Most clothes off the rack are not a perfect fit. Some brands fit better than others. Some sizes are aligned closer to your actual body. If you want something tailor-made – it will require an actual tailor.
Most jobs are not a perfect fit either. The commute is too long, the boss unsupportive, or maybe the technology is outdated. Choices about employment often go through a series of prioritizing and reprioritizing of our values, wants, and needs. It might be about money, ego, advancement opportunities, the manager, or the amount and kind of stress produced.
Sometimes it’s no longer a good fit. Yet we stay. There is some reluctance to start as “the new kid” somewhere. Fear can motivate out inertia. No one wants to make a mistake with their resume. Sometimes the other stressors in life make it seem like a different job would be stress overload.
A job that fits where you are now can make life joyful. Just like the go-to jacket that use to work for all those important occasions but no longer does, the job that no longer is a good fit is not attractive on you.
No one may tell you so how do you know that your job is no longer a good fit?
- What you do isn’t what you like to do. You may be good at teaching others how to use the latest software but it doesn’t naturally follow that you want to spend your time training others how to use the company software package. You may be very talented at it but you may also hate it! Being good at something doesn’t mean you love doing it. Jobs makes us use a certain skill set every day. If it makes you miserable to do the job, it’s not a good fit – even if you are very good at it.
- You’re unhappy most of the time with the work you are doing. How do you feel about what you are doing? When I asked Lou what he liked about his job he said “The beginning of a project sucks. It’s filled with contracts, staffing negotiation, fee estimates, project scoping. The middle is OK because I like doing the work. The end is awful. It’s filled with billing, change orders, chasing contractors, Cost overruns” I pointed out that of the three parts to his job, he only liked one – that’s 33%! You don’t have to be a math wizard – the clearest sign that you need a change is how you feel about the work you’re doing every day. If you are not happy most of the time, it’s unlikely a well-kept secret.
- It’s a toxic environment. Jobs are more than what you do every day. Jobs involve co-workers, a boss, and a CEO who sets the tone for the culture. A job contains overarching outcomes and goals that everyone is driving toward. Jobs can contain opportunities for advancement and development. How in sync are you with what the organization and your boss ask of you?
- You think you can do more. A job is no longer a good fit if you think it’s holding you back. If you believe you can do more, grow faster, produce better and are not being given the opportunity, it may not be a big ego. It may mean that you think something out there will give you more success and satisfaction. You might be wrong – but you might be right and you won’t know if you don’t test that theory out.
- You don’t care. It’s not a good fit if you don’t think what you do matters. Or worse, if you think what you do is harmful. If you don’t believe in the outcome of your efforts it’s going to be very difficult (maybe impossible) to be successful.
Not being a good fit is a description of the situation, not an evaluation. When clothing isn’t a good fit, no one suggests that you shouldn’t wear clothes. When shoes don’t fit, you will either wear them suffering the consequences of blisters and sore feet or, you kick them to the back of the closet floor and stop wearing them. Most of us spend 40 hours or more at work. That’s a lot time to be uncomfortable.