As you may know, I am a professional Career Coach. I help professionals find meaningful employment for a living. But coaching during a pandemic has been a huge learning experience for me. Apart from the fact that I’ve transitioned completely online, I’ve also been listening to the stories of dissatisfied professionals from all over North America, and paying close attention to some common themes.
One theme in particular that I’d like to focus on is this:
Workplace stressors that existed before the pandemic have now intensified because of the pandemic.
What does that look like in real life? Here are some common examples:
Conflict and communication problems with your boss and team have gotten worse since going online
You are expected to accomplish more in your job without getting a pay increase
You feel unsupported, unappreciated, and out of touch with your team of coworkers
You feel stressed out and burnt out, with little motivation to spare
And the list goes on…
Yet, in response to these stressors, many of the professionals I’ve talked to are sitting tight instead of leaving their jobs. For them, job security and financial stability are paramount, so they intend to ‘wait it out’ until the pandemic job market gets better.
THE RISKS OF WAITING THINGS OUT
If this scenario describes you, then I applaud you for holding on this long. It has been a tough year and you need to decide for yourself when it feels safe to leave your job.
However, I also want to highlight the risks involved in waiting things out, if that’s what you intend to do.
In my experience, most people who want to leave their jobs do not plan an exit strategy well in advance. They do not make preparations beforehand. As a result, all the stress of preparing for a job search gets piled on top of the stress of executing a job search! And that just makes their burnout worse.
So is there a better alternative to ‘waiting it out’? Yes, there is.
PLAN YOUR EXIT STRATEGY
What’s needed is a transition plan so that when the time comes to exit your current job, you will be able to hit the ground running, instead of just hitting the ground! (sorry for the painful metaphor :) Anyway, what might this solution look like for you? Among other things, being job search ready means:
Getting very clear about the work you would like to do next
Updating and fine-tuning your resume and LinkedIn profile
Networking with professionals who work in your desired field
Learning how to tell impactful stories that highlight your top career skills, so you can market yourself to future employers in interviews
YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO IT ALONE
Yes, I know. This is a lot of work in advance. This can feel daunting, especially if you already feel burnt out and reticent to add anything else to your plate.
But here is the good news: you don’t have to do it alone. And doing it in small manageable steps, months in advance, is preferable to doing a rushed job of it just before handing in your letter of resignation.
It may sound simplistic to say, but doing your job search is not the same thing as being ready for your job search. So trust me – by getting ready now, you’ll feel much happier in your next role and find it much more quickly. That saves you time, money, and needless heartache – which your future self will thank you for!