Welcome back to a new episode of Punk HR Rock. Today’s episode is focused on you, why work sucks, and what you can do about it to make your situation better.
Now I’m going to spoil it for you early on. I don’t want you to quit your job. Yes, many people have decided to quit their jobs because they were unhappy, but before you do that, I want you to try something different. I want you to learn something new.
There’s been a lot of talk in the media about how work is changing and the great reshuffling of talent. It’s impossible to go online without reading a quote or hearing from a labor statistician or a social media guru about labor shortages, worker conditions and why it’s hard to find and retain people. So I figured that it was time to join the conversation
Here’s what I’ve been thinking about:
- Work is challenging because women left their jobs in droves due to child care and elder care issues. They’re still gone, by the way.
- Work also sucks because everything is expensive and we are resentful about it, but at the wrong people.
Let’s take a look at what we could do better.
Avoid the Arrival Fallacy
What I’m hearing from my clients who come to me for coaching is that they got excited about opportunities in June 2021 and they got what they wanted — more money, a better title, more paid time off. But now, at the end of the year, they have a feeling of disappointment because it’s not what they expected.
This reaction is called the arrival fallacy. It’s the point where you’ve gotten the things that you wanted out of the job, but now you are questioning, “Is that all there is?” And the answer to that is “Yeah, dude, that’s all there is because that’s all you are,” at least for right now.
In my book, “Betting on You,” I wrote about the arrival fallacy in chapter two. I’m bringing it up now because the world of work is changing — sort of, but not completely. There are still bad bosses, long hours, racism, sexism, ageism, ableism and more. It’s still happening, even at the companies that are considered the good brands. We aren’t to a point of solving these problems, despite companies’ promises.
Avoid thinking that you can fix work by leaving and finding something new. It could happen for some, but take it easy for now.
Spend 30 Days Learning Something New
No matter where you are in your career, you’ll always have the chance to learn something new. When you’re learning, you’re growing, and when you’re growing, you are thriving, and thriving is the point of life for us humans.
Professionals who are learning report higher satisfaction and engagement rates, and they are less focused on negative aspects of work. As I wrote in my book, everybody needs to learn. Everybody deserves a chance to learn something new. So, what are you waiting for? You don’t need permission from your boss to learn something new.
Whenever I have a client asking me for career advice, we focus on learning something new within the next 30 days.
What can you learn in 30 days? You can:
- Try out a hobby like ice skating or training dogs.
- Volunteer for a local organization, shelter, event, etc.
- Pick up a new skill by taking an online course, like my LinkedIn Learning course.
Those are just a few things you can do in the next 30 days.
Keep a Learning Journal
There’s no problem that you’re facing at work that someone else hasn’t been through or solved. Look for a course on LinkedIn Learning or other platforms that offer a specific way to enhance a skill. Practice it, and address the feedback you get. Keeping a learning journal for the next 30 days can help to change how you feel about work.
Whatever your journey, whatever you’re learning, at the end of 30 days, I want you to summarize it all by writing out five things you’ve learned about yourself and five things that surprised you about the past month. If you want to do something with all of this journaling and writing, you can send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Here’s your free 30-Day trial for LinkedIn Learning.
- Also, check out the second edition of my book, “Betting On You.” It’s coming out in paperback on Jan. 4, 2022, just in time for the new year to help you decide whether to stay or whether to go.
Hey everybody, I’m Laurie Ruettimann. Welcome back to Punk Rock HR. Today’s episode is focused on you and why work sucks and what you can do about it. Now, let me spoil it for you. I don’t want you to quit your job, I want you to learn something new. But first, there’s a lot of talk in the media about work and the great recession and the great reshuffling of talent. You can’t open a tab on your browser without reading a quote or hearing from a labor statistician or a social media guru about labor shortages, worker conditions, and why it’s hard to find and retain people, so let me join in. Here’s what I’m thinking.
Work is challenging because women left their jobs in droves due to child care and elder care issues, and they’re still gone. They have not come back. Those quits put pressure on the entire system, on you and me, to do more with less. Work also sucks because everything is expensive and we are resentful about it, but at the wrong people. For all the talk of inflation and talent shortages and expenses shooting up because of the cost of labor, wages are actually down 1.2%.
And the inflation conversation that’s so trendy, well, it’s been trendy for a while. It’s been a real issue in categories that affect families for years like housing and education and health care, but it’s almost as if we woke up today and we’re mad at workers who want to earn more money. That’s nuts. These are our colleagues, our friends, our neighbors. We are fighting the wrong fight, which is frustrating and adds pressure at work. Finally, work is hard because there are literally fewer of us on this planet. COVID closed the United States and Europe in March of 2020, but people were dying of COVID before then. It was just coded as the flu, upper respiratory infections and pneumonia. Even now, entities such as states and counties and even nursing homes are playing politics with the death count, so while it looks like over 750,000 people in America have died from COVID at the end of 2021, well, there’s no real way to know that number. In fact, some estimate it might be double that. Double that! 1.5 million people in the United States might be dead of COVID. Or maybe not, we don’t know.
Very simply, I just think that no matter the number, work sucks because a big chunk of people are gone from our labor pool. Again, we’re being asked to do more with less. Now, there are other reasons why work sucks, including decreased legal immigration and a lack of investment in management training, but I don’t want to get any further in the weeds because I’m here for you, the person who is fed up and wants to quit and find a new job. But listen, you can’t fix COVID, you can’t fix your boss, you can’t fix the people at work who irritate you, and you and you alone can’t fix a company culture.
I don’t blame you for feeling fed up with work and your terrible boss and the impossible hours. I get it, I really do. I know why you want to quit, but I have an important message for you: Don’t quit. Don’t quit your job, not just yet, not right now. Now, I’m not simping for global corporations. I’m here to tell you that all jobs come with some complexity, especially during a pandemic. What I’m hearing from my clients who come to me for coaching is that they got excited about opportunities in June of 2021 and they got what they wanted — more money, a better title, more PTO. But now, at the end of the year, they have a feeling of disappointment because it’s not what they expected. That’s called arrival fallacy, when you finally get that job and you ask, “Is that all there is?” It’s like, “Yeah, dude, that’s all there is because that’s all you are.”
I wrote about arrival fallacy in chapter two of my book and I bring it up now because the world of work is changing, sort of, but it’s not quite changed. Bad bosses, long hours, racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, it’s all still happening, even at leading employers, even at the ones with good brands. We’re not there yet, despite all the promises being made. So I want you to avoid falling into the trap of thinking that you can fix work by leaving and finding something new. It might happen, but probably not, so just humor me.
Before you throw down some money and have a professional review your resume or buy a bunch of new clothes, do me a favor, spend 30 days learning something new. Hear me out. When you’re learning, you’re growing, and when you’re growing, you are thriving, and thriving is the point of life. Professionals who are learning report higher rates of satisfaction and engagement, and they are less focused on negative aspects of work — all those things I just talked about — and more focused on putting themselves first in a way that doesn’t feel selfish.
As I wrote in my book, everybody needs to learn, everybody deserves to learn, and I don’t know what you’re waiting for. You don’t need permission from your boss to learn something new. Whenever I have a troubled client asking me for career advice, we focus on learning something new in the next 30 days. Whether it’s an exhausted CEO or an anti-social customer service representative stuck in a corporate job, we look to their personal data that already exists, and we figure out a learning journey. And you can do this, too, very easily.
You could pick a hobby or go volunteer somewhere that’s out of your comfort zone and learn something about an organization that you’ve never really worked with. Those are really good ideas. Or you could learn how to ice skate or smoke meat or, I don’t know, learn how to train dogs, whatever you want to do. But if you want to focus on work, go grab a cup of coffee, go somewhere quiet, and reread your last performance review. Or think about the last time someone gave you constructive feedback that may have rubbed you the wrong way. What did they say, and why did it bother you? What did they want you to do differently?
Even if you disagree with it, think about it, explore that data and maybe make a commitment in the next 30 days to try to fix it. Here we go. I want you to hit the internet, Google it. There’s no problem that you’re facing at work that someone else hasn’t solved. Look for a course on LinkedIn Learning or find anything on the internet with a specific way to fix a skill so you can practice it and address the feedback you got. Keep a learning journal, and document what you’re learning for the next 30 days.
For example, if you’re not a financial professional but you want to get better at numbers, you can take a finance for non-financial professionals course on YouTube, on LinkedIn Learning, on Coursera, on Udemy, and very simply, over 30 days, write down how it felt. Maybe you’re having conflict at work. Well, you could take a class on managing workplace conflict and write down what you learned and how it felt to be in a position where you learn something new about yourself. Or you can actually go into the world and fumble your way through a Toastmasters meeting if you want to learn how to be a better public speaker and know that it’s a safe space for failure, and then write down what it felt like to fail in public.
Whatever your journey, whatever you’re learning, at the end of 30 days, I want you to summarize it all by writing out five things you’ve learned about yourself and five things that surprised you about the past month. In fact, if you want to do something with all of this journaling and writing, you can send it to me at email@example.com. I would love to read it, I would love to learn about it and review it with you — all on me, no problem, let’s just do that together.
If you still want to quit your job at the end of that 30-day window, go for it, because you’ll have spent that time working on something to make you better, whether it’s a hobby, working on a cause or working on a skills gap. Listen here, don’t get caught up in the Great Resignation hype. Yep, work still sucks. Nope, there’s not much you can do about it, but don’t quit your job, not just yet. Spend 30 days focusing on learning something new. Keep a learning journal. And if you want to learn something new in 30 days and don’t have a lot of money, check out the show notes at punkrockhr.com for a free 30-day trial for LinkedIn Learning.
I don’t get anything from it. Use it, pick up a new skill, cancel it, and then decide what to do with your career. The learning journal is one of the most popular tricks in my coaching bag. I give it to you for free with the hopes that you’ll use it. If you want other insights on how to survive this crazy economy or how to be more confident at work, you can check out the second edition of my book, “Betting On You.” It’s coming out in paperback on Jan. 4, 2022, at a fresh price point, out just in time for the new year to help you decide whether to stay or whether to go.
Punk Rock HR is produced and edited by Rep Cap, with help from Michael Thibodeaux and Devon McGrath. For more information and to access this week’s show notes, head on over to punkrockhr.com. Now, that’s all for today, and I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for listening to Punk Rock HR.