The post over Instagram made me smirk,
“Mondays are not bad, it’s your job that is”
Later at tai chi class, I asked my Shifu for advice over stress management.
“Why do you want to MANAGE stress? Why not eliminate it?”
The question was poignant, yet vague. Stress and jobs inevitably co-existed, and the thought of dispelling such a pervasive element such as stress was clearly impossible. At the end of class, Shifu summoned me and said,
“It’s not about stress, it’s about asking yourself the right question. What is it that prevents you from enjoying what you do?”
Many of us are fraught with a besetting loyalty towards our work places (or atleast pretend to be), and procrastinate a crucial choice between the obstinacy to stay and the reasons for leaving, despite clear and conspicuous hints that point to the latter. In my career spanning more than 10 years, I have now come to realize that many (including myself), keep the faith that events will eventually conjure a positive turn, and until then do not wish to disquiet themselves. However, ‘waiting’ may only perhaps undermine opportunities for betterment elsewhere. Therefore, I have compiled a checklist of 7 must-haves, to know when it’s time to pull the plugs and move on:
- Are you progressing? Increased stress, work overtime, or an increase in salary are not indicators for progress. Always pally with professionals in the same field from other companies and make a healthy comparison. Are you given regular training, refresher courses, advanced software workshops, competitive tests? Or are you on the same level of knowledge since you started? If your answer is the latter, then this will dangerously hamper your chances outside the organisation where others with lower salaries than yourself may probably be a lot more productive than you are. This is a primary question, that must determine your reasons for staying.
- Has your Income advanced? Life and inflation are two inevitable realities that your management must acknowledge. Human needs increase and so do expenditures. If your organisation has been unable to contend with these realities, it will leave you stifled. But if you seem content with your regular annual appraisal, then its best to stay.
- Are you appreciated? Appreciation does not have to always come in a pay package. A good leader must show no diffidence when saying a few warm words of thanks to the employee. Understandably, staff are paid to face vitriolic customers, maintain pressure deadlines, and remain pleasant in the face of delayed productivity, but their steadfast loyalty is priceless, and must be acknowledged. If the CEO needs to value the goodwill of his organisation, staff appreciation must be initiated.
- Can you trust your colleagues? Your peers, whether at the noisy cubicle or at the coffee machine, form that social unit that you could be stuck with for a major part of your career or profession. No matter what your supervisor may tell you, the ‘other’ team too gets their paycheck from the same common employer, so ask yourselves are you behaving like united team mates with a common goal, or are you on a battlefield everyday with conniving, back-stabbing and deceptive players waiting to knock you down? Which sounds better: trust or insecurity?
- Work to Live: I must admit that while on my previous job, I did not even muster the time to enjoy the view of my next door neighbor’s sprightly bougainvillea, under the false notion that I was a hard worker. Our world is competitive, but if you have forgotten how to live in it, then you will have missed much. Your family, friends and health are what stays with you, during your bad times, and years after your retirement. Not all tracks are meant for running, so slow down.
- “Should be able to handle pressure”: This can be tricky. All jobs have their pressure points, that is the ability to reach designated targets within agreed deadlines. With thorough experience over time, you can overcome pressure mayhem by prioritizing the tasks in order of their importance as well as keeping required reports updated. Know when to draw the line over too many responsibilities, and when to ask for assistance or additional time. Remember to keep yourself human, and not an order taking machine.
- Do you like what you do? Last but not least, this is an integral question that we must ask ourselves. Did you give up your dreams for this profession, or is it vice versa? Once the initial basic needs have been met – loan paybacks, mortgage, family support, education, etc, you need to appraise your talents and live out what you have been born to do. It could be a path less taken, it could involve risks, you could even end up alone. But the attempt will assuredly be rewarding. Remember, that any dream can be successful, all you need to do is wake up.