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Episode 4 5 Coping Strategies For When You Are Unhappy At Work

In this episode I provide 5 coping strategies which you can use when you are unhappy at work. I also provide a bonus tip about posting (or not) on social media.

The John HIlton article which I refer to in the podcast can be found at https://www.hcamag.com/au/specialisation/workplace-health-and-safety/are-aussie-workers-really-happy-in-their-jobs/174710

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to fill in the form on my website at https://purposevisionfuture.com and complete the quiz to see if you are living out your life purpose.

In this blog post, I will describe what happened to me when my agency was suddenly downsized, and will offer some tips on how to take the catastrophe out of redundancy. When the Commonwealth Public Service job cuts started in late 2013, I used to laugh when people would ask me if I was worried about redundancy. “of course not,” I would say, “the government will always need legislative drafters. And besides, I’m blind, a woman., and a union delegate. They wouldn’t dare!” I couldn’t have been more wrong. One day, we were all called into a meeting and were told that our agency was going to cut the number of legislative drafters by half. We would all be interviewed for our current jobs, and those who were ranked in the top 50 % would keep their employment. The rest would be offered voluntary redundancies. After the meeting, I shut myself in my office and just sat there for half an hour, sipping water. I couldn’t think, and all my bravado had disappeared. Then the questions flooded in – why should I have to apply for a job that I already applied for and won? What happens if I’m not in the top 50 %? Should I take a package, or take my chances trying to find a job during the redeployment period? What happens if I can’t find a job? How will I pay the mortgage? Know That Your redundancy is not the catastrophe it feels like If you have just found out that you may be made redundant, I promise you you’ll get through it. I’m living proof! It may feel like the roof is falling in, but it’s just creaking ominously overhead, and you’ll be OK. When Applying For Jobs Give It Your All A couple of weeks after the announcement, I had to reapply for my job. I really struggled with the injustice of this, as I had applied for and won my job on merit 7 years before, and felt that I had gained 7 years of valuable experience, and was really quite good at my job. I fell into the trap of feeling that I didn’t really need to justify my case for keeping my job. When I had applied for, and won, jobs in the past, I had always approached the application and interview processes with the attitude that “this job is mine, and if I don’t get it, it’s my fault for not making the panel understand that I am the best person for this job” Unfortunately I wasn’t able to write my application with this attitude. The interview was even worse, and by the end, I almost felt like getting down on my knees and begging to stay. I hadn’t put my whole heart into the process, and this is one of the reasons why I was not successful in keeping my job. So, if you have to go through a “spill and fill” process as I did, or you decide to apply for another job, apply for it as if your life depended on it. Build up your belief in yourself, and convince yourself, and the panel, that you are the only one who can do this job. Give it your whole heart! Join Your Union I can’t tell you how grateful I was for the support of the CPSU. From the time I found out I had to reapply for my job until my last day at work, they were in almost daily contact with me, keeping me updated, and just seeing how I was. They also advised me on the interpretation of my Workplace Agreement, which was extremely helpful. The good thing is, even if you hadn’t been a union member like I had, you can always join as soon as you find out that things aren’t going as expected, and you will get help and support from day one of your membership. Consider All Your Options As I had not been successful in keeping my Job, I had to decide whether to take a voluntary redundancy, or stay on the redeployment list for up to 3 months until a job was found for me. Both options terrified me. I’d I’d specialised and was afraid I wouldn’t be able to go back to general law work, and there was a job freeze on at the time, so new jobs were few and far between. I was offered the opportunity to join a friend’s network marketing business, and this was the first time that I considered that perhaps I could do something outside of Government. With the help of a coach, I used an online tool called Career Storm Navigator, to assess my skills, strengths, values, style and goals, and consider what careers would suit me. It was only then that I realised just how many options I had. I am now licensed to guide others through this tool, so please contact me if this interests you. Seek Financial Advice This is extremely important, whether you are considering taking a voluntary redundancy or not. Make sure that you get advice from someone who is qualified in both tax and superannuation matters. There are agencies who are not linked with superannuation companies, but who can provide unbiased advice. I used Stateplus for my superannuation advice, and Lifestyle Advisers for my tax and other financial advice. Make A Budget I looked at my finances over the previous two years, and worked out what I could do without, for a substantial period of time, and what I couldn’t. By the end, I had worked out, down to the last cent, what I could sensibly live on. This will show you how long your savings will support you while you look for work, and will also give you a good idea of the minimum income you will need to earn. Find Good Coping Mechanisms The period between the day I found out that I had not been successful in keeping my job, and the day I accepted my voluntary redundancy were extremely hard. I was feeling all sorts of emotions ranging from depression and rejection to anger and loneliness, and the reactions of my colleagues towards me were equally varied. My employer had an Employee Assistance Program, and I was able to obtain free counselling from them, and was given some great coping strategies. So see if your employer has such a program, and get in touch with your Employee Assistance Program provider for help. Take Advantage Of Everything That Is available To You Look closely at the provisions of your Workplace Agreement as this will provide for any entitlements you may be eligible for when facing redundancy I was, for example, able to get reimbursed for the cost of obtaining financial advice, and my employer also paid for some short retraining courses that interested me. This May be An Opportunity For A fresh Start At the time, I felt that my redundancy was the worst thing that could ever happen to me. Now, looking back, it was the best thing that has ever happened to me. Why redundancy was the push I needed to follow my dreams and start my own business. What Next? If you are facing redundancy or job loss and don’t know what to do next, please just reach out to me.

How To Take The Catastrophe Out Of Redundancy

In this blog post, I will describe what happened to me when my agency was suddenly downsized, and will offer some tips on how to take the catastrophe out of redundancy.

When the Commonwealth Public Service job cuts started in late 2013, I used to laugh when people would ask me if I was worried about redundancy. “of course not,” I would say, “the government will always need legislative drafters. And besides, I’m blind, a woman., and a union delegate. They wouldn’t dare!” I couldn’t have been more wrong.

One day, we were all called into a meeting and were told that our agency was going to cut the number of legislative drafters by half. We would all be interviewed for our current jobs, and those who were ranked in the top 50 % would keep their employment. The rest would be offered voluntary redundancies.

After the meeting, I shut myself in my office and just sat there for half an hour, sipping water. I couldn’t think, and all my bravado had disappeared.

Then the questions flooded in – why should I have to apply for a job that I already applied for and won? What happens if I’m not in the top 50 %? Should I take a package, or take my chances trying to find a job during the redeployment period? What happens if I can’t find a job? How will I pay the mortgage?

Know That Your redundancy is not the catastrophe it feels like

If you have just found out that you may be made redundant, I promise you you’ll get through it. I’m living proof!

It may feel like the roof is falling in, but it’s just creaking ominously overhead, and you’ll be OK.

When Applying For Jobs Give It Your All

A couple of weeks after the announcement, I had to reapply for my job. I really struggled with the injustice of this, as I had applied for and won my job on merit 7 years before, and felt that I had gained 7 years of valuable experience, and was really quite good at my job. I fell into the trap of feeling that I didn’t really need to justify my case for keeping my job.

When I had applied for, and won, jobs in the past, I had always approached the application and interview processes with the attitude that “this job is mine, and if I don’t get it, it’s my fault for not making the panel understand that I am the best person for this job” Unfortunately I wasn’t able to write my application with this attitude. The interview was even worse, and by the end, I almost felt like getting down on my knees and begging to stay. I hadn’t put my whole heart into the process, and this is one of the reasons why I was not successful in keeping my job.

So, if you have to go through a “spill and fill” process as I did, or you decide to apply for another job, apply for it as if your life depended on it. Build up your belief in yourself, and convince yourself, and the panel, that you are the only one who can do this job. Give it your whole heart!

Join Your Union

I can’t tell you how grateful I was for the support of the CPSU. From the time I found out I had to reapply for my job until my last day at work, they were in almost daily contact with me, keeping me updated, and just seeing how I was. They also advised me on the interpretation of my Workplace Agreement, which was extremely helpful.

The good thing is, even if you hadn’t been a union member like I had, you can always join as soon as you find out that things aren’t going as expected, and you will get help and support from day one of your membership.

Consider All Your Options

As I had not been successful in keeping my Job, I had to decide whether to take a voluntary redundancy, or stay on the redeployment list for up to 3 months until a job was found for me. Both options terrified me. I’d I’d specialised and was afraid I wouldn’t be able to go back to general law work, and there was a job freeze on at the time, so new jobs were few and far between.

I was offered the opportunity to join a friend’s network marketing business, and this was the first time that I considered that perhaps I could do something outside of Government.

With the help of a coach, I used an online tool called Career Storm Navigator, to assess my skills, strengths, values, style and goals, and consider what careers would suit me. It was only then that I realised just how many options I had. I am now licensed to guide others through this tool, so please contact me if this interests you.

Seek Financial Advice

This is extremely important, whether you are considering taking a voluntary redundancy or not. Make sure that you get advice from someone who is qualified in both tax and superannuation matters. There are agencies who are not linked with superannuation companies, but who can provide unbiased advice. I used Stateplus for my superannuation advice, and Lifestyle Advisers for my tax and other financial advice.

Make A Budget

I looked at my finances over the previous two years, and worked out what I could do without, for a substantial period of time, and what I couldn’t. By the end, I had worked out, down to the last cent, what I could sensibly live on. This will show you how long your savings will support you while you look for work, and will also give you a good idea of the minimum income you will need to earn.

Find Good Coping Mechanisms

The period between the day I found out that I had not been successful in keeping my job, and the day I accepted my voluntary redundancy were extremely hard. I was feeling all sorts of emotions ranging from depression and rejection to anger and loneliness, and the reactions of my colleagues towards me were equally varied.

My employer had an Employee Assistance Program, and I was able to obtain free counselling from them, and was given some great coping strategies. So see if your employer has such a program, and get in touch with your Employee Assistance Program provider for help.

Take Advantage Of Everything That Is available To You

Look closely at the provisions of your Workplace Agreement as this will provide for any entitlements you may be eligible for when facing redundancy I was, for example, able to get reimbursed for the cost of obtaining financial advice, and my employer also paid for some short retraining courses that interested me.

This May be An Opportunity For A fresh Start

At the time, I felt that my redundancy was the worst thing that could ever happen to me. Now, looking back, it was the best thing that has ever happened to me. Why redundancy was the push I needed to follow my dreams and start my own business.

What Next?

If you are facing redundancy or job loss and don’t know what to do next, please just reach out to me.

The 5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was In A Job That Made Me Miserable

image with the words lets learn and transition

It’s amazing how many people are miserable in their jobs. I know I was. Now, thankfully, I’m in a job that I love.

Here are 5 things that I wish I knew when I was stuck in a job that made me miserable.

1. You are not alone

If your job makes you miserable, remember that you are not alone.

I remember when I was in a job where I was being bullied. I felt so isolated and alone, as I thought I was the only one.

But, when I eventually plucked up the courage to tell someone what was going on, I found out that I was not the only one in the office, or even in our section, who was being bullied.

statistics show that 60% of Australian employees are miserable in their jobs. So, there’s a good chance that if you are miserable in your job, some of your colleagues probably are too. So, do some discrete asking around, and find people who are in the same position as you, and reach out to them for support.

Hopefully, you also have friends and family that you can reach out to for support as well. But remember not to dump everything on one person all the time, as it can get exhausting for them.

2. You always have the support of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

If you are a Government employee, EAP is a great source of support from trained counsellors and psychologists.

The great thing about EAP is that it’s free, and is not limited to work issues. It’s open to your family members as well as you.

I have used the service myself, and found it very helpful when I was going through the redundancy process. I was having difficulty coping with being in the office during my redeployment, as I felt very uncomfortable talking to my colleagues who had not been made redundant, as I felt they didn’t know what to say to me, and I didn’t know what to say to them. I felt that I didn’t fit in any more.

The psychologist I spoke to was able to give me some really good strategies for coping with being in the office, and dealing with the feelings of anger and rejection that I was experiencing. She even suggested that I speak to my employer about the possibility of working from home as much as possible.

I really recommend EAP as a great service for finding someone to talk to who is outside your workplace and not emotionally involved, who can give you some great coping strategies for whatever you’re going through at work. For more information, click here.

3. Finding great stuff to do outside work makes life much happier in general

I once was in a job in which I was miserable because I didn’t have enough to do. I know that’s very unusual these days.

So, I started selling Tupperware. It was great! I had something to look forward to every weekend, and sometimes in the evenings during the week. I was going out more than I had in the past, and was meeting lots of new and interesting people.

I’m not necessarily suggesting that you go out and sell Tupperware. But I do recommend that you find something to do after work, or on weekends, that you really enjoy. It will give you something to look forward to on a regular basis, and make it much easier to think about something other than work when you’re not at work.

4. Posting on social media may make you feel better in the short term, but the consequences could be serious

If your job makes you miserable, don’t post about it on social media. Seriously, don’t!

You never know who might see that tweet about how much you don’t like your boss, or that rant on Facebook about how much you hate your job. A friend of your boss might see that post, and pass it on!

If you are applying for jobs, this is particularly important, as there is nothing to stop a potential future employer from checking your social media profiles to see what sort of person you are. You wouldn’t want a future employer to decide not to employ you because they’ve seen a social media post from you complaining about your current job or employer.

I remember when I was doing some work for a nonprofit organisation a few years ago. They were in the process of negotiating a contract with someone, and just out of interest, someone in the organisation had a look at the twitter account of the new contractor. The account contained a number of tweets containing negative remarks about the nonprofit organisation, and so the contract negotiations were cancelled.

If you want to tell someone about how miserable you are in your job, tell your best friend, or your dog, or cat, or pet lizard, or whatever pet you have. Pets are so wonderful aren’t they? You can cry on their shoulders, or tell them anything, and they’ll keep your secrets.

5. Remember to take care of yourself

It’s so easy to forget to look after ourselves in times of stress, and turn to food, alcohol and other substances to make ourselves feel better. My substance of choice was alcohol.

While these substances make us feel better in the short term, it’s important to remember that long term overuse can lead to health problems such as weight gain, heart disease etc.

I used to find that exercise used to help me a great deal. I used to be a ballroom dancer. I could walk into a lesson in a fowl mood, and an hour later, would walk out feeling exhausted, but relaxed and happy. The same went for weightlifting years later.

I hope you’ve found these tips useful. If you have any questions, or would just like to talk about anything that I’ve raised here, please contact me.

Professional man and woman at a desk in discussion

Is your job making you miserable? Get support from EAP

 

If you’d rather watch the Facebook Live video of this content, please here. You don’t have to have a
Facebook account to watch this.

I’ve been writing in the last few blog posts about what to do if your job makes you miserable, and more specifically, who to talk to and how to do that.

In this post, I’d like to mention EAP, which is the Employee Assistance Program. If you are a Government employee, EAP is a great source of support from trained counsellors and psychologists.

The great thing about EAP is that it’s free, and open to your family members as well as you.

I have used the service myself, and found it very helpful when I was going through the redundancy process. The psychologist I spoke to was able to give me some really good strategies for coping with being in the office during my redeployment period.

I really recommend EAP as a great service for finding someone to talk to who is outside your workplace and not emotionally involved, who can give you some great coping strategies for whatever you’re going through at work. Just get the number from your HR area.

Until my next blog post, have a great day, and #DoWhatYouLove