In a 2-year study, 63 percent of workers said the stress from their jobs caused them to engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as drinking or crying regularly. The respondents stated that they "always, often, or sometimes" engaged in unhealthy behaviors to combat work-related stress. I'm not really surprised by this, are you? Our society has always associated drinking as a coping mechanism for a bad day at the office. But, what should you do if there ends up being more bad days than good ones on the job? Fixing a broken career isn't easy, but the alternative of staying in a job that drives you to drink (or cry) seems so much worse. Yet, in my 15+ years experience as a career coach, I've found people tend to stay in these situations until things get dire i.e. they get sick, fired, etc. Here's why...
They Know What They Don't Want, But Not What They Do Want
A survey by WorkItDaily.com of over 1000 professional reveals the harsh truth: over 48 percent of unhappy professionals aren't looking for a new job because they either A) don't know what they want to do next, or B) don't have a clear strategy to find what they are looking for. The lack of direction leaves them stuck in the job, causing them to engage in unhealthy behaviors. And, the longer they stay stuck in this cycle, the harder it is to break out. So, what can someone do to find the clarity needed to get unstuck?
Processing The Past = Clearing The Path For Your Future
The secret to career reinvention lies in the ability to free your mind from obsessing over what has happened in your career so far. More specifically, you must learn not to attach negative emotion to previous setbacks, challenges, and failures. People who are chronially unhappy in their careers tend to latch on to things that have happened, causing them to avoid new opportunities and challenges for fear of being hurt again. Instead of learning from the experiences as a way to make them stronger, they carry them around in their minds like a bag of rocks, allowing the past to weigh them down and hold them back from finding a better situation.
How To Tell If You're Carrying A Mental Bag Of Rocks
A great way to know if you are doing this is to write out your career narrative. It's the story you tell yourself about your career. It includes all the twists and turns leading up to today. As you analyze the story, you'll see patterns where you still harbor a lot of negative emotion. These are the rocks weighing you down. If your story has a lot of these, then in my experience, you are definitely limiting your career growth. If you want to find greater career success (and even extreme success like Oprah Winfrey or Richard Branson), then you need to take a page from their career skills playbook and learn how to let go of any emotion that isn't positively serving your professional goals. As I always say to my clients, drop the rocks and you'll be lighter and move faster towards your dream job!