For this installment of 7 questions, I’m tackling a question that a lot of people seem to have on their minds these days, as costs are rising and quality of life seems to be diminishing. In addition, I know that many of you are young professionals and sometimes juggling home, family and work is a pretty difficult circus act.
Working from home has come under fire a lot in recent years (Marissa Mayer and Yahoo! come to mind), in part because employees are not often held as accountable for their work and productivity. That said, a productive employee is a productive employee, and chances are if they are motivated enough to examine how they can be a better worker, they are motivated enough to make telecommuting work to its greatest advantage.
So without further adieu, the questions:
I’m not sure if it’s my youth (full disclosure: I’m not really that young) or my personality that adores autonomy and cringes at the concept, and the idea, of micromanagement. In the past seven years, I have been proud to watch the board of our organization grow from a lopsided grassroots board to one who is gradually taking the governance reins and is making great strides.
But as we all know, utopia is a myth, and I have talked to more than one colleague who has at least one person that is making their life relatively sour due to a constant hawkish attention to the tasks that are supposed to be trusted to that person. Sometimes this attention persists, even in light of reassurance from their peers that the aforementioned person is doing the right thing for the organization.
If you’re like me (and I know I am), your Sunday thoughts about work can go in two general directions as you subconsciously (or consciously) prep yourself for the workweek. On the one hand, you love your job and your career and think about ways that you can make it even better. On the other hand, thinking of Monday gives you a sick, I-need-a-mental-health-day feeling in the pit of your stomach.
Fortunately, I am currently in the former camp, but I feel your pain if you’re in the latter and have been there too. There is nothing worse than feeling stuck in a job you hate. I have found that taking the time to honestly think about the pros and cons of your situation, and to plan an improvement strategy, is always a good idea.
For those of you who love your jobs, congratulations. But don’t rest on your laurels. What’s next? Where do you see yourself in five years? As a leader in your own company? In a senior position? With a higher salary? As a consultant? There are a variety of things that you can do now to position yourself well for the future that you choose. Taking advantage of learning opportunities, learning new skills, and improving your work habits will all help you get there. Finding a mentor may also be a good choice.
What do you dislike about your current job: Your boss? Your coworkers? Your salary? Your office or cubicle? The work itself? Fortunately, these things can all be remedied by proactivity, even if that proactivity means finding a position elsewhere.
Good communication with your superior is key. If you don’t feel like you have a rapport with them, your issues may end up being irreparable. But if you’re only letting yourself think that you can’t communicate with them, then it would be worth it to give it a try, especially if there are parts of your job that you enjoy very much. They can also help you work through other problems that you are having that may stem from coworkers, work environment, lack of autonomy, etc. Above all, being able to communicate what you feel you are bringing to the table, and taking initiative to meet issues head-on, will allow you to stand out among your peers, increasing advancement opportunities.
If your situation is beyond help, however, a job search is probably in your future. Here are some nonprofit job search resources that may be helpful to you.
- Making the Jump Making the Career Jump from For-Profit to Not-for-Profit (from The Bridgespan Group)
- Start with the Man in the Mirror: Updating Your Job Search Methods Things that you can do to optimize yourself for the job search and subsequent interviews (from Nonprofit Jobs)
- A list of nonprofit job sites on Nonprofit Charitable Orgs at About.com
Any reader tips out there for advancing in your career or making a change?