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Ten Signs Your Job Doesn’t Deserve You

August 21st, 2013 Posted in Lifestyle

Human beings are creatures of habit. We’ll tolerate a bad situation waaaaay longer than we should, and then, once we’ve woken from our stupor and noticed that the water in the pot around us has gotten close to the boiling point, we’ll ask “Why the heck did I put up with that for so long?”

We fall into ruts very easily.

I stayed in a horrible job one time. I stayed so long that when I woke up in the morning, my jaw ached from grinding my teeth all night.

I told my husband, “First I hated the job. Now I hate myself for staying there.”

He said “Why don’t you quit this week?”

I did. A million-lb. weight came off my shoulders, even though I had no idea what I would do next. The next thing can’t appear, after all, while we’re clinging to the old, moldy one!

Here are ten signs that your current job in no imaginable way deserves your gifts. If you recognize a few of these red flags in your own situation, don’t panic!

You don’t have to quit your job this week. You can launch a nice, slow, leisurely Stealth Job Search (about which I’ll say more in a column shortly. One thing at a time) and start taking steps to get into a job where the people get you and thus deserve what you bring.

Do any of these warning bells sound familiar?


1. They don’t tell you what’s going on.

You can’t bring your best to your job (or give a hoot about it, for that matter) when you don’t know Jack about the larger picture. If the leaders you work for don’t think it’s worth their time to keep you in the loop with the organization’s direction, its progress and obstacles, your own career path in the place and other vital information, you are casting your pearls before swine.

2. You keep doing the same thing over and over.

Both your marketability and your mojo grow when you have a chance to try new things. Perhaps you’ve heard the old adage (in the form of a question): “So, have you got twenty years of work experience, or one year’s experience repeated twenty times?” If you keep doing the same things over and over, your brain goes to sleep and your professional muscles atrophy. If that’s what you’re up against on the job, your virtual career advisor hereby nudges you to take your talents elsewhere.

3. That’s okay, you don’t have to thank me.

Human beings run on food, water and sleep, but we also need to hear occasionally that we’ve done something right (especially when we know we’ve worked miracles on the job). If the leaders at your workplace throw compliments around like manhole covers, the energy is broken and you’re wasting your time.

None of us expects to be overwhelmed with praise, but people who are stingy with positive feedback (or even personal thanks, when you’ve saved your CEO’s ass for example) are not people who want to see you blossom. Move on.

4. How dare you have an idea?

There are fearful managers in the working world who will bristle, tense up and otherwise communicate “Back off!” when you dare to suggest a process improvement or offer a new idea. You can’t stay in a place like that. Your fertile brain is working all the time, and the worst thing you can do is to tell it “Hush!” You need your idea-machine on full steam, whether your current bosses want to hear your suggestions or not.

If your ideas at work are met with stony silence or (worse!) the bored yawn that screams “Why don’t you just go back to your desk and let ME have the ideas?” you’ve been handed a signal from God to get to a place where people can see and value what you bring them.

5. Something does not compute.

Ever since the recession hit five years ago, certain opportunistic organizations have taken the position that even if the firm is making money, salary increases will be small or nonexistent. That’s ridiculous, because if the company is making money, the employees should see it in their paychecks eventually.

If you know your employer has had a great year and your own salary level lags, bring up the topic of a pay adjustment. If you already know what the answer will be such that your gut says “Don’t bother,” you can easily update your resume this weekend.

6. You’re in the Personal Growth Desert.

Not all of us are up for constant challenge and experimentation, but even fewer people are comfortable on the other end of the personal-growth bell curve, desiring nothing in the way of personal development. If your job is turning your brain to jelly and has you feeling stuck or sliding backward, then they can’t pay you enough to compensate for the damage they’re inflicting.

This new-millennium workplace is all about your portable marketability. No one will sympathize with you on your next job hunt if you say “It’s not my fault I’ve stagnated – my last boss didn’t give me any room to grow.”

Your development is your responsibility now. If your current job doesn’t give you the learning experiences you need, there are plenty of other employers to choose from.

7. This rock is getting kinda heavy.

Some of us (and you know who you are) love to wade into a swamp of alligators and fix everything around them. Sometimes it takes years to realize that you’ve been pushing a huge rock uphill, meaning that the people around you don’t want to change anything, including their thinking. When things get really bad, they’ll try to make you think you’re crazy for wanting to innovate and experiment.

Our Buddhist friends say life is long, but it’s still too short to spend it pushing other people’s rocks up steep slopes day after day. Let the rock fall, get out of Dodge, and realize your potential.

8. I like a good shipwreck as much as the next person, but…

God Bless your company founder or your boss’s boss’s boss or whomever is trying to make a go of a business that probably wouldn’t even be in business without the fanatical devotion of you and your colleagues. Sometimes the universe wants you to leave a sinking ship to its fate. You are not being paid to give body, mind and soul to somebody else’s vision. The last thing you want to say to a future prospective employer is “I stayed around to turn the lights off.” If the ship is obviously sinking, we give you permission to blow up a raft and get out of there.

9. You work for slimebags.

I tried to find a nicer word than “slimebag,” but why sugar-coat? If the people you work for aren’t ethical, you’re doing yourself and the world a disservice taking their slimebag money and pretending it’ll all work out okay.

Hit the bricks and find an organization where the leaders aren’t on the phone with their lawyers half the working day. The last thing you want to be forced to do is explain why your executive team got indicted and your ex-employer’s name is all over the news for bad reasons.

10. Your body says “Go.”

Your body is the final judge. If you’re waking up with an aching jaw the way I was or you start to get pains and can’t sleep, there’s your answer: it’s time for you to bail. Don’t let the fear of trying something new keep you stuck in an unhealthy situation. Life is all about learning, and the sooner you put your Stealth Job Search toe in the water, the happier you’ll be.

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