I recently received an email from a gentleman telling me about his current job situation. He said, “I knew 3 months in that this job was wrong for me – and now it’s 5 years later. I’m still trying to make it work, but I know deep down that I should have gotten out a long time ago.”
Believe it or not, this happens far more often than you’d think. Many designers often take the first job that is available to them without first properly assessing the opportunity, simply because they need the paycheck. This leads to more and more creatives feeling burnt-out, uninspired, and altogether stuck in these dead-end jobs as a result of not knowing what they want. On the employer side, we’ve worked with enough corporate clients to have learned their secret: they don’t know what they want either! In fact, in one of our most bizarre cases, we actually witnessed the CIO and VP of Design of a major company debate on a job description after they had extended an employment offer.
This unusual cycle of uncertainty from both employee and employer alike has caused a major spike in the frequency of employee turnover rates. Just look at job permanence today: there is none. Instead of growing with a company for 10 years at a time as people did in the past, it’s become commonplace for most people to only stay at a job for a year or two; they can’t see the opportunities to move up and evolve within a company so they would rather find a new job. Not only is this an issue on the job seeker side: we’ve encountered employers who don’t know how to evolve their workers into different positions, so it becomes easier for them to lay off entire teams at a time and just start from scratch. Naturally, this becomes an issue for both sides because the constant shifting gets in the way of any potential growth they could be achieving; they take one step forward, only to take two steps back and it isn’t doing anyone any good.
When we started the Thrive By Design program, we realized that it was about more than just reframing your work experience the right way. Knowing where you want to go next is only the first step; it’s crucial of course because understanding how to tell your story is what attracts opportunity to you in the first place. Once you’re past this stage of reframing yourself, however, the next critical step becomes evaluation. You will have tons of companies waving opportunities in front of your face: how do you know which opportunity is the right one?
We’ve met and worked with countless creatives who have been desperately struggling to avoid unemployment for so long that they just pull the trigger and sign up for any job or take any client, without assessing the situation – and of course, just a few short months later, they find themselves right back where they started. One such person was a designer we worked with not too long ago.
When she signed up for our Thrive By Design program, she was on the losing end of a 7-year battle to make the shift from publishing to strategy. She had worked with other coaches, mentors, and programs time and again, only to be told the same thing: her career trajectory was too unfocused, too scattered to make sense of; the only feasible solution was to take measures to disguise her professional past and make the most of any and every opportunity that came her way. Upon joining the TBD program, she learned to do something that she had been sorely missing, that is, to adopt and enforce a career strategy.
After so many years of underemployment which had affected her faith in her ability to become a viable design strategist, she found a new job just a few months into the TBD program. Initially, she learned that the expectations she had based on the job description were in fact very different from the reality of the position, but using her newfound skills, she found an angle that worked to her advantage and used it to leverage her position within the company. Through our program, she learned to frame a larger global issue the company was facing, package it, and propose a feasible solution. Within months of her being at this new job, she was able to reposition herself within the company; the founding partner of the corporation flew in from Dublin to give her a promotion and a raise for not only identifying but solving a problem that had been plaguing the company for years. She has since been promoted in that same company not one but THREE times over the course of the past two years.
A move like this is unprecedented and frankly, impossible without outside help. Employers and clients can only do so much to convince you to work for them. They operate with a different set of metrics, evaluating whether or not you are right for them based on their own needs. It is your own responsibility to flip the script and evaluate your opportunities based on what you know you require.
If you’re ready to learn how to unlock your true potential and thrive, book a strategy call today. We can give you the tools you need to do this right.