You should never settle when it comes to working. Think about how long you spend at work per week. Then think about how long you’ll be spending working over your lifetime. You might be comfortable due to location, accessibility, colleague friendships but what about ambition, goals and the question of what if which we all ask ourselves.
To not settle you first need to have a goal set and understand your worth. When I first graduated I use to apply for jobs between £15-20k, non-managerial, no experience required because I was so use to seeing ‘unfortunately’ emails when I applied for anything else. I had experience in what I was applying for and due to University, I had the knowledge but the one thing I didn’t know was my worth. It took me years to build confidence and know my worth and that was due to constantly bettering myself with qualifications and by having the right colleagues in my corner to motivate me. “What do you have to lose if you apply for a £30k job”, one colleague said to me and it’s true. The con would be another ‘unfortunately’ email, whereas pros would be they see something in me to move me through the interview stage or even offer me the job.
Until I meet my goal, I never get comfortable in a job. I constantly search to see what jobs are out there. I don’t necessarily apply for them all, but it’s good to understand when during the year more jobs are available and to see what companies are doing in comparison to where you are now. As I said above, it took me a while to know my worth and now, as long as the position looks right for me and the money (including benefits) looks right for me I will shoot my shot and apply. I will only be holding myself back if I don’t.
There will be times when you know your worth and where you wish to be in life however, you might not be ready at that moment in time and that’s ok. If you think you want to be promoted or you want a certain managerial role however you’ll be readier in 2 years, do what you need to do for your CV and character to stand out in 2 years. If you hit the 2-year mark and the promotion isn’t available or there’s no job within that company you want, don’t be afraid to move on. Find a place that is willing to offer you exactly what you’re looking for. That could take a long time and out of anyone I know this, but sometimes you need to leave a position, take time out, wait and soon enough the right position will come along. If not, think about what is missing. Maybe you need a certain qualification to stand out, or maybe you are looking for work in the wrong location.
If you get to the stage where you have got everything you can out of your job and the company, ask yourself why you’re not pushing yourself further or ask yourself what your next step is. It’s easy to stick to what you know and to get comfortable within that environment. If you’re content then do what you need to do, however, if you’re sitting at work and you feel like something is missing that could be your mind telling you it’s time for a change or to be your own boss.
Be aware of who you confide in at work. Not everyone you smile at is your friend. Just as you have an end goal, someone else you work with does too, and it might just be that your goals are the same. Sometimes healthy competition is needed at work however don’t let people take advantage of you and don’t get left behind. I’ve met some genuine people in previous roles, some I now consider my closest friends, but I have seen people get double-crossed and I have seen workplaces go from sweet to sour. Keep reminding yourself work is work and home is home. Focus on yourself and remember your journey.
Statistics show we spend 13 years over a lifetime working and 11 years, 4 months staring at a screen (Huffpost Australia, 2017). That’s a huge amount of time we spend waking up and going to work repeatedly, day in, day out. Even worse if you are doing this whilst in a dead end job or in a job you can’t stand. So why allow yourself to continue living that way? Understandable in the world we life in today most of us can’t afford to just quit our jobs, make businesses, travel the world, do whatever we like (I applaud people who do). We have bills to pay, family liabilities etc; to summaries, we need money. Due to this leaving a job isn’t as easy as it sounds however life is to be enjoyed.
Spending this much time at work has a big impact on our health and lifestyle. The majority of us snack and put on weight, may have problems with management or colleges, even problems with the organisation overall. These have affects on us whether it enhances stress, triggers the lose of motivation or ambition, it happens.
Think about what you once wanted to do with your life; your deepest ambitions. Don’t settle for anything less. You may not be able to quit your job but you can move on, better your self professional and more importantly work on your happiness. If you can afford to quit your job, take time out to create a plan and draw up options in order to find something you really enjoy.
Being in a dead end job affects your mood and mental health so ask yourself if its worth your sanity. Older generations will say they have been in the same job for 20+ years but 90’s babies and below well probably go through 3-5 within the first 10 years of leaving college or university and I think its brilliant as we get a feel for what is out there, what we like and how we expect to be treated.
Don’t spend 13 years thinking what if.
- Substitute lunch breaks for time in the gym if you have a gym locally or within the building. If you have an hour for lunch, 20-30mins can be spent in the gym
- Stop snacking. This will seem impossible at first however after a week has passed it will get easier to just stick to breakfast and lunch at work.
- If you have tried and really cannot give up snacking. Swap crisps and chocolate for fruits, hummus, boiled eggs etc.
- Lower tea and coffee intake
- Get up for 10mins every hour and have a walk
- Get your whole team involved in healthy eating; possibly make it into a competition
- Early morning smoothies (homemade)
- If you live local to work, forget public transport and begin to work to & from work (for the first 2 weeks start by walking home from work)
- Find a work colleague who is willing to keep motivating you
- Add the gym to your routine before or after work a few times a week
- Manage lunch portions and the times you eat to avoid overeating
- Check your work intranet for any health or fitness weeks or competitions you can get involved in
University? Apprenticeship? Work? Unsure?
It’s ok to not know what your next step is. Even when I was at University I didn’t know. I didn’t know whether I made the right choice, whether I should have got a job and worked my way up the ladder or if I was good enough for the career I wanted. When leaving College you are guaranteed to have teachers, family, friends, even social media telling you what you should be doing. My clear and blunt advice to you is this: Don’t listen. Leaving Sixth Form, I was young and did what was expected of me; to go to University and leave with a degree. Especially being in a black household, University is seen as the only choice, as if it makes you elite. I always wondered what my life would have been like if I did what I wanted to do.
I strongly advise you to think about what you want to do with your future and work backwards. Sounds strange right? People around you will back off if they know you have a plan in place. For example, if you want to be an English teacher, do your research on what qualifications are needed and what routes you can go down. There’s always more than one way of getting to the end goal. Talk to other teachers and people within the education sector. University is not the only route for this role. Keeping with the example, you may look into Apprenticeships, Vocational courses, Volunteer work and Internships. Alternatively, you can take a year out and teach abroad (look at Gap 360). Spend time understanding the role and if its truly something you want to do. If you need to take a year out in order to find out what you want, that’s ok; you need to find your feet.
If you are thinking about University, think about the variety of courses around your chosen field. I ended up graduating from a Hospitality course but there were hundreds to chose from, from BA Event Management to BA (Hons) Travel & Tourism; some Universities offer more than others. Picking the right University for you is very important. You need to think about whether you would rather stay at home and commute, move out, go to University or do Open University. There’s so much out there. Whatever you choose, once you settle into it you’ll be looking for a sense of belonging. I went to two Universities. At my first, I was surrounded by people I already knew, loved the nightlife but I was commuting from home and felt no connection to the course or the career possibilities it would provide. When I changed University I found my sense of belonging. I knew no one there but left with new life long friends, lived on campus, got into the different nightlife and environment and loved every moment of it. The University you pick will shape your future however, like me and thousands of others you can transfer and put your studies on hold if you need to.
Be open to all options and opportunities. I’ll repeat again, start with research and stop listening to what everyone else wants from you. Be selfish and focus on yourself; only you can create the path for your future.
If you need a mentor/coach based on the topics above, please contact me directly via Let’s Talk or Instagram Solobutterflyy.
If you need assistance creating or changing your CV and with Interview techniques, please contact Mimi’s CV; Instagram mimiscvs or email firstname.lastname@example.org
“If it wasn’t for my team I don’t know how I’d survive”.
That’s a saying I’ve heard from so many around me and I’ve said too many times myself.
Whether you are part-time, 9-5 or a manager of your own company, we’ve all experiences work stress at some point but the question is, how has it affected you?
When I am worked to the bone I keep going for months then all of a sudden I’d wake up one day and say “I can’t today”. I’d lay in bed for 40mins thinking about how drained am I. My body shuts down; I get flu-like symptoms and the thought of getting up and going to work makes me sick. After 2 days I’ll feel back to my usual self and re-energised. This happens once or twice a year due to the busy environments I’ve worked in. I am not alone. I’ve known people to gain acne, rashes, sleepless nights and much more due to the pressures of working life. On top of work stress, we sometimes feel judged for taking annual leave or taking a sick day; adding more stress to the situation. Work-related stress creeps up on us in different ways, however, it’s about how we deal with it.
I was stressing over a role and industry I had no interest in. The stress of my manager, other employees and the daily tasks overall was unbearable. On top of that, I was putting pressure on myself to move jobs and begin my desired career. Due to putting up with this stress for so long I decided to stop working completely, for a month; enough was enough. Bearing in mind I’ve been in constant work since I was 17 and now I’m 25, it was hard to switch off and just do nothing. I got into part-time work that allowed me to pick my hours and I took up volunteer work. I stopped applying for jobs and looking at job sites. From this break I can honestly say I’ve never felt better; I became more focused on me and my health. Yes, I was anxious to wake up every morning without a job but I was also relieved and excited because I was open to opportunity and change.
- Try to leave work at work- As soon as you leave work, focus on you. If there’s work you have not completed, don’t dwell on it; work is not the end all. Go home, run a bubble bath, connect with friends/family/partner(s) and deal with it tomorrow.
- Fight for your annual leave- Sometimes it’s a struggle to get the days you want or you are unable to take annual leave due to a busy period at work however don’t let this stop you. Read through your contact, speak to HR if needed and make sure you make use of what work offers and make sure you know your rights in terms of annual leave and working hours.
- Unwind- Don’t be someone who gets into the pattern of work and sleep. Being outdoors whether you are casually walking around town or cycling around the park has huge mental health benefits. If being outdoors is not your thing…do what you love. If you love spending your weekend playing video games, watching movies, cooking; make sure you put time aside for this.
- Talk about it- Sometimes we love a good rant. I literally feel a weight lifted off my shoulders when I rant. I strongly advise you don’t rant to your manager or anyone you work with but, talk to your friends/family/partner(s) and let off some steam. Never bottle up your feelings otherwise you may turn into a walking timebomb at work. If the situation at work is bad and you want advice, talk to HR or occupational health, they are there for a reason.
Work is a replaceable element, always put your health first!