At Work

Looking for the exit sign

Some fed-up workers take extreme measures to escape their workplaces.

An example of an unsatisfied employee who could benefit from a job change was the case of a flight attendant who had “had enough” and exited his plane via its emergency slide.

For many employees, their workplace is no longer a satisfying place. They may not be content with their job responsibilities, their relationship with their manager, colleagues or customers.

For others, the economic downturn was a big factor. Many people worked harder and longer during the great financial crisis, and where such efforts are not recognised, satisfaction levels are at record lows.

While job numbers, salaries and the general economic outlook are now healthy, there are many candidates who come to recruitment firms feeling that they need a change for the better.

Extreme cases

While it’s only in extreme cases that people take such drastic actions as escaping on an emergency slide, the real danger for employers with unsatisfied workers is a significant drop in their discretionary effort.

If employees are satisfied in their jobs, they are far more likely to put in additional contributions, over and above their basic job descriptions.

This difference between how well they perform and how well they are capable of performing can have huge ramifications for businesses, particularly in a competitive and strengthening economy.

If you are not satisfied in your job, perhaps it is time to make a change. Look for an organisation offering the management style or culture in which you can flourish, with the responsibilities, opportunities and people that will help you be satisfied at work.

But before jumping ship, my advice would be to revisit your career plan. Career planning is essential to achieving success in your chosen career.

Whether you are aiming to be a book-keeper in a small business or the finance director of a multinational corporation, you must know in which direction you are headed and what is required of you to achieve your goal.

What do you want to be now? What do you want to be now?

Planning is a basic, yet key principle used by successful business people. Plans are formulated on a regular basis to control direction, make the best use of resources and measure progress or results.

Think of your career plan along the lines of a business plan. The key issues to cover are:

• What are your long-term career objectives?

• What will you want to get out of your job in the next five years or so?

• Do you need to study? If so, what qualifications should you be working for?

• What are your individual priorities?

These priorities and objectives may change over time. Of course, you need to check on them from time to time to make sure you are on track.

So, to formulate your career plan, first you must set your long-term goals or objectives. For example: “In 10 years’ time I want to be the financial controller of a large commercial organisation.”

To arrive at this objective, you must consider personal and professional aspirations. Aim high in whatever you set out to achieve, both personally and professionally, but be realistic as goals that are obviously unachievable can be demotivating.

Long-term goals

Don’t be afraid to set long-term goals. They can be altered or amended as your aspirations or values change. Indeed, it is quite likely this will be the case.

Once your long-term goals are in place, it is important to establish the steps you will need to take to reach them. Again, these steps may need alteration where appropriate, but will be based on such considerations as academic qualifications, professional membership, technical experience and personal development.

With firm goals in place, you must adopt the right attitude. Enthusiasm is the catalyst to success. It makes your personal and professional experiences more enjoyable and satisfying.

One final note: Career planning or goal setting will only achieve its purpose if you adhere to the principals of measuring your progress and following the path you have planned.

This means it is important to write down your goals. The process of putting pen to paper allows you to keep clear focus, check your achievements and make the necessary alterations when required.

Imagine you are planning an overseas trip and the amount of time and energy you would devote to it. Your career will probably span the next 30 years of your life, so start planning now. - Singapore Straits Times/Asia News Network

·Article by Chris Mead, general manager of Hays, a global specialist recruiting group in Singapore. Article extracted from StarClassifieds.