Beat your career blues | Sunday Observer

Beat your career blues

18 July, 2021

If you talk to ten people, nine of them will say they are not happy with their jobs. That is the conclusion of Richard Germann, a career management consultant with 25 years of experience. When you start doing a job, you should be able to enjoy it. However, in a country where you cannot get a job easily, you are forced by circumstances to accept any job that comes your way. As a result, you will meet graduates working as ordinary clerks or messengers.

With his GCE O/L results a young man managed to get a job in a government department as a clerk. He was posted to a difficult area where he could not even find a place to stay. His job was to open the letters that come by post and sort them out to different trays. Then he entered the details in a register and placed all the letters on his boss’s table. He had to do such a menial job as he could not find a better job with his qualifications.

After a few years he managed to get a transfer to Colombo. An inner voice told him to pursue higher education. After attending private classes for a few years he earned an external degree from a university. Then the much-awaited break came and he left his job and joined a firm that offered him a higher salary and other perks. Liking your job is essential for success. Those who do not enjoy their work are doomed to fail. The question arises why so many people are unhappy in their jobs. There seems to be two primary reasons. Some people think that earning a living is a waste of time because they cannot enjoy themselves while working.

However much you earn, your job demands your time and energy. You will feel that your freedom is curtailed to a great extent. But without doing a job you cannot survive today. The only alternative is to gather more qualifications in your spare time to get a better job.

When you are stuck in a routine job, your self-esteem will be at an all-time low. While all work and no play is bad, all play and no work can be disastrous. We need to accomplish something in our life despite mounting difficulties.

Prevalent reason

The second and perhaps more prevalent reason for people not to like their work is that they feel trapped. Once you have been at a company or government department for several years and have a spouse and children to feed, you often feel that you have very little choice about jumping ship if things are not turning out the way you want.

A steady income can be the biggest manacle of all. Most people resent having to do an unpleasant job because they have no other choice.

If you find yourself trapped in a job you do not like, it is time for you to wear a “cyanide capsule”. This is a piece of advice given by a career counsellor in a humorous way. You can remember how a terrorist comes with such a capsule hidden somewhere on his body to accomplish his task. If he is captured or tortured, he has an option. Having an option gives him the strength to hold on a little longer in the hope that the situation may change.

Rather than a cyanide capsule, your option takes the form of an up-to-date resume. Glance through the advertisements in newspapers and see whether you can apply for any of the vacancies.

By reading advertisements you come to know what kind of qualifications employers are looking for. After gaining the necessary qualifications, you can keep on applying for jobs until you succeed. This you should do without leaving your current job. If things get unbearable at work, you have only one option. That is to leave your job for good. I have met several people who had left their jobs and found better positions elsewhere. Everything depends on your commitment and tenacity.

Positive attitude

If you do not wish to leave your current job, adopt a positive attitude to what you are doing. Assume responsibility for your own situation. According to a career management consultant, you have to learn how to get what you want. Always remember that nobody will come to help with your career blues. Everything is up to you to initiate a change.

It is always good to fantasize about your dream job. I knew of a teenager who was studying science for the GCE A/L examination displaying a board in his study “I am a doctor.” He always wanted to be a doctor even when he was a child. He obtained very good results at the examination and was selected to the medical faculty.

Without such a goal, you will easily feel depressed at school or at work. To fantasize about your dream job, break it into small segments. When you are sitting the GCE A/L examination, be positive that you will pass it with flying colours. At the medical college, make it a point to do your studies better than others. When you become a doctor, try to continue your medical studies further.

As a clerk in a government department, Joseph had to write reports regularly. While doing so, he tried to master the art of report writing. When he was asked to write a project report, he surprised his superiors by doing a good job.

His writing skills opened a whole new area in his career. From writing project reports he moved on to the advertising field and became a copywriter. He knew the art of making his words and sentences glow and attract customers for various products.

Space and time

Some young recruits start taking work home regularly during the week. Soon, the weekends will become nothing more than office hours. Finally, work becomes the ill-mannered guest that takes up more and more space and time.

Very soon you will realize that you do not have a private life apart from work. While doing your job, look out for success outside of work. In your leisure time, indulge in hobbies and be in touch with your friends.

Try to improve your skills further by following appropriate courses. While doing so, change your attitude towards others. You need to learn the art of getting along with your colleagues and superiors. You need not be friendly towards everybody, but be courteous in your dealings. When somebody smiles, smile back. If you initiate positive interaction, you invite a positive reaction.

Even if you are dissatisfied with your job, never lapse into a pattern of complaining about your job, your boss or the weather. Start talking to people in a positive way. All this can be done with a change of attitude. You have got nothing to lose and everything to gain by changing your attitude towards people and work. A wise man has said, ‘attitude’ is the most important word in the dictionary.

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