Is the Grass Necessarily Greener?

How many people change jobs because they are unhappy in their situation only to find the new employment situation is not any better? Quite a few! People who decide to change jobs or employers usually do so for better pay, better advancement opportunities, better location, or for more/less challenge. People tend to be unhappy in their jobs not because of pay but because of boredom or some situational dissatisfaction stemming from coworkers, commute, or environment. If you are going to change jobs, how can you be sure of not ending up in another dissatisfying job?

First of all, analyze why you are considering changing jobs. It is possible that you can solve the problem without having to change employers. If you are bored, you may solve the problem by asking your current employer for more responsibility or to work in a different capacity. Volunteering to take on projects could be a solution to boredom. If you like your job otherwise, speaking up to the boss might just be what you need to find new challenges without having to roll over your 401K.

If you are unhappy with the pay, talk to your supervisor and discuss a raise. Be prepared when you go in with specific examples of how you have contributed to the company’s profitability or success. You will need to justify the raise you seek with concrete accomplishments. No employer will give you a raise just because you asked for one – you need to deserve it! A well-prepared resume is invaluable when going for a raise. Not only does the preparation process compel you to objectively look at your job performance, but you also end up with a document that you can use in your presentation to the boss.

One of the most common reasons people do not like their jobs is because they do not like the people around them. Either it’s a conflict with the boss or a gripe with a coworker, unhappiness with fellow employees can be a difficult problem to solve, thus making a job change look really good. Unless you are going to work at home alone, whatever new job you might take will also have people with whom you need to work. Before jumping ship, evaluate the situation. Is there some conflict that can be moderated by a third party to a satisfactory conclusion? Would it be possible to get transferred to a different department? Is it possible that YOU are the problem worker? An objective look at all these may reveal some options you have not considered. Don’t forget the HR department, either; HR professionals are specially trained to assist employees in resolving interpersonal conflicts.

Many people don’t like the location in which they work. A long commute can create job dissatisfaction, not to mention financial hardship in these days of high fuel prices. Most employers know that and will try to assist in alleviating difficulties to keep their top performers. Jewelry TV has recently provided its employees with a “fuel raise” to help offset employees’ rising commute costs. Some employers might consider telecommuting as an option if the job will allow. Perhaps organizing a carpool (remember those from the seventies?) would help reduce some of the costs not to mention providing a little social time for you.

Environmental factors can also create job dissatisfaction. Most people who work in industrial or manufacturing settings realize going in that the work environment will probably be loud, smelly, or dangerous. But what if you are an office worker trying to work around renovations? Or perhaps you are a neatnik and the office manager is totally dysfunctional when it comes to organization? Maybe you are a bit claustrophobic but your work space is tight and windowless? Such environmental factors can create stress that leads to job dissatisfaction. Before jumping ship, see if there is a resolution to the stressor.

If you are unhappy in your job, and are considering making a change, first ask yourself what you would change in your current job to make you want to stay. If the changes are reasonable and can possibly be accomplished, it might be best to give a shot to manipulating those changes. If the changes would not be feasible, consider carefully the next job so you do not end up in another dissatisfactory situation. You don’t want to jump the fence only to find the same old grass on the other side.

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