And How to Break the Cycle of One Bad Job After Another
People settle for just any job more often than most of us care to admit. In fact, most of us have probably been there. We’ve taken a job for the paycheck, because we were desperate to start a job or because we didn’t exactly know what we were looking for during our job search. And the funny thing is, most of us know we are settling not long after taking the job when we quickly find out we are being underutilized and underpaid.
But settling for a job you know isn’t a good fit can have some major consequences for you and your career.
Settling the Score
So why do people really settle in the first place? On the surface, it could be for a number of reasons, like those mentioned already (a big paycheck is pretty enticing when you have student loans to pay off). But when you dive deeper into it, there are two big reasons people settle.
The first is that they don’t believe there is a job that is a match for their experience and skills. The second reason is that they don’t believe any employer believes they can do the work. What both of these beliefs have in common is that they limit your openness to opportunities and cause self-sabotage. When you believe something isn’t possible, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Unfortunately, many of us know we shouldn’t settle in the first place, but have already decided it’s out of our control, even when it isn’t.
The True Cost of Settling for Any Job
The biggest cost is to your own happiness. Point blank. But your own happiness with your job has a lot of repercussions. When you aren’t happy at work, your productivity goes down and it becomes a drain on your creativity. Plus, a lack of personal fulfillment from your job can also lead to increased stress and anxiety.
Beyond that, you might also be dealing with tension between you and your co-workers or even your boss, which can further increase your stress and anxiety. When you don’t have a good cultural fit with the company or your co-workers, it can lead to a serious case of the Sunday Blues, that hard rock in the pit of your stomach that you get when thinking about heading into work after your weekend.
All this unhappiness and stress will probably lead you to quitting that job sooner than if you had found a job that was a better fit. And many of us have an urgency to find another job as soon as possible. This leads to a cycle of taking one bad job after another, which can look like job hopping on your resume.
Is a big paycheck or the need to have any job worth it because you are in panic mode, especially when it has such a huge impact on your mental health, personal fulfillment and even your resume? I don’t think so.
How to Break the Bad Job Cycle
Repeat after me. You are worth it. You are worth the time and effort it takes to get the right job for you. But when you are falling down the rabbit hole of one bad job after another, it can seem like all you have are gloomy prospects and that there’s no way out of the hole you dug for yourself.
But there is! Because it’s not really a hole that you dug, just a long tunnel. If you take the time to find the right job, I promise you, you’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel. So how do you go about breaking that cycle?
Start by thinking about what truly makes you happy. What do you love doing? What is your dream job? (While you may not land your ultimate dream job right away, you still need to have your end goal in mind.) When you know what you want, you know what job to look for. And remember, you are worth taking the time to find a job that’s a good fit.
Next, make a list of your qualities and skills that make you an exceptional candidate for the job you are really after. This can be a huge confidence booster, especially when you feel that no one appreciates your skills or doesn’t believe in you. And if you are switching industries, don’t forget that there is always someone out there willing to take a chance on you–you just have to find them. And even if you don’t have the hard skills a company is looking for, you still have the translatable soft skills and the drive to learn, so don’t forget to talk about that in a job interview!
And lastly, you need to find a job at a company that has a good cultural fit. When our core values align more with the company we work for, we find greater personal fulfillment, more opportunities for personal growth and increased happiness–which is, at the root of the problem. There are a few things you can do to find a company that is a good cultural fit. First, research the company online–look at their mission statement and also talk to current and former employees about their experiences with the company. When the two align, the company has a strong culture, which means that it’s a better company to work for. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it aligns with your values. To find out if it does, take a personality test. Sounds crazy? It’s not actually all that crazy. Many companies have been utilizing personality tests to see if candidates would have a good cultural fit for many years now. But you’ve got to find the right personality test–one that can be taken by both the company and job seekers so that you get accurate results that match you up with companies looking for people just like you!