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Good Work vs Crap Work: The Quest to Find One and Avoid the Other

Good Work vs Crap Work: The Quest to Find One and Avoid the Other

Good Work vs Crap Work: The Quest to Find One and Avoid the Other

I’m just completed the very informative and interesting, but slightly depressing read of the Institute for the Future of Work’s report on the spread of ‘Amazonian’ work practices –The Amazonian Era: How algorithmic systems are eroding good work | Institute for the Future of Work report funded by Trust for London. Their survey found that 55% of workers felt less valued by their employers after recent changes to work practices, while 49% felt less fulfilled. The report calls for a ‘human-centered approach to technology and a renewed focus on making work better’

In case you wondered, Amazonian is a corporate rather than geographical reference-with that well-known online retailer held up as a symbol of the draconian, soul-sucking work environments which are most likely to make for a crap experience of work, all being made worse by the dehumanizing ways in which algorithms are being used to plan work, and a crap experience of work can literally make you ill in multiple ways, as this Huffington Post article attests. This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Hate Your Job

I do acknowledge that in the case of work, one person’s ‘good’ may be another’s ‘crap’ and vice versa (e.g. some people thrive on working to targets, others hate it; some people love dealing full on with members of the public, others would rather stick pins in their eyes, and so on and so on) and also that good jobs can have crap elements, and vice versa. We’re always at some point on a continuum.

Even so, maybe there are some baseline factors that are more likely to make work good, the absence of which will be likely to make work crap. I’ll have a go at identifying these here;

When you’re In good work;

  1. you are decently rewarded for your work
  2. you feel respected and valued
  3. you have some say in how you do your job
  4. you are not subject to petty and dehumanising rules
  5. you get the chance to use your skills, knowledge, and experience, and to gain more of each
  6. you can see how your work is making a contribution to something/making something better

In crap work, well, just take the list above and think of the opposites!
I once read that ‘being in a crap job is not your fault, staying in one is.’ I’m not sure I would point the finger at someone staying in a crap job and I appreciate that walking out of one is easier said than done in current times. Many feel they have no choice, or the non-choice of crap job vs no job. But if you find you’re in a crap job right now, I’d encourage you to set an intention to leave, or at the very least explore the possibility of leaving for the sake of your sanity, your physical health and the people who care about you.

Here are some of five things you can do to make that happen.

  1. Make a list of your skills, experience, knowledge, and successes.
    One of the things crap work scenarios can do is chip away at your confidence and make you focus on your weaknesses, not your strengths, so taking some time to remember all the positive things you can bring to a role is well-worth doing. If you get stuck you can get family, friends and ex-colleagues to jog your memory!
  2. Update or revamp your CV making sure it does justice to the things you’ve listed in 1 above
  3. Do some research into the job market, and identify some possible target jobs
    There is tons of information out there on the labour market. Some starting points for online research are;
    • LMI for all’s Careerometer widget which offers current salary details and tracks likely growth in particular job roles up until 2024. Careerometer – LMI For All
    Glassdoor first hand perspectives on what it’s like to work for a whole range of companies, from people who’ve worked for them
    Graduate Prospects an extensive range of job profiles for a range of graduate jobs
    • Explore Careers Job Profiles from the National Careers Service Explore careers | National Careers Service
  4. Draw up a Leaving Timeline: set an ideal date for making your escape, and put steps in place towards that date, which can serve as a motivational ‘light at the end of the tunnel’
  5. Discuss your ideas with a qualified and experienced careers professional who can guide and support help you with steps 1 and 3 above.

You can contact me for a free 20-minute Discovery Session- to find out about my Career Consultation sessions and other services, see this link for further details Contact Paul Gaunt, Careers Advisor

Paul's Pricing Guide

Discovery Session
20 minutes - No commitment

Free

Career Consultations -
Includes email follow up & career resources

£50

Job Interview Preparation -
Interview preparation consultation

£45

Job Application checks
Includes free guide to social media networking for emloyment

£35

 

Career Tip: Don’t Compare Your Insides to Other People’s Outsides

Career Tip: Don’t Compare Your Insides to Other People’s Outsides

Career Tip: Don’t Compare Your Insides to Other People’s Outsides

Have you ever found yourself judging your internal experience by looking at others’ external demeanour? Or to put it another way, judging your behind-the-scenes preparations against someone else’s ‘highlights reel’? From a career development perspective, this is a mindset well worth avoiding.

In the ‘old days’ (pre-Zoom), we might go for a job interview and end up sitting with the other candidates, nervously waiting to be called in for our ‘grilling’, or maybe sweating through the ordeal of an assessed group exercise.

If you’ve been in that situation, maybe you can recall the distinct feeling that everyone else seemed calm, confident and generally together while you were focussing on your sweaty palms, shaky voice, and the fluttering of butterflies in your stomach. You might have had a similar experience on your first day at a new school, or a new job, or in a particularly high stakes meeting where you’ve wondered ‘am I the only one here who doesn’t quite get it?’

The American writer Anne Lamott is credited with the instruction ‘don’t judge your insides by other peoples’ outsides’ The thing is, we can easily fall into seeing others’ external poise and apparent confidence and comparing it with our own inner unease when that comparison isn’t valid-because we can’t see what’s going on in their heads.

Or we may be the one struggling to find a direction for our career, and thinking that everyone else seems to have theirs sorted. This is usually an illusion.

Left unchecked, the tendency to judge our insides by others outsides can seriously stifle our willingness to take chances, put ourselves forward for opportunities, and express our honest opinion on something that’s really important to us. In short, the effects can be limiting to our career and to life in general.

So, in that interview waiting area, that new team you’ve joined, or that high stakes meeting, it’s really worth remembering that others are probably experiencing something similar to you. They might even be looking at you and thinking ‘he/she seems to have it all together!’ The truth is we are all ‘muddling through’ in one way or another, putting on our ‘fake it to make it’ face and often just putting one foot in front of the other and taking the next breath to keep going.

See Hollywood actor Rob Lowe’s personal and powerful take on not judging our insides by other peoples outsides here Rob Lowe: “Don’t Judge Your Insides by Someone Else’s Outsides”.

Paul's Pricing Guide

Discovery Session
20 minutes - No commitment

Free

Career Consultations -
Includes email follow up & career resources

£50

Job Interview Preparation -
Interview preparation consultation

£45

Job Application checks
Includes free guide to social media networking for emloyment

£35

 

Accentuating the positive in job seeking and career thinking

Accentuating the positive in job seeking and career thinking

Accentuating the positive in job seeking and career thinking

Regulating our intake of negative news is regarded as a healthy habit for keeping out outlook on life positive and balanced, and maintaining a more optimistic view of the future. This principle translates well to the way we think about ourselves, when there are demonstrable benefits to our enjoyment of life and to job seeking and our career prospects, of keeping in mind our skills, our achievements and the positive potential for our future.

I’ve lost count of late of the number of posts and articles I’ve seen on self-care and wellbeing strategies that recommend limiting your intake of news media.

If news media are there as a service to keep us informed and up to date with what’s going on in the world, why should we limit our consumption of it? I guess one obvious answer is that with 24/7 rolling news media on tap, we can easily let it consume our time and distract us from doing other things that might be more productive.

A second reason is that much news media-reliant as it is on ratings-has a bias towards the dramatic How Negative News Distorts Our ThinkingPsychology Today (meaning negative more often than not) which can affect our view of the world and in turn our mental health. The media exaggerates negative news. This distortion has consequencesThe Guardian

This is not to deny that the last year has presented us with more than enough bad stuff-the pandemic and all its social, economic, and health consequences. Yet, there is value to taking another perspective and thinking of the resilience, creativity, and acts of kindness that a crisis like our current one can produce. I was very heartened to come across The Year in Cheer article from Reasons to Be Cheerful, sharing 112 items of positive news stories from 2020. There are some real gems here that you won’t have seen covered in the usual media outlets- some great examples of human creativity, resilience, and kindness.

If it’s worth looking beyond the mainstream media for some hidden gems of good news, it will also be worth going through a similar process with yourself.

If you’ve had a rough ride, jobs or education-wise, in recent times, negative thoughts and feelings are a natural and understandable response. But it can be incredibly valuable to work on finding the positives in yourself and your situation.

Some suggestions to help with this process:

  • Make a list of all the people in your personal network; people who can vouch for you, write a testimonial, remind you of your skills and personal qualities, or just provide emotional/psychological support. See this article from Glassdoor on how you can use your networks to help you 4 Ways to Leverage Your Network To Survive The Current Job Market – Glassdoor
  • Write a list of your successes from previous jobs, courses, voluntary or community work, leisure activities. Times when you’ve helped someone, made or saved money, created something new, been part of a winning team, overcome a big challenge. If you’re struggling to remember them, get the people above to remind you.
  • Use the above to revamp your CV and Linked In profile (if you don’t have one-time to create one)
  • Find out what sectors are doing well and growing. There are always some that are-and they will include roles that aren’t necessarily obvious to most of us.
    Here are some articles you can use to help with looking;
    Jobs on the Rise | United Kingdom linkedin.com
    Edge publish latest Skills Shortage BulletinEdge Foundation
  • Identify people in these sectors you can approach and message them
  • Develop a routine to make all of the above regular actions

I know from personal experience that all of this is not easy, that maintaining positivity about ourselves, especially in challenging times like these, can be tough. But I also know that by doing the above regularly, we can get a more positive perspective on ourselves, our value and qualities, and in turn our opportunities.

Remember to keep focussed on the good news about yourself – your skills, your personal qualities, your successes, and your potential.

Paul's Pricing Guide

Discovery Session
20 minutes - No commitment

Free

Career Consultations -
Includes email follow up & career resources

£50

Job Interview Preparation -
Interview preparation consultation

£45

Job Application checks
Includes free guide to social media networking for emloyment

£35