Feel trapped at work? No realistic career path visible? Looking for a better job while still at the same-old grindstone? It could be time to reassess your work situation and wring every possible opportunity out of your current position. There are always ways you can “make your own luck” at your dead-end role while you search for pastures new.
Know Before You Go
Before throwing in the towel, have a conversation with your manager, express your interest to develop and grow with the company. You never know what could come out of it. They might suggest outsourcing some of your more repetitive tasks to a junior or suggest a sabbatical. You could agree on further training. At the very least open the discussion so they can understand your point of view and possibly act on it. Don’t resign without truly knowing you or your work is not regarded and the situation is terminal. If this is not possible then you really know you should do something a little more creative.
Manage a Mentoring Program
Introduce a mentoring program to your organisation. (See our story Mentoring Matters) Mentoring Matters explains the benefits of mentoring to the company and individuals involved: both mentors and mentees. It spells out how to kick off a partnership and how to avoid any pitfalls. Mentoring can also help you connect with your organisation and having someone within the group to talk to may help you feel less isolated.
Alternatively become a mentor yourself. Working and growing a mentee with passion can spark your enthusiasm for your work. Passion can be contagious and it can help you and re-adjust your view of your industry, your role and your future.
Also remember, mentoring can be done privately and it doesn’t have to be conducted within your organisation or even in your industry.
Be the One with the Ideas
Identify a broader company issue not necessarily within your department and have a stab at alleviating it or solving it completely. Be respectful here not to take over anyone’s particular turf but do try to show you’re thinking like an owner and are also capable of more than your current scope of work.
Brainstorm with your peers from all departments. You might find there are more problems or the problems need breaking down into smaller challenges. Either way, you are flexing your creative problem solving muscles and maybe even solving a long-standing challenge.
Document it, make the presentation, get a group together and see what can happen.
Make Work Interesting for You
Start a beneficial initiative in the organisation. It could be introducing an easier way to recycle paper, plastic and coffee pods and cups in the office. Or organise a “lunch and learn” program where a colleague talks about their role in the company and what they are currently working on.
Find out how the group can do some volunteer work, organise a sports team or organise to go out to a sports event after work. Find out about a TED Talk to watch at lunch or an industry event you can all go to or watch together over lunch. Become the most active part of the office. At least you won’t be bored.
The Side Gig
Get busy doing your favourite thing and monetise it. As we all know the side gig is just that, a smaller service or product made on the side. So, it shouldn’t take over your primary role. But one of the fascinating side effects of the side-gig is the beneficial impact it can have on your normal job. It can help you feel not so trapped as your passion is fed and nurtured and maybe a trickle of income can be felt as a reward. Having a side-gig can also help problem solve, unleash creativity and give you feelings of hope beyond a draining 9-5pm.
You can check out our article on the Side Gig hustle here.