Before I became an author, speaker and career coach, I experienced career heartbreak with positions in both the federal government and private sector. I accepted information technology-related positions expecting innovative work, great work environments and excellent leadership, but more often than not, I was disappointed.
For five years, I worked in a job with a very high staff turnover rate. In my time there, I had four different managers. My morale was very low, and my desire to act as a change agent had diminished by the third year. I knew I needed to make a change. I decided to check myself into Career Rehab.
So, what is "Career Rehab"?
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Career Rehab is both a state of mind and a plan of action designed to lead to career restoration and renewal. In simple terms, Career Rehab is taking control of your career and applying resilience amidst poor career experiences. Career Rehab enhances your ability to cope when you dislike your co-workers, work assignments, management team, commute, compensation or some other aspect of your work. I got tired of crying and complaining about how I hated my job, and one day, I decided to do something about it.
Below, I have outlined four ways I was able to get out of my slump through Career Rehab.
In my former work life, I often felt under-utilized, so I began to journal my thoughts and feelings about that job I hated. I also thought about what I'd love to do in a job that allowed me to leverage my talents and creative interests. I recognized my love for web design, social media marketing, writing and photography, and I also began taking on detailed assignments that allowed me to utilize my passions and gifts. I became my organization's social media manager and helped them create a Facebook page and social media marketing plan.
As I thought about what I wanted in a future position, I published my first book — "Life Rehab: Don't Overdose on Pain, People and Power." I also began to read books on blogging and social media marketing, and I created my own online magazine. These outside activities really helped me find balance during difficult times at my job.
One of the best ways to deal with stress, depression and worry is to exercise. To take advantage of this, I joined the gym at my job and worked out every day, either during my lunch hour or after work. I took advantage of free workout classes: kickboxing, spinning and yoga. I also changed my eating habits and lost over 15 pounds. Even though most of my co-workers knew I was unhappy on the job, they could see I was putting more energy into my self-confidence.
When you hate your job, it's so easy to commiserate with your teammates by simply complaining about your position or company at lunch or at your desk. I decided to limit my communication with unhappy employees. If I was going to restore my career, I needed to surround myself with positive professionals. I networked with other like-minded professionals and leaders at conferences, networking events and professional meet-ups.
To get out of the job I hated, I knew I would have to revamp my resume. When I had downtime on my job, I took advantage of free webinars and workshops. If there was money in the budget for training, I signed up for programs that I knew would help me land a job I would love. Lastly, I created a LinkedIn profile, uploaded my revamped resume to my profile and started connecting with like-minded professionals. I also joined professional groups so I could learn more about specific technologies and skills.
In the end, my career rehab journey paid off. After recognizing that the job I was in was not a good fit for my passions, I interviewed with several other government jobs that turned out too similar. But ultimately, I took a private sector job that better fit my career goals.
Career Rehab requires very strategic career renewal actions, and it can be hard work. But when you finally find a job you love, you can start to live a life you love. Don't settle for mediocrity — fight hard for career happiness.
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