One of the hardest things to do on a personal level at work is deciding when it’s time and how to navigate a move to ‘the next’ thing. Accepting that there’s not always a choice, or there may be no requirement or pressure to move on, stagnation, boredom, complacency, disengagement, a lack of drive or lack of interest can set in and perhaps even lead to pessimism and depression, and even worse, to destructive workplace behaviour.
If you can’t move and perhaps feel ‘trapped’, then consider ways you might reinvigorate your role and redevelop drive, and think about how you can help yourself feel better about what you’re doing (refer to the previous Bite on Resilience). But generally, there are options, and sometimes it just takes a bit of time to think through what these are and how to make change happen.
Change can come in different ways, it could be simply talking with your manager about possible changes to your role, it could be a sideways step (within the organisation or a similar role in another organisation), seeking support and development for promotion (again within your organisation or another), or it could be taking a bold step out and into something completely new.
For a number of years I worked for the same employer, moving between roles and slowly making my way into higher management roles. But alongside these changes I was keen to consider other options, this led me to working part time for a period while I studied a Bachelor of Education with the prospect of moving into teaching. While I never made a permanent move this direction, I thoroughly enjoyed the study and the short stints I had in the classroom; both provided a level or reinvigoration for me on a personal level and enhanced my service delivery and management skills.
More recently I began a transition from my long-term profession to a voluntary role using my skills in general management, risk and crisis management, and, yes also in teaching, providing safety, security and management training and support for workers in NGO’s across the Asia-Pacific region. Again, I am enjoying the challenges and the pleasure this refocus is bringing, allowing me to use the skills and abilities I have to grow and mentor others.
One of the most compelling transitions I know of is when a man named Paul, confronted on the road to Damascus, turned from persecuting to supporting and encouraging Christians. You can read this amazing story in the Book of Acts, Chapter 9.
Is it time to consider a change? What will that change look like? How will you prepare yourself and work toward that change? It might take a long time and it might begin with small steps, but don’t be afraid to step forward. Who knows where those steps might lead you.