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“A job is what you make of it”. 7 Tips on how to get out of a Professional Rot.

Either because of the economy, job attrition, lack of proper professional development programs or advancement opportunities at your current place of employment, maybe due to  lack luster leadership, lack of know-how or outright self-pity, a time may come when professional frustration and disenchantment sets in.

It is not hard to recognize the signs of someone who has hit the proverbial wall. Most of the times the signs are quite clear: disenchantment, disgruntledness, boredom, lack of pride in the product or service being delivered, change in performance or commitment to corporate goals, absenteeism, verbal frustration to name a few.  Other times the signs are a bit harder to pin-point even to the person feeling them. You may see a clear change of drive, change in behaviour or attitude towards peers or leadership. In some cases you may find yourself channeling your frustration to other areas of your life with unsuspecting victims caught in the process.

Like most things in life when you find yourself in a particular emotional or intellectual space it is the result of both internal and external factors, which is another way of saying that things that you can and cannot control are always at play in determining your reality. And even though you may be right and your work environment has the nurturing elements of a concentration camp or nepotism or cronyism may never allow you the opportunities you desire, not all is lost. You may also be wrong, and opportunities are there for the taking, especially in an entrepreneurial environment.

Everything on the outside is just that, external, temporary. If you do not like the view, change direction. Small steps lead to giant leaps and waking yourself up is the very first step.

Here are 7 quick tips that in my opinion can jump start anyone who wishes a fresh start:

1)      Ask yourself a different question.  Tony Robins tells us that every day all day we unconsciously ask ourselves the questions that define our interpretation of reality: Why me? What are they talking about? Where are they going? Why are we doing this again? What is her problem? Pay attention to the questions you ask yourself. If they have a negative undertone give them a positive spin and ask positive questions.   Instead of why is this happening? Ask yourself what about this can be good? This may sounds silly but I do believe that when you change your vocabulary and you can change your life.


2)      Redefine you Goals. Write down immediately without thinking what is important to you, what are you greatest needs or desires.  Write the first five things that come to mind. Is it money? security? recognition? life/work balance? a legacy ? What is important as well as who is important to you.  Be honest with yourself.  After you identify them think of the cause and effect. Focus on the actions that you will need to take in order to attain what is the most important to you and how that fits with your current job.  Remember your current job is just your starting point, your “you are here” mark.


3)      Become a Builder.  Borrow from the building industry.  How do you build (create) something: you come up with a concept, do research, draw plans, identify materials/resources, time lines, budgets, break ground, build a strong foundation and follow the plan.  Like a builder you work on the present one step at a time – sometimes, messy sometimes dirty – with hard work and commitment you will reach your goals and visions towards the future.


4)      Find Inspiration.  Find someone that has achieved what you aspire.  Find out more about them if it is someone accessible, be bold ask for a brief meeting, correspond with them, being honest about your intentions and respectful of their time.  Most successful people I have met feel great responsibility and have great respect for anyone willing to work hard to get ahead.  Not the time to be shy, the only thing I cannot emphasize enough is: if you are lucky to find such a real life mentor and you are granted a meeting go prepared, do not ask for a job, money or a short-cut.   You can also find inspiration from historical figures or a successful personality whose life has been greatly documented, if alive you may wish to reach out to them, you may be surprised who answers back.  Once of my most inspirational authors re-tweeted a quote I had posted which absolutely made my day.


5)      Tell the world.  Get excited about yourself and about your goals.  Let your goals become a prominent part of your life.  Do something that touches those goals every single day.  Network, network, network.  Find kindred spirits that are a positive influence and can share knowledge or experiences.  I read once that the best way to learn is to teach.  Tell anyone that will listen about the work you are doing, what you have learned, why it means so much to you, what you are hoping to accomplish, you may find yourself a champion to your cause.  Do make sure you back up some of the talk with action every step of the way.


6)      Challenge yourself.  Challenge and discomfort are mutually inclusive.  To challenge yourself at anything new is to grow.  In order to go to second base you must get your foot off first base, to sail the ocean you must leave the shore. In order to reach your wildest dreams you must have some wild dreams to begin with…I could go on …. but I am pretty sure you got it.


7)      Sharpen the Saw. The seventh habit of Highly Effective People.  In one of many books dearest to my heart, Steven Covey taught us to:  “Sharpen the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have–you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual…As you renew yourself in each of the four areas, you create growth and change in your life. Sharpen the Saw keeps you fresh so you can continue to practice the other six habits. You increase your capacity to produce and handle the challenges around you. Without this renewal, the body becomes weak, the mind mechanical, the emotions raw, the spirit insensitive, and the person selfish. Not a pretty picture, is it?”


The only limit to your impact is your imagination and commitment.Tony Robbins


Carolina Billings

Carolina Billings

Carolina M. Billings is an executive with 15+ year’s leadership experience in the fields of Business Development, Human Resources and Finance. As CFO-CHRO of a multi-million business conglomerate, she performs a truly interdisciplinary role within a portfolio of diverse industries ranging from Supply Chain, Logistics & Distribution, Wealth Management, Furniture Import, Sales & Distribution as well as Interior Design. She champions leadership initiatives as well as empowering and coaching/mentoring others to lead. Developing a hybrid of Finance and Human Resources has enable her to become leading business partner. Her great ability to influence and engage others in the pursuit of goals and objectives makes her a true innovator and change agent. Carolina is currently pursuing her Masters in Interdisciplinary studies with Royal Roads University, She holds Graduate Certificates from Cornell University and Queen’s University in the fields of Change Management and Leadership. She is a Co-Active Professional coach currently doing her practicum towards Certification with ICF. She holds a CHRL designation and a High Honor’s HRM Graduate Certificate. Carolina is the founder of Big Fish Coaching a private practice specializing in personal leadership, career coaching, conflict resolutions and life change management.
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4 Comments » for “A job is what you make of it”. 7 Tips on how to get out of a Professional Rot.
  1. Kelly Winters says:

    Wonderful article and how true it is – its time to take a personal inventory after the past few years of economic turmoil .

  2. Mike Smith says:

    English as a first language plus a post-graduate degree: no guarantee of correct spelling, punctuation or grammar. Get someone to proofread your material before hitting ‘Send’.

  3. Martin Cowie says:

    How true Mike. I sent a cover letter to a potential employer and later noticed a mistake at the bottom. I am sure that this was noticed and I was overlooked for the position. It is unfortunate that companies and recruiters will hold such a little mistake against you however, it does happen. My Grandmother used to have a great saying that I will alway remember “Something bad always happens for the better”.
    Great article Carolina. Thank you very much.

  4. Angelo Diplacido says:

    Thank-you, I really enjoyed reading this article. If I may add this, always get a woman to proofread your work. Your average guy usually only gets the intent of the article.

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