‘Easier said than done!’, I can hear you snort.
Instagram is all about hashtags and when I first started posting on social media, I came up with a great one. #whynotbehappyatwork
Happiness. I just love it. It encapsulates my purpose in the world of work and I put a great deal of energy into helping my clients achieve it.
Yet, there’s no denying it sometimes takes a lot of effort AND energy to make a positive change in your career. Acquiring a new skill, such as wonderful interview performance, will never happen overnight. Realising that you need to pivot to a new technical area can be extremely daunting.
As I often say, I’m not a psychologist but I think the most important thing is your mindset, which is where Tip #1 comes in.
Or, you could try going for a quick win which is covered by Tip #4.
And just occasionally, you only need to make a small tweak to achieve that elusive happiness. Tip #7 alerts you to some quick research you can do to avoid career damage down the track.
In fact, there’s something for everyone in these seven career hacks for 2023.
Tip #1: Don’t be influenced by quitfluencers
Quitfluencers. What a great word!
Without knowing it, I was once one. Resigning from my last role as an employee in a toxic workplace, I was quickly followed by two others.
In 2022, it’s been reported that 74% of Australian workers will reconsider their job if they see a colleague quit. And 33% of them do then make the move.
‘People follow people. It is somewhat human nature,’ according to Adecco Australia and New Zealand chief executive officer Nicholas Lee.
Globally, Gen Z’s are 26% more likely to be influenced to quit than Baby Boomers, and Managers are 15% more likely to be influenced to quit than Non-Managers.
It’s all very well to take courage from someone else to escape a toxic workplace but be careful. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
Think twice before you take that leap. Don’t be a career lemming.
Tip #2. Establish your power in interviews
Here’s a statistic you’ve probably never considered.
Roughly 40% of the impression we make on strangers comes from our voice.
Do you know what yours sounds like?
In a job interview, you could be missing out on roles because your interviewer dislikes your voice or it makes them think you just don’t have what it takes to do the job well.
‘I’ve always had strong leadership qualities???’
‘People have always enjoyed working with me???’
‘I have the ability to influence people, to get them to come on board with my new ideas???’
In English, we raise our voices at the end of a sentence to tell the listener that we’re asking a question.
What you DON’T want to do is raise your voice this way at the end of every sentence regardless of whether you’re asking a question or not. You end up sounding as though you are questioning your own abilities. All of a sudden, your answer loses its punch and you raise significant doubt in the mind of the recruiter.
Make sure your voice is an asset not a liability and think of your interview as a performance. Use your voice as an instrument and deliver a strong yet nuanced message.
Tip #3: Imagineer your future
We’ve come a long way in the world of work.
I often try to imagine my life if I’d been born in the 18th Century. As a female peasant, toiling in the potato fields of Ireland, there wouldn’t have been much career satisfaction!
Why not take advantage of this immensely flexible world of work we live in? Instead of hoary old New Year’s Resolutions, give yourself permission to dream.
One of my good friends ‘imagineered’ her family’s emigration from France to Australia. She delved and delved with her husband until she uncovered his life goals. Luckily for her, this dream resonated with her and here they are…
Find someone who will take you beyond the here and now, who will challenge you to imagine and dream. Someone who will support you, as my French friend did for her family.
Tip #4: Rate your LinkedIn photo
What’s the worst LinkedIn photo you’ve seen?
My favourite was the sexy, soft-lens shot of a colleague – wild hair streaming behind her.
What a disaster!
Most LinkedIn experts say that your photo is the most important part of your profile. It should make you appear both professional and likeable.
These days, there’s no excuse. Even if you can’t afford a professional shot, you can take endless photos and choose one that does the job. Do a Google search for advice on how to present yourself e.g. chin out versus chin down. And there are even websites that offer to evaluate your photo.
What does your LinkedIn photo ‘say’ about you?
Tip #5: Improve your connectedness
This year, I faced four Christmas functions in just six days! Do you think I really wanted to go to them?
Ask yourself how well known and well respected you are in your marketplace.
Once you’ve missed out on an internal job, it’s too late to wish that you had networked better with your colleagues. Once your job has disappeared, it’s too late to regret that very few people know you exist.
Stop endlessly devoting yourself to your organisation. Use a combination of LinkedIn activity, internal chats, attendance at professional forums, lunches, coffees with current contacts and a deliberate campaign to meet new people.
Tip #6: Ditch the negativity
How often do you say negative things about work – whether it’s to do with people or processes?
If you think your work colleagues don’t notice, you’re deluding yourself. Even if they agree with you, they don’t really want to be around such bad vibes. If your Manager notices, you’re likely to be the first person selected to go in any restructure.
Assess your workplace negativity score. If it’s high, then it’s time to get out. Just do it gracefully and quickly.
Tip #7: Avoid the setting sun
Every twelve months, do a detailed scan of the advertised roles in your technical area. Identify the trends. If the number and quality of positions are on a downward trajectory, it’s time to get out of that technical field.
Consider changing your technical skills. The most logical place to extend your skills is in your current technical field. Or, look at related areas and learn new skills.
Luckily, these days, there is a ready acceptance of micro credentials. This makes it much easier for you to move.
Christmas Stress and the New Year Stupor
In Australia, at least, we madly scramble to finish our projects before the end of the year and the start of the summer holidays. We get a double whammy of stress.
So, realistically, it’s unlikely you’ll want to think about ANY of the above issues until after that last mouthful of Chrissie pudding.
As the holiday period approaches with its focus on relationships and happiness, devote some time to thinking about achieving the best in both domains.
JANUARY is the time to do this. Take yourself off to a coffee shop where the music is evocative and the atmosphere is uplifting. Or just sit under the cool shade of a tree.
Unclog your brain, free your spirit and review the changes that you need to make to be happy at work. Then, get started.
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