So, you want out. You want out so much that everybody knows. If you are not speaking about it with a colleague at the coffee break out area, then you will be posting subtle disparaging messages using a false name on your social media channels. Otherwise, it will be your body language which spells “I am out of here, already” as you move around the offices. Internally you are dying and there is no energy to wake up and go to work.
Your colleagues notice your demeanour changes and ask, “what’s up my guy?”.
“Nothing”, you respond. “I cannot explain it, but I do not feel like I want to work here any longer”.
The plan to get another job is in full swing, you have updated your LinkedIn profile, talked to the best headhunting team available, then to top it off, you have upped your networking game to include the places that the “who-is-who” frequent. While you are mingling, you have a pack of business cards ready at hand to dish out to those who may have them.
To supplement your external search, you still aim to remain relevant internally by commenting on senior managers’ posts on the intranet to boost your “visibility”.
Eventually, your boss realises that your performance is not meeting the stretch targets you were given. You are called in for a face-to-face morning meeting “to explore some corrective action”. The outcome of your discussion is that you are to commence a Performance Improvement Plan immediately. The intention is noble but deep down, you know, “this is not good at all”. The odds are stacked heavily against you as history is replete with dismissals following such performance interventions.
You leave the bosses office and stop by a few desks of your buddies. Your brief detours allow you to whisper to your ‘inner circle’, “Can we have lunch? I have something to discuss”.
The message at lunchtime is brief and to the point, “My boss does not like me anymore. This is the straw that has broken my already frail backbone. I WANT OUT OF HERE!”. You are now very sure that it is time to go.
Sadly, your next search online and the detailed review of market trends do not give an encouraging picture. You read a paragraph which captures the precise situation:
“Four companies have announced nearly 1,700 job cuts in just about three weeks, shining a spotlight on the worsening unemployment crisis in the country” Business Daily MONDAY, AUGUST 12, 2019 10:00
The words in the newspapers only serve to dim your hopes further. Soon, you develop a sharp pain that tends to concentrate on the crown of your head. It presses down on you, your body gets so heavy, your vision is blurry and your shoulders slump. The world seems to be coming down on you.
I have a few ideas for you to consider when you are at this level of your reality check:
- Unless you are sure of your next role and have signed an employment contract, my advice is that you do not bite the hand that feeds you. For many of us, it is true that apart from yourself, your family, core and extended, needs you to keep that job for survival. Have this in mind when making your decisions.
- Don’t engage in acts that would make your boss know that you are looking for a job elsewhere. Stay loyal to your current employer like when you were first employed. Remember your boss needs his career and minds it so much, especially when he considers the attendant perks that come with the job. If you stand in the way of the boss and their next bonus cheque, you will soon be out of a job.
- Your career is in your own hands. If you have not prepared yourself to be employable in the future, start doing it now. Register for that course, get your cross-functional experience, or on-the-job training. Find out what is stopping you from growing and work on it.
- The grass on the other side may be brown or orange. Do not assume that the next job will be better than the one you have. Shareholders are demanding more from management teams across the industry. The pressure applied at the top tends to trickle down faster than ever in the current economy. Your next employer may yet have a similar or increased workload, which will only serve to heighten your stress levels.
- Never burn bridges. Your future employer will, often, seek to get feedback about your performance from your current employer, especially during the reference checking. Woe unto you if your HR department asks your previous line manager, whom you have recently called the wrong names, to fill in the document. Aim to have a clean and amicable break. Stay professional and objective through the exit stages in an organization.
Above all, your health is more important than the job that is making you lose your mind. It is not a must to stay in employment. If it is that bad, find another thing to do. It is futile trying to fight your employer to the extent of getting admitted in the ICU. You are of no use to yourself when you are unwell; in fact, you are a burden to yourself and others. Avoid situations that would cause your friends and family to raise money to pay your ICU bill which has risen above the in-patient limit set by your insurer.
Be happy where you work, it makes the whole experience worthwhile no matter the stress levels you are experiencing.