In this month’s blog I wanted to write something for those who, workwise, find themselves in a precarious position. As you can tell from the list below, there are quite a few categories within this and you may find yourself in two or more of these. If you are in one or more of these groups, you will need your confidence boosting. You will also need to consciously look after yourself whilst you go through this unstable time.
I include in this category those who:
- have taken a job just to get by, knowing that you don’t see yourself there for a long time
- feel you have bitten off more than you can chew and have taken on a role you don’t think you are ready for
- are on a zero hour’s contract
- do seasonal work (with big gaps where you struggle to find employment)
- suspect your organisation might restructure and aren’t sure about whether you may be made redundant or not
- have circumstances that mean you need flexibility at work e.g. you have some sort of disability, or you’ve just come off maternity leave and want to work part-time, but who aren’t given this by their employer
- are unemployed
Confidence boosting tips for those in a precarious position
Last year I wrote a blog on confidence boosting tips. This talked about confidence as something you can learn yourself, by focusing on what your strengths are. I emphasise that it’s not something you are born with, instead it’s something to continually work on. In the blog, I also talked about ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ confidence, giving you some simple tips on what you can work on in both areas. I recommend you read this article, it’s really relevant for those in a precarious position.
If you find that you are going into a negative spiral (i.e. negative thought patterns that you can’t get out of), coaching can help, or it may be helpful to have some counselling/therapy. With counselling/therapy you can visit your GP to ask about the availability of this. It is also provided by some organisations, if you are working, as part of the package. Alternatively, you can seek this out privately.
Career change for those who are in insecure positions
If you are not in a secure position, e.g. on a zero hour’s contract, unemployed, possibly going through an organisational restructure, or doing seasonal work, then unless you have some other means, you’ll need to find a way out of this position. For those with a disability or wanting to work part-time and not able to in their current job, then you’ll also be in this position.
Planning your next move will be crucial here. Career decision-making is a subject I’ve blogged about before and I recommend you read this article. It works through two stages, self-awareness and career exploration before you get into deciding your next steps towards career change.
Last year I also wrote about rustout for those that are bored in their role and who don’t see it changing. Read this article if you feel that this is you.
For those of you who feel that you are out of your depth within a job, this is an extremely common problem. People in this situation feel like they are ‘intellectually’ not up to the challenges presented in their role and they feel like they are a fraud and may be ‘found out’. For more detail, I have written a blog on imposter syndrome.
Coping strategies for someone who is feeling like this are:
- stop always trying to be perfect
- remind yourself of all your achievements
- work on your mindset
- adopt some of the strategies I mention in the ‘boosting your confidence’ article
For anyone that’s in a precarious job role, I really recommend making an extra special effort to look after yourself. This will be making sure you:
- give yourself a break from time to time
- eat as healthily as you can
- give yourself some time for exercising.
Feel the fear and do it anyway
Journalling activities where you write down your barriers, fears and your feelings towards these can help with any blockages.
I also recommend a book for someone in this position – Susan Jeffers – ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’.