Tag Archives: job hunt

How To Get Unstuck from a Job You Hate

I receive a lot of emails from folks about feeling stuck in jobs, marriage, and money situations. Of late the bulk seem to go like this: ” Help! I hate my job!! I need to get out here asap! What can I do?”  So today, we focus on getting unstuck from a job you hate.

The first thing you have to do is dial back the hate big time. I know, I know you deserve to kick and scream and vent. But I’m here to tell you after 18 years in the recruiting business, hating your job won’t help you find something better. Sorry to ruin the pity party but it’s true. Now don’t think I’m getting all “judge-y” with you. Heck, I fell into that trap myself. I hated my job as a lawyer from day two and I stayed there hating and telling everyone that I hated it for two whole years. All that hating just made me feel stuck, unable to move forward and very miserable.

We see this phenomenon in other areas of our life. Dr John Gottman, founder of the Gottman Institute has performed decades of research on couples’ relationships.  Gottman has found 4 kinds of negativity , which he calls “the four horsemen of the apocalypse”. The research shows that  4 horsemen literally destroy relationships. They include:

  1. Criticism;
  2. Contempt;
  3. Defensiveness; and
  4. Stonewalling.

So what does couples research have to do with job search and career fulfillment? Well, as it turns out, quite a bit.

Criticism and contempt are often present in individuals thinking about or undergoing a job search.  With criticism, it is certainly easier to focus on what’s wrong with our employer or boss. Contempt rears its ugly head in all sorts of ways including sarcasm, cynicism, put-downs.  Defensiveness and stonewalling seem to run rampant in the workplace.  God forbid we take responsibility for our situation and communicate!

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So how do we get past the 4 deadly horsemen and get unstuck?

Again, we can learn from Gottman’s research. One of the first things Gottman does is to challenge couples to communicate 5 positive comments for every negative one. Try it in your relationship; it’s not so easy!.

For me, the career lesson learned was that when I stopped criticizing and hating my job, things began to shift in my work life. No, it didn’t magically change, gates didn’t fly open and birds didn’t start chirping from the heavens above, but things did shift and eventually change dramatically.

So this week when you catch yourself hating on whatever, I challenge you to try “the Gottman”and see what starts to unfold.

And as always, if you would be so kind as to share your story/struggle/advice with others below, we’d be most grateful. Heck, you might even help someone get unstuck!

With Love,
Patty Comeford Adams

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Filed under Self Help

What employers really want…

headhunter book cover

Having been in the search business for many years, I’m often asked what employers really want. While the demand for certain skills often change, there are a number of key personal attributes which never go out of demand. Today we focus on five:

1. Good Common Sense:  Yes, you read that correctly: good common sense. I can’t tell you the number of times a client has specified that a job candidate “have a good head on his/her shoulders”. Sounds like something your parents or grandparents would say, doesn’t it? Well, they were spot on. I haven’t met an employer yet who wasn’t looking for it and that’s not going to change anytime soon.

2. Ability to play well with others:   Organizations are doing lots more with way less. This is where the ability to play well with others comes in.   Employers tell us that they simply don’t have the time nor inclination to iron out conflicts, turf wars or just deal with plain old immaturity. So even if you can’t stand that co-worker of yours one more minute, do your best to ignore it, rise above it and demonstrate your ability to work well with individuals at all levels in the organization.

3. Strong social skills:  This may seem strange at first but given we are in a service economy, the ability to build relationships and market is a key skill.  Lawyers, doctors, bankers…they are all expected to market to and develop prospective clients. Employers are even  evaluating new grads on social skills.   So while once upon time it was all about grades and class rank,  employers today  view proven social skills as a prerequisite to long-term success.

4. The ability to “Manage Up”: Roseanne Badoski, former executive assistant to Jack Welch,  coined this phrase in her book aptly named Managing Up.   It’s a brilliant concept.  In essence, she believes that to truly succeed , you need to go above and beyond the tasks assigned to you so that you can enhance your manager’s work. In other words, it is your job to anticipate your manager’s needs and make him/her shine, not the other way around.  It’ s  your job to present possible solutions and not just problems to your boss.  By Managing Up, you not only make your employer look good  but also become indispensible. Not bad, eh?

5. Dependability:  In this economy, I am always shocked to hear that employers struggle with this issue. Webster’s dictionary defines “to depend “as placing reliance or trust in another. Employers often describe it a little more bluntly:  “Doing what you say you will do”. In other words, if you accepted a job, your employer is depending on you to show up on time. If your employer assigned a project to you, that means you will get it done in a timely fashion. If your employer….well, you get the idea.

So, let’s say you have some or even each and every one of these traits.  How do you convey them to a prospective employer without sounding obnoxious? One very effective way is to have your references convey this on your behalf. Typically references struggle with what to say anyway; so a little coaching on the above goes a long way. Another way is to convey them in a behavioral interview setting or bring them up yourself as some of the  strengths you possess. Last but not least, you can work them into your cover letter instead of  typical boiler plate language.

Always Remember…You’re Never Stuck ,

With love,

Patty Comeford Adams

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