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Stuck in a job that’s sucking the life out of you? Here’s your escape plan


by Niamh Ennis
07th Aug 2021
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"Nothing is work unless you'd rather be doing something else." – George Halas.

Recently I was getting myself ready to return to my job after the most gorgeous week off in Connemara. That in itself, I realise, is not news, but I have to confess that I really struggled with the thoughts of getting back into my work routine again. Why I believe this to be newsworthy is because I really love and adore the work that I do. I’ve never experienced an ounce of dread facing even one working day, in the past six years, such is the passion I hold for my current career.

I get to work with incredible women and am also free to indulge my passion for writing each and every day. I work from home in the countryside surrounded by trees and love the solitude that this brings with it. My business and I have thrived throughout lockdown and now as we emerge from it, I’m getting the chance to accompany women as they begin to put in place all their plans and dreams based on the re-evaluations they made in their personal and working lives, in the last eighteen months.

Why is this relevant? Well, it got me to thinking, that if someone like me, who gets such an enormous buzz from the work I do, is feeling this bad about returning to work; if I’m feeling this, how must those who really don’t like or enjoy their work be feeling?

I’ve always found it incredibly patronising when people say, ‘sure if you don’t like it, leave it.’ It’s not that easy, nor is it that wise. We each have our own individual responsibilities, bills to pay each month, mortgages to meet, and so getting up and walking out on income security is a very high-risk strategy and not one I would ever recommend to anyone.

But what I do recommend, and what would be very smart, if you’re one of those stuck in a job, or career, that you really don’t enjoy and that is sucking the life out of you, now is to use this time now to start working on your personal escape plan.

FIVE TIPS TO CREATING YOUR PERSONAL EXIT STRATEGY.

1. DECIDE: What if you were to decide that, in twelve months’ time you wanted to be working somewhere new or doing something new? Starting with that time frame and reverse engineer and picture yourself doing this in September 2022. Here you are in a new job, with new colleagues, doing something that genuinely thrills you. How will you feel each day when you know with certainty that this is a job and career you love and that truly lights you up? That is exactly what you’re aiming for, and what’s possible for you if you choose it.

2. SCHEDULE: What steps could you take that will get you closer to there? Having made the decision, decide on an appropriate time frame and schedule and work backwards from that point. Under each month, fill out what needs to happen to ensure you stay on track and so you can monitor the progress you’re making along the way.

3. DREAM: Start creating a list of your dream jobs. What is it you wish you could do, not what others expect of you, or want you to do, but what is it you would love to do? Do you know of someone working in what you consider to be a dream job? Could you reach out to them and ask to have a ten-minute chat, in person or via Zoom, where you could ask them how they ended up in this job and what it entails on a day to day basis (it might not be all that it seems so this is a great way to discover). Ask them what advice they would suggest so that you could increase your chances of working in that area?

4. NETWORK: Attend events (in person or online) where business people you admire will be present. Join groups like the IMAGE Business Club to keep you fully informed and connected. Find business leaders you respect on social media, then follow them and engage with them in a meaningful way.

5. EDUCATE: Is there any education or training you could, or should, be doing? If so, what are the costs and timelines involved? Are there any online courses/ videos/ books that will inform you more? Carry out your own desk research also. Look into those companies you align with and see what opportunities they are talking about. Keep an eye on the business sections of the media for updated information.

Even by starting with these few small steps, you’ll start to believe that you are actually doing something positive and pro-active to change your current situation and this will immediately impact how you think about your current job? When you begin implementing your plan, it propels you forward, getting you closer to your vision. It is then that you can really start to connect with what is possible for you when fuelled with a little action!

Actress, Jennifer Aniston, famously admitted that she came close to leaving her career behind, following a job that ‘that sucked the life out of me. And left me not knowing if this is what interests me anymore’ Thank goodness she didn’t, as she went on, not long after to star in The Morning Show.

Nothing is forever, and that also applies for our careers and our jobs. Think of them as merely stepping stones for the next big thing for you. Please don’t settle and think this is your lot. It’s absolutely not! The answer to your current dilemma is not to settle, but nor is it to throw a strop and walk out on your financial security!

This is about taking charge, reclaiming your power and just watch as that spring comes back into your step when you prepare to implement your plan in a realistic but sensible manner.

To get you started, take out your journal and answer this question: “If there were no obstacles, if I had no money worries and if I felt confident in my ability to achieve great things, what is it I would want to do?” Then go do that.

Niamh Ennis is Ireland’s leading Empowerment and Transformation Coach, Founder of The RESET for Change 3 Month 1:1 Private Coaching Programme and host of The TOUGH LOVE ENERGY™ Podcast. She’s known for her practical solutions to life’s challenges and her ability to tell you not what you want to hear but always what you need. For more check out niamhennis.com or find her on Instagram @1niamhennis.

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