Why does it seem like you no longer fit in a job you have spent years doing? When you start dreading work Sunday night, and by Tuesday you can’t wait for the weekend. This career path you have chosen doesn’t have the view you expected and it’s time to try something different.
The last thing you want is to completely jump ship without finding where the leak is. Stopping to assess what is happening is about finding focus, uncovering the good under all the bad and evaluating what you want. Overwhelm and frustration puts up a mirror where you can’t see the whole picture. Especially if it’s a funhouse mirror distorting your view. Getting clear about what is working and not working will drastically reduce your overwhelm and frustration. Now you are able to better focus on what’s going on in the short term and how to start planning for the long term.
From Fuzzy to Focused
When you’re feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, you begin to lose focus on reality. Sometimes, the smallest thing can seem like a huge deal and losing your cool starts to happen at the drop of a pin. When you don’t have a handle on what is causing your overwhelm and frustration, it can be hard to get out of the spiral.
The only way to stop spinning is to stop spinning. It may seem a bit disorienting at the start, like the dizziness that follows after a ride on the Tilt-a-Whirl, yet, the only way to get grounded is to step off the ride.
When you find yourself not being yourself at work, it’s time to intentionally start to notice what is going on. Ask yourself – write it down even – what it’s working for you anymore? Are you hating the long commute? Are all the meetings driving you batty? Is the company direction less clear since the VP left? Whatever you notice about your work environment, start making a note.
Change the Direction of Your Energy
We can get stuck in the negative, especially when overwhelmed. We also can’t do much about it until you know what you want to change that into. Simply knowing what doesn’t work isn’t very helpful.
Once you know what isn’t working and you write it down on your list, have a shot at identifying what would work. Is it the opposite? Or slightly different? Start noticing how you feel about what could work.
Begin to shift your energy away from what isn’t working to what working looks like.
“Though no one can go back and make a brand-new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”
The Whole Picture
Bringing down the anxiety starts to create more focus. With more focus comes a more realistic view of what is currently going on at work. There are many positives getting over-shadowed. When all you’re focused on is not puking on the Tilt-a-Whirl it’s isn’t hard to lose sight of the whole picture.
Take some time to notice the things which are working well. Add those to your list of things you want in your work life (and in most other areas of your life). When you are starting to notice things at work aren’t working for you, this simple list is key to assessing your next step.
Before you leave your current job, take inventory and see what important things are lacking.
This is the step that most folks forget when all they can see is that something else has to be better. They make a break from where they are and land in the same type of job, with the same type of people and the same problems. Remember, wherever you go, you take yourself with you. Ensuring you’re grounded keeps you moving in the right direction.
Details bring clarity to your situation. And when you tackle the uncertainty about how you feel, your overwhelm will come down. Start with what isn’t working and from there you can change it into what will work. Now with a plan, you can start to bring more of that into your life.
A re-invention, or career renovation, can be as big or small as it needs. There is no point tearing down the house if all you need is a coat of paint. Assessing and uncovering what is working is foundational to designing your own beautiful renovation.