By Dr. Daneen Skube
Tribune Content Agency
Q. I work too much and feel pretty much underpaid and underappreciated. Promises were made when I first took this job, and none of these promises have been fulfilled. When I try to meet with my manager, he avoids me. I figure it is time to hit the job hunt trail. I can't wait to see my manager's face when I tell him to shove this stupid job. Is there a best way to look for a job while still employed?
A. I'm a huge fan of always keeping one resume out the door all the time, no matter how happy you are in your job. However, I strongly recommend that you don't follow through with your revenge plot to tell your current manager to "shove it."
Obviously, as a counselor and executive coach, I completely understand such feelings. You feel betrayed and disappointed in how you've been treated, and it completely normal to be angry about that.
However, you should channel your anger into the energy to look at all the cool jobs you could do and all the enjoyable companies you could work for. Putting your anger into feeling victimized gives away the power you need to land a great job.
Feelings in most respects are just energy. Consider a feeling to be a force of nature like water. Clearly the earth needs water. Rain clears the air and nourishes plants and animals, but tsunamis and floods can be very destructive. Just as we need water, we need our feelings, but we have the option to use them well.
When I am really mad, I often bust open my old boxes of thinking and solutions. For instance, I might go ahead and send resumes. But I might also google the names of everyone I admire in my field and find any excuse to talk to them. Can I write an article and interview them? Can I have an hour of their time and pay them for that hour. Do we have anything in common that would get me in to see them?
Remember, companies may put out job postings, but human beings decide who can best solve their upcoming problems. If you can focus more on helping your future employer, you will focus less on self-esteem doubts such as whether you have confidence or are good enough.
When I am mad I also find that I am not very afraid of taking risks. There is something liberating about being truly enraged. Suddenly, whatever I fear might happen shrinks in importance and I become bold and creative. I always think to myself that it's hard to fall off the floor when I'm already on it. So sometimes being down can lead to moving up.
Also, be grateful that you have learned a critical career lesson. People in business will do whatever they believe is in their best interests at that moment. If you have not gotten a promise in writing with a penalty for not fulfilling that promise, it is pretty much worth the paper it is not written on. Those who hired you might have meant what they said when they hired you - but that was then.
Once you get a good job offer, go to your current boss and alert him that you and he discussed many possibilities when you took the job, and they haven't developed. Let him know you've had a superb opportunity and can't turn it down unless you renegotiate your current position. Now, if he doesn't want to lose you, make sure he writes down his promises.
If he doesn't make any effort to keep you, then you have learned you were never valued at your current job. Please know that it doesn't mean you aren't valuable; it just means this boss or this company wasn't capable of valuing you. You don't want to stay in jobs where your contribution means nothing, because all your good work is going into a black hole where gratitude should exist.
The last word(s)
Q. I have been finding it very hard to get out of bed. I'm weepy a lot and feeling hopeless. Everything I read says to just keep trying and think positive. I can't. Is something wrong with me?
A. No, something is wrong with that stupid advice! Brain chemistry is real and extremely powerful, just like diabetes. See a psychiatrist, and realize you cannot change your brain chemistry by positive thinking.
Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel's "Workplace Guru" each Monday morning. She's the author of "Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything" (Hay House, 2006). You can contact Dr. Skube at www.interpersonaledge.com or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.
This column was printed in the February 21, 2016 - March 5, 2016 edition.