How to Tough It Out at Your Job Until You Find Something Better

  • Millions of Americans have joined the Great Resignation.
  • Al Dea, a careers consultant, said people are often on autopilot when it comes to their plans to advance at work.
  • People who are hesitant to quit can take steps to make the most of their job.

It’s tempting to fantasize about quitting a job you don’t like, especially given the momentum of millions of Americans joining the Great Resignation. But for workers who are hesitant or unable to quit, it can be unclear how to make the best of their situation.

Many of us simply inspire it.

Browsing books at the intersection of business, career, and self-improvement, Insider correspondent Shana Lebowitz Gaynor found she couldn’t find what she was looking for.

“It struck me that there weren’t really a lot of books and generally not that much guide for people like me — and I mean specifically people who aren’t in a direct leadership role or in a people management role, but they’re always.” still engaged and ambitious professionals,” she said, adding that much of the advice was aimed at executives, “to tell them this is the way to keep your people happy, engaged, and performing well.”

In her recent book, Don’t Call It Quits: Turn the Job You Have into the Job You Love, the veteran journalist compiled the career tips she wanted the world to see.

In a live editorial event, Insider’s Ebony Flake, a C-Suite reporter, spoke with Lebowitz Gaynor and Al Dea, founder of careers consultancy Betterwork Labs. They covered three takeaways from the book and shared testimonies of their career turning points.

Bypass the Big Quit

Work-related misery is not new, but the number of workers who responded to the impulse to leave their jobs hit record levels last year.

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The pandemic sent entire companies into a tailspin as workers and CEOs from manufacturing, retail, healthcare and services took part in the so-called Big Quit.

Lebowitz Gaynor spoke to consultants, public relations professionals, lawyers and a Broadway musician, all of whom at one time felt unfulfilled in their work. They shared how they made their work more bearable until they could find a better one.

A HR manager disillusioned with her role told Lebowitz Gaynor about a strategy she had implemented to prevent early termination.

“Rather than quit and leave the job she had, she just sat down and made what she called a ‘trigger and action list.’ In the trigger column, she wrote something that bothered her at work that day: ‘This team, I asked them to do this thing or give me this document and they said no, we don’t have time .’ And then, in the action column, she wrote down one thing she could do instead of getting upset and feeling stuck,” Lebowitz told Gaynor.

The strategy paid off. The human resources manager eventually rose through the ranks to become the chief human resources officer of a major media company.

Take charge of your career

Anyone who takes responsibility for their career benefits from it. Dea, one of the career experts interviewed for the book, said many people rely on autopilot or sleepwalking when it comes to their career development.

“One of the things I’ve found from my own experience in my own career, as well as from talking to thousands of people about their own, is that no one really ever really teaches how to effectively manage their career,” Dea said.

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Dea said he struggled to manage his career once he got into the workplace. He said he lacked the knowledge to take control and plan his career path, which showed in his performance reviews.

According to Dea, mentoring is an effective tool for entry-level and seasoned professionals to expand their skills, gain new perspectives, and make better career decisions.

“It wasn’t until I went to a manager that I had a good sense of trust in and just said, ‘I’m lost. I’m not really sure what to do. Is there anything you can help me with? “How can I better understand how to do this?” And she was kind enough and smart enough to take the time to teach me a few things.

“After that, my performance got better. I started learning a number of mindsets and habits that would really help me run my career effectively,” Dea said.

Examine how your identity affects your career prospects

Lebowitz Gaynor acknowledges in the final chapter of the book that sometimes quitting is the best option. But coming to that decision can bring fear.

For people from marginalized groups, the idea of ​​leaving steady employment can be even more complicated.

“As someone who was raised by a single mother who worked two jobs – Winn-Dixie and Walmart – to support my sister and I, the idea of ​​giving up a good and stable career for something as precarious as writing felt crazy,” Flake said. who is black She added that when she finally took the plunge, it struck her how much her identity and background played into the difficulty of that decision.

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In her book, Lebowitz Gaynor acknowledges the role of background and life experience in making the decision to quit. But she says a little self-examination can go a long way for those who have doubts about a necessary career change.

Lebowitz Gaynor gave one final piece of advice for anyone thinking of quitting: “Give yourself two minutes – sit down, stand up, two minutes – and think: Is there one thing, one small thing, that I do can do to make tomorrow’s working day better?”

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