This is a question faced by many of us during the course of our career. In fact, it’s one that I’m facing right now with Queer Careers. I set up this business to offer my support to those needing careers support and especially those within the LGBTQ+ community. Despite having been a Careers Adviser for over 23 years, and I bloody good one at that, it seems that no-one needs what I can offer at this time. But then the other question comes into play, ‘Is it me or is it them?’ So, rather than make any rash, and quickly regretted, decisions, I needed to think carefully about what was going on and what the most informed choice would be to make.
With this is mind, I started to frame the ‘is it me?’ question and work things through systematically.
1. Am I charging too much?
2. Is my marketing strategy reaching my target audience?
3. Am I selling my strengths and services effectively?
4. Are people put off by my photo or bio on the web site?
And then the ‘is it them?’ questions:
1. Can they find me when they look for me?
2. Do they need what I am offering?
3. Have they found the same service cheaper or better elsewhere?
Finally, ‘is it worth the effort?’
1. Am I willing to put in the time and effort to improve my marketing promotions?
2. Am I willing to invest more money to employ someone to do the marketing for me?
3. Am I willing to invest more time into blog writing and other site content?
Within the course of everyone’s career, it’s likely that questions and doubts have arisen. It could be that you’re unhappy in your current job, you’re bored with what you’re doing, you didn’t get the promotion you wanted, the workload is getting to be too much, you don’t get on with your colleagues or your boss or a million other reasons. This is now being exacerbated by the pandemic, everyone’s under extra pressure and something must change.
Often in this moment, most people’s first thought would be to look for a new job. But new jobs are hard to come by right now, so what are your other options? Here’s a list of things you should consider before jumping ship. But let’s separate them into the same three categories as above.
1. Have you prioritised your workload effectively? Here’s a strategy that I’ve used successfully in the past:
o Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
o Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
o Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
o Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).
2. Are you making the most of the training and professional development opportunities that the company offer?
3. How good a colleague are you? Try to be the sort of colleague you’d want to have. Support, empathise and listen to others which in turn will increase your confidence and leadership skills.
4. Do you always say yes? Remember it’s okay to say no sometimes, as long as you can politely justify why.
5. Are you currently working in the most efficient manner or could you streamline how you do things a bit better?
6. Is there a time of day when you are more or least productive? Could you negotiate your hours with your boss to take this into account?
7. Could you offer to help train new staff as a way of improving your own skills whilst also making our own day more varied and interesting?
1. Does your team share the workload according to each other’s strengths? If not, why not? Everyone is more efficient when they are working to their strengths, so it makes sense to do this.
2. Is it possible to request a transfer to a different team, shift or branch?
3. Are there others in your team who could help you with your workload – admitting things are getting too much is not a sign of weakness. Being honest and communicating openly is a strength. Admitting that things are not working will ultimately improve your productivity rather than leaving you buried under the pressure of it all and trying to cope on your own.
4. Are there particular people who are making your time at work difficult? If so, try to distance yourself from them by concentrating on your work, but try to seek out the good people around you. Together they will give you the strength and confidence to cope with any negativity.
1. Is the job providing you with skills and experiences that could help you progress?
2. If further training is offered do you have the motivation and interest to complete it?
3. Is this job just for the money or is it part of your long-term career plan?
If you feel that you have done everything within your control to manage and change the situation for the better, but something is still not right, then perhaps it is time to move on. But always, whenever possible, hang on until you have something else to go to.
But if you answer some of these questions honestly it could be that there are things that you and your manager could do to improve the situation and this will ultimately make you more productive and both of you happier.