Dis-engaged from your job and feeling stuck?

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It is towards the end of another year and as much as COVID19 has shaken the foundation of job security for most of us. Leading to a short term spell of gratitude for having a job. Often the end or the beginning of a year brings about a period of reflection about where we are in our lives and whether our jobs are aligned to where we want to be. This can lead to feeling stuck because even though we may no longer want to be in the jobs that we are in, there might not be a lot of opportunities in the job market to move due to the depressing impact of the pandemic on the economy.

There is an expression attributed to Maya Angelou that says that if you don’t like the situation that you are in you have 3 options: 1. Change your attitude towards the situation, 2. Change the situation or 3. Leave the situation. Let’s apply this model to this situation.

  1. Change your attitude

Someone said that before you give therapy to a patient check who they are surrounded with. Others say that you are the result of 5 people you are most surrounded with. I would suggest that you start by analyzing whether you are not surrounded by complainers and if you are not letting yourself get sucked in to their pessimism. Sometimes those water cooler conversations are not the healthiest and it would be best to avoid them as much as possible.

Remind yourself what got you excited about the job. Sometimes we can miss the forest for the trees. It can be the case that you do enjoy the job that you do and that you maybe allowing an aspect of the job or the company that you don’t like cloud the whole picture. Remind yourself, what about the job that you really like and if it is not worth tolerating or reframing the stuff you do not like. Review the importance of what you do not like about the place, in the grand scheme of things

Get a side hustle: sometimes you might just be placing too much expectation on your job to fulfil all of your needs and that might not be possible. What if you start something on the side that will form a creative outlet for you? What if you volunteer your skills for NGO’s /NPOs or mentorships to get the fulfilment that you might not be receiving from your job, or what if you focus on growing your side hustle and see your job as an investment vehicle to grow it to the point where it can pay you a salary and you can leave?

Take advantage of a developmental opportunity your job allows for. If they pay for training, you could start a course that would make your more marketable. You could also focus on the development of an attribute that would make you more marketable e.g. more staff management experience, or industry experience, etc.

2.Change the situation/place

What influence do you have on changing the situation in your work? Could you maybe ask to be moved into another department or come up with a project that would make your job exciting again? Consider what avenues are available to you to be able to influence change in your current situation. Could you negotiate flexi hours or negotiate a higher salary? Could you start a support system in the workplace that will make it more manageable?


You could take steps towards leaving the organization. I know that the economy might be depressed but I always say to myself, Busi you are looking for one job, not many, just one, surely the depressed economy can spare one job. Have your CV reviewed, post it and brush up on your interview skills. Join and be active in your professional or industry groups. I was once offered a position based on my outspokenness and contribution to discussions in a professional group. Finally, let your network know you are in the market, someone might just remember you when an opportunity for someone with your skills come up. While you are waiting, consider option 1 or 2 above.

Author: Busisiwe Hlatswayo


Published by Hlatswayobusisiwe

MBA (Henley), Career Coach and Founder Black Women in the workplace www.blackwomenintheworkplace.com

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