assignment…
OVER TO YOU…
What can you commit to doing to get clear about your ideal job criteria and to explore opportunities within your own organization that meet these criteria?
I’m interested in hearing about your reactions and learning pertaining to Focus. What have you recently stopped doing at work and how has this impacted how you are viewed by others? Send me an email with your feedback or questions to
Photo © Janet Barclay