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The frying pan and the fire

Written by Jon, based on an article originally posted on LinkedIn, November 2020

You've probably heard of "the Great Resignation", or "the Big Quit"; it seems that a significant percentage of employees have been convinced they should change jobs because of their experience during Covid-19, WFH and so on.

If that is you, here are a couple of quick thoughts to help you ensure that in leaving the frying pan, you don't end up in the fire.

  1. Understand what hasn't been working for you where you are; and

  2. Be sure you have correctly identified what really matters to you, going forward.

Now, both of those might seem obvious, but a long career of seeing friends leave one job because of "x" and wind up in a new role where "x" is the same, only more-so, helps underline a fundamental human truth - we aren't very good at knowing what we truly want, or at identifying the real sources of stress in our lives.

Jumping out of the frying-pan, into the fire, would qualify as normal human behaviour, if it wasn't so very unhelpful.

To make some truly obvious points, if you are simply someone who needs lots of social interaction, then WFH was always going to be a challenge, no matter who you are working for. Clearly, some businesses are doing a brilliant job of compensating for this, so if you are trying to find an employer who will make the new normal more survivable for you, ask lots of questions, and even better, ask to speak with people who are already doing the role you will take on or similar. Do they sound like the social interactivity side of things is working for them, and would it work for you? And of course - is there something that could be done to make your current role more viable?

Are there other factors that have become more of an issue, with the strictures of 2020? For example, are you struggling because of a lack of meaningful feedback from your supervisor or manager? (Some people need a lot more of this than others). Changing jobs is no guarantee of finding a better supervisor, but yes: the old saying is at least partially correct: people don't leave jobs, they leave supervisors.

If your situation is more that, with the interaction with people stripped away and just the work left to do, you now realise that the work you are doing just doesn't hold any real interest or meaning for you, then yes that is a good indicator that change is necessary; provided of course that you have some way of identifying what will hold your attention and give meaning to your life at work.

And that is the nub of the issue: do you know?

Do you know what you actually need in terms of interaction with others? Or feedback? Or to keep you engaged and motivated about what you are doing?

It might be quite important!

So if you are wondering whether to make the leap, but want to be sure you don't end up in somewhere even more stressful than your current location, here are two options:

  • Get a Birkman Signature Report with one or more coaching sessions from an experienced Birkman Certified Professional. Signature covers both the behavioural factors I have touched on above (what kind of social interaction works for you, how much feedback and of what kind do you need, along with many other factors) AND the motivational side of things - what actually do you need to be involved in, or with, in order to stay engaged? You can buy a report and 60 minute session with us at Kokkoi here.

  • If your question is more specifically "what do I want to do with my life", or your budget is more limited, why not get hoozyu. hoozyu is a self-service platform which uses a subset of the same Birkman Method dataset as Signature. hoozyu focuses much more on motivational and career matching data, but still gives you a summary of the behavioural factors (do you need a more low key environment, or a more energetic one, and so on). You can buy hoozyu here.

Whatever you do, get some accurate, objective data to help you understand what you need to do next. Anyone or anything that simply asks you to "say what you want" is only reinforcing that core problem: none of us are really very good at knowing what we want!


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