Seriously, how many of you want to quit your job and get another but are procrastinating for some reason?
Do you say to yourself: "It's not the right time, I've just come back from leave, they were really understanding when my mother died, they were generous when we had our baby, I don't want to let my team down, I'd feel like a rat leaving a sinking ship. What would I do? What else can I do? I'm too old or not old enough, haven't got enough experience, am overqualified, they paid for my Masters, my boss would bad mouth me etc. I will do it soon."
Any of those phrases resonate with you?
Why are you holding back?
The problem with this dilemma is that you are probably unhappy, getting grumpy with your family, are dissatisfied with what you are achieving, hate going to work, feeling stressed and tense and not performing in your job to the best of your ability.
In the worst case scenarios, you could end up alienating the people at work who you want to ask to give you a reference or even precipitate some performance management counselling. At the least you are increasing your chances of a stress induced illness.
What's holding you back?
It's probably The Almond Effect® - your inbuilt human survival system is mistaking the thought of changing jobs for an ambush of sabre-tooth tigers and showing up as avoidance, delay, excuses - in other words, you're resisting change and finding plenty of valid reasons to do so. Is that you?
Have you changed jobs before?
If you've moved on to other roles in the past, please think about how that worked out.
You might have been unlucky and it was not a good move. If that is the case, then the STAR suggestions are definitely for you.
If you have successfully changed jobs in the past, then in addition to STAR, think about what is the same about your current situation and what is different?
What was good about the previous move? What wasn't? What were you afraid of then, if anything, and how is that different to this time? What can you build on out of that past experience?
Use the STAR approach to sort this out
- Stop: You have to find a circuit breaker to stop the worry words from dominating your thought process.
Curiously the best way to do this is to focus on the feelings you have and put a name to what you actually are experiencing.
Naming your emotion calms down your amygdala and engages your pre-frontal cortex.
Then you can...
- Think: Once you've put your ‘almonds' on hold, now think carefully about why you are feeling the way you are.
What evidence is there to say that the feeling is justified? If there is, how much have you developed personally since the last time you changed jobs?
Considerably I am sure and now you are much better able to manage the situation and any negative impacts that you went through last time.
You stand a better chance of managing your emotions if you ...
- Act: Do something instead of justthinking about it. Set aside time to update your resume. Think about the kind of employer you would like to work for. sSan the job websites to see what jobs are out there that appeal to you. Let me know if you would like the name of someone who can help you with this.
Next, cut out or print some job ads that could interest you. Study them and highlight the parts of the job that really excite you, that you can already do and the parts that would challenge you. Make sure there are plenty of the latter.
Then start applying even if you haven't decided 10% to leave. Test yourself in the market - it might help you make up your mind what to do.
- Rewire:Every time you have either an interview that doesn't go so well or a ‘not at this time' note, review what you are doing well and what you can do differently.
If you take the time to do this and focus on thinking about and repeating the actions that are working for you, you'll strengthen those new synaptic connections which will make the whole change job process easier each time.
You can't erase the fear yet
Neuroscientists are getting closer every day to understanding how our amygdalae work and how it will be possible to eradicate bad memories.
When they can do that, we'll have the ethical question about whether we can have some neuro-cosmetic intervention to allow us to selectively inhibit our responses to certain stimuli.
Until then, if you are unhappy in your job or simply need to move on for more experience, more money and/or a fresh challenge, don't let The Almond Effect® stop you.
It evolved for us to stave off real predators not the ones you imagine will jump out at you when you hand in your notice.