What to do when work isn't working, Part 2

In my previous post, I spoke about what happens when work no longer works for you. When it's all you can do to get out of bed in the morning. It can feel like moving through sludge.

The reason is because you want to make a difference, and it doesn't seem like you can do that where you are now.

One option is to stay.

If that feels right, it's still possible to make a difference. Here's how.

If it's time for a change though, this post may help.

What happens if you leave.

In several instances, I left because I had to. Being forced to leave became a blessing in disguise.

Choosing to leave takes more hutzpa.

I know it's inside of you. The voice that says, "That's it!" either because you've had enough, or because you've just laid eyes on what you've been looking for (sometimes in a package you didn't expect).

When that happens it can feel like an imaginary hand is pulling you forward. Your rational brain wants to think things through, but this hand is tugging at you to say yes. That is your hutzpa, and it's smart stuff.

How do we access that daring part of you?

By giving it ammunition.

It knows it when it sees it, so this is a good time to tell it what to look for.

For the next 10 minutes answer:  What does making a difference mean to me?

(If you decide to stay, you may want to answer this question, too.)

Keep writing, even when you can't think of anything. This is a chance is to let your mind wander and wonder.

If you hit a snag, think about a specific time when you know that you made a difference. What was it about that situation that stands out? Consider where you were, what you did, who else was there, and what felt great about it. Each detail is more fodder for your hutzpa.

Don't be shy about including tangibles, such as salary, company size and commute time. If making a difference means finishing work in time to pick your children up from school, write it down.

At some point, you'll hit on your intangibles. They can be tough to articulate.

When I was looking for what was next in my career, one of mine was caring about fellow employees.

I enjoyed the moments most when we would meet individually, and I would see what made them special and tell them. When days later they would rush over to my desk to celebrate a success, a big smile across their face, I knew that our meeting had helped make that possible.

Whatever that was, I wanted to do more of it!

Your intangibles might be something you do at work that doesn't feel like work at all.

THAT is what we're looking for. Circle them and wonder more about what they mean to you.

When the 10 minutes are up, look at your entire answer.

If leaving your work would mean getting all of this, even the intangibles, what would you do?

By the way, there is no If. By leaving, the intangibles are more within reach than they are while you stay and feel stuck.

Let your hutzpa take the lead.

For today, start putting this answer to use:

  • Make your resume more YOU. Add your unique strengths and the kind of work that works for you.
  • Narrow what organizations you research. Those that fit this answer are the ones you want.
  • Identify the best networking, job fairs and grad school events. You no longer need to attend all of them.
  • Respond to people who ask what you're doing next. Creating the same picture for them that you have in your mind will help them help you find it.
  • Trust your instincts when a new opportunity arises. Notice the imaginary tug when it happens.

Knowing that where you are isn't working is a good start. Don't ever question that.

Now is the time to know what does work, and go after it.

What will you do next?