You struggle through the day, dealing with multiple tasks, answering phones, needing to be on top of every detail of your demanding job. And then you go home drained, throw a Lean Cuisine into the microwave, flop down on the couch and eat supper in front of a “Law and Order" rerun.
Maybe you're in the wrong job. Here are some warning signs:
1. Your coworkers file quietly into the office at ten minutes of eight. They deposit their Starbucks cups on the desk, open their Day Planners, and silently get to work. Meanwhile, you're in the doorway of the employee's lounge, gazing down the corridor, thinking how the industrial carpeting on the floor would be perfect for Rollerblading.
Rigid structure is not your bag. You need work that provides some freedom of movement, some scheduling flexibility. If you're actually coordinated enough to Rollerblade without ending up in a cast, you might consider being a trainer at the local gym. If not, sales or customer service that requires travel to clients’ worksites would allow you to schedule your own day and enjoy being on the road as you make your way to your various appointments.
2. The vice president in charge of finance hands you a twenty-page proposal, complete with columns and columns of figures. He asks you to proofread it, and by the way, he needs it in half an hour. He walks away, and you stare at the clock, then the proposal, then the paper shredder sitting right next to you. You look at the clock, the proposal, the paper shredder, the proposal, the paper shredder.
Obsessive attention to detail is not your idea of a good time. Maybe you need something that involves more creativity, more input from yourself. If you have an artistic flair, computer graphic design is something you might want to try. While its does require an orientation to detail, it also feeds that creative part of your soul.
3. Your least favorite sales manager asks you to type a letter for him - for the tenth time that day. He types it up himself on his computer, prints it out, erases the original, and hands the printout to you to type. You excuse yourself, run to the ladies’ room, stick your head in the trash basket and yell, “Do it yourself!"
You do not enjoy the ‘support staff’ role. You need to find a job where you can be in charge; looking for a supervisory position, or a job that leads to a supervisory position, could be perfect for you.
4. You've been studying Microsoft Office for months. Now you're busy creating a whiz-bang Excel spreadsheet so your boss can track expenses for each department. Then the phone rings…. as the receptionist you field phone calls, connect the callers to one of fifty managers, type letters, file correspondence, total up expense slips - and bite your nails ‘til they're nubs.
You hate multitasking! To you multitasking means doing a lot of stuff adequately, rather than one thing superbly. You've got the skills, now you need the right job. Find something that utilizes your expertise in Excel, rather than juggling dozens of tasks at a time.
5. You're a supervisor, busy training a new worker. Subordinates come up to you every few minutes, asking questions you think they could solve themselves. You love the training aspect of your job, just not the interruptions.
You're a teacher at heart. There are lots of business schools, computer classes, even high schools and colleges that need someone with business acumen. Consider becoming a teacher or a business trainer, and focus on the needs of your students full time.
You might be surprised to find that the skills you've developed in your current job could lead to something better, and more in tune with your personality. With a little tweeking of your job skills and priorities, you might just find the perfect job! Additionally, take the time to check out how employers are looking at future prospects and what employee assessment tools they may be using during the hiring process.
Aldene Fredenburg is a freelance writer living in southwestern New Hampshire and frequently contributes to Tips and Topics . She has published numerous articles in local and regional publications on a wide range of topics, including business, education, the arts, and local events. Her feature articles include an interview with independent documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and a feature on prisoners at the New Hampshire State Prison in Concord. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .