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Career Corner: Hoping and Wishing

Only you can change your work situation. | Courtesy photo by ahmad gunnaivi on Unsplash

By Angela Copeland

Every day, I hear from job seekers who are unhappy at work. They will share that they wish things at their current job were different. If only things were a bit better, they would like to stay. If only their boss were better, they would prefer not to leave. If only the company would pay them more, they’d like to stick around. If only there was room for upward movement, they would continue working there.

Unfortunately, hoping and wishing doesn’t change the situation at work. Only you can change your work situation.

Don’t get me wrong. I fault no one for staying at an incompatible job because they need the work. We all have bills to pay and mouths to feed. But waiting indefinitely for things to get better just doesn’t work. When you do this, you make yourself miserable.

Over the years, I’ve met with many job seekers who are trapped in this unfortunate cycle with work. They wish so much for things to be better, but they have such a hard time when they’re not. It can be anguishing. I have seen many people who struggle to stay focused because of this stress. It begins to bleed into their personal lives, where they may struggle with sleep and anxiety.

But, when the situation isn’t working, it’s not just you. It’s the entire situation. It’s like something in the ecosystem is off. And, the problem is, you only have control over you. You can only change one thing in a system that’s not working.

This topic reminds me of exit interviews. When you quit your job, your company will want to do an exit interview about your time there. So often, employees want to use it as an opportunity to vent. In reality, your comments will only make you feel better. Again, you can only change you. You can’t change everything else.

With that in mind, if you are wishing and hoping for things to be different, try looking elsewhere. At another company, you may find things to be different. You may find that you no longer need to wish or hope. Things may work better on their own.

The hard thing is, sometimes it’s easier to stay with the situation you don’t know than to go back into the unknown. It’s not easy to tell during the interview if the company will really be a perfect fit. After all, if that were the case, your current company might be a better fit. But, if you don’t try, you won’t know. And, in the meantime, you’re pretty miserable.

You’ve got a decision to make. You can accept the way things are or you can accept the discomfort for now, knowing there’s an end in sight. Or you can decide it’s not for you. And, if that’s the case, it’s time to start looking. Put your hopes and wishes into action, rather than just thoughts.

Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.

February 18, 2021

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Angela Copeland


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