By Kristine Steinberg, CEO of Kismet
The dog days of summer. Long, hot days spent (hopefully) relaxing with the ones you love.
For many of us, the last thing we want to think about is the rigor of September that looms around the corner. Back-to-school, the end of Summer Fridays, the full team back in the office, back to the grind…
But I’m getting ahead of myself. August is a chance to check in with yourself before heading full force into the fall. It’s the perfect time to reconnect with yourself and assess your level of happiness with the work you do, the job you have, the team you’re on, the manager you have, and the company you’re with.
Start with a gut check. When you think about diving back in full-force into your work, do you feel excitement — or dread? Are you filled with a sense of purpose or anxiety? When you imagine yourself driving to the office, is there any hesitation or nagging feeling? Do you wish something was better or different? Do you want to run towards your work — or flee?
If you and your job are not in sync, consider these coaching questions to take stock of your current situation, identify what’s underneath it, and get ahead of the “Sunday Scaries” that may arrive come September.
Job Hygiene Assessment:
- When you think of September, when summer is winding down and work is picking up with a more focused energy, how do you feel? Overall, are your feelings leaning toward excitement or dread?
- If you answered “excitement,” what are three areas you are most excited about? What do you want to dive into more fully? How do you want to progress?
- If your gut instinct was “dread,” write down the specific aspects of your job that you’re dreading. What’s beneath it? It could be anger, frustration, confusion, or something else. What is missing from your work life? What do you need more or less of that would make your job feel more exciting?
- Is your answer above centered around the job itself (your role, salary, title, or promotion timeline), or the people you work with? If it’s about people, you’re not alone. Most people leave their managers, teams, or company cultures — not their job. If your job hinges on rank, file, power dynamics, and a lack of trust, that’s a toxic work environment.
- Consider your own contribution to the issues you have defined. What is your role in creating them? Make sure that you have done the necessary work on yourself and that the situation you’re experiencing now is not a pattern which has happened in previous jobs, too. If you have a coworker you trust, talk to them and confirm that this is a real, clear issue that they have also seen. Note: Working with a coach can be helpful in identifying and changing behavioral patterns. Learn more about coaching with Kismet.
- Is there a way to fix the situation you’ve identified, or is it past the point of fixing? If you haven’t talked to others about your situation yet, now’s the time. If you have already tried everything possible, it might be time to go.
- Start making your plan. If it’s a necessary conversation or change at your current job, think about who you need to talk to and who will advocate for you. What do you need to improve your situation? If it’s an exit, be strategic as you plot it. Have a clear definition of what you want to find in your next role.
In my experience as a coach, clients often come to me when they already know something needs to change — they just don’t know why or how. They’re usually right on the cusp of making a necessary, significant shift, whether it’s leaving a job, leaving a relationship, accepting a job, or accepting themselves. They’ve been pushed to the edge and just need someone to face their fears and nudge them over the cliff. They need permission to take the leap.
If you can relate to this feeling and are considering making a big life change yourself, my advice for you is to do it from a logical, practical, strategic place. Get ahead of the point where you are pushed to the edge. Address your current situation now, when you have a bit more time and space to do so. Talk to friends, family, your trusted coworkers, or even a coach about your situation. Make a plan for the future.
When in doubt or overcome by fear, return to your gut feeling. If it’s dread, there’s a reason for it. If you don’t do something about it now, you’ll likely self-sabotage, become a lower performer, and the choice to stay or go may be made for you.
Strive for a feeling of excitement when you think about going back to work full-force come September. You deserve a life filled with purpose and fulfillment, even (and especially) in your work life. A job and team that you want to focus your energy on. You have the power to design a life where there is joy to find around every corner — and what’s more exciting than that?
Kristine Steinberg is the CEO of Kismet. She believes that your life should be deeply fulfilling — not tolerated. Partner with Kismet to dismantle fear, define your path, and lead with courage. Start your transformation today: www.thisiskismet.com.