When times are tough in the job market, it can make employees fear moving on (unless they have a new position in the bag). Intense fear can cause employees to freeze. It can lead them to stay put in jobs they can’t stand—jobs that aren’t stretching them personally or professionally.

Is this you?

If so, this article has practical, measurable steps to assess your situation and, if necessary, extricate yourself from a job that makes you anxious, unhappy and even sick.

Assess the situation

Making the decision to move on can be challenging, but assessing your situation with honesty is a great first step. Write down what’s bothering you. Then ask if you can change matters for the better or if doing so will be an uphill battle.

If, for example, you’re on a project you don’t like but that project is almost finished, it might be worth hanging in. If, on the other hand, you have a new manager who is an unkind dictator, you might want to start looking. If you’ve hit a ceiling with no chance of promotion, you may want to explore other opportunities, even in your organisation.

Don’t stay for fear

It’s natural to fear change, especially in today’s COVID-affected job market. You might fear you won’t find another position. You might fear you don’t have what it takes for a new career path. You might fear you’ll apply for jobs and be rejected.

These fears shouldn’t force you to stay in a job that doesn’t give you joy. Doing something about your situation will make you feel better, manage your fear and find meaningful work.

Think outside the box

You might hate your job but like the company you work for. In this case, try talking to your boss and/or human resources department about your situation. This might uncover opportunities like transferring to a new section or project. It might uncover new ways to stimulate your growth.

With options, you may decide not to leave. If you do, consider registering with a recruiter.

Talk to a recruiter

Talking helps. Our talent managers and recruiters help jobseekers tease out possibilities. They’re expert at highlighting your skills and getting to know your story. It doesn’t cost anything to use our services—they’re free to all jobseekers. Remember, your conversations with us are strictly confidential.

Quality recruiters will expose you to ideas that will land you a dream job. Here are other reasons it’s wise to use a quality recruiter:

Looking for work? Why not use a recruiter?

Choosing an award-winning recruiter

Are all recruitment agencies equal?

Be prepared to do some work

Today’s job market is competitive, but this shouldn’t stop you from putting yourself out there.

Be prepared to do some work, however:

Be kind to yourself

Chances are you’re not going to land the first job you apply for. Fearing this shouldn’t stop you from moving forward. Be patient. Understand that searching for a job takes time. Keep reminding yourself that searching is better than stagnating in your unhappy position without hope of a better work life.

Stimulate your brain

One way to manage unhappiness is to stimulate your brain. Strengthening your skills and learning new things will motivate you. It will also enhance your attractiveness as a jobseeker.

Short courses are a great way to learn specific skills. Many can be completed online in the comfort of your home.

Final tips

  1. If you choose to use a recruiter, choose one who has your best interests at heart.
  2. Avoid sending your resume to every agency. If you do so, you might find yourself inundated with jobs that aren’t the right fit. This will only add to your frustration. You might also end up tripping over yourself, by applying for the same job through so many recruiters you’ll look unorganised to prospective employers.
  3. Use our free:
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