The People Pro

Training, Tips and Tools to Build Your Business and Balance Your Life!

My Photo
Location: Small town, Northern Wisconsin

Barbara is an author, speaker and psychotherapist in private practice. She provides keynote presentations and is a Certified Professional Speaker, a designation held by fewer than 8% of the speakers in the world. She has appeared on FOX, CNN, and CBS and is considered an expert in relationships.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Are You Ready to Jump Ship?

My phone is ringing and my e-mail humming with the same complaint from friends and colleagues returning from vacations, “I don’t feel like going back to work.” One friend who is a vice-president at large advertising agency said, “I’m sorry I ever took the vacation. It made it clear how much I was missing with my kids and husband. Now I find I’m just looking forward to the next break.”

While vacations can be the perfect time to recharge, refresh and return to work energized, for an increasing number of American workers, vacation leads to a reevaluation of priorities, time and a quest to simplify a complicated life. It is very common to have a “gut” feeling about your job long before you consciously admit you need to make a change. While you may be debating your future, your unconscious mind has already made the decision. So how do you know whether you just have “vacation let-down” vs. a real need to make changes?

Evaluate how many of these “quitting signs” are true for you:

  • Rather than feeling invigorated and refreshed after vacation, you dread returning to the office.
  • You wonder why you don’t spend more of each day doing the things you really enjoy.
  • You feel like you are missing special time with family.
  • On the weekends, you look on the Internet for other job opportunities.
  • You find it hard to get out of bed in the morning to face another day.
  • You have trouble sleeping on Sunday nights because you are already thinking of all you have to accomplish on Monday.
  • You complain to friends and family about your job.
  • You find you have less patience with co-workers and customers than you use to.
  • Even though you are getting enough sleep, you feel tired once you are at work.
  • When you leave the office, you take your time returning to work.
  • You don’t mention concerns to the boss because it is usually a waste of time.
  • You try to kill time at work my talking with co-workers or making personal calls.
  • You often arrive late for work.
  • Once in the office, you find it difficult to know where to start.
  • You do the minimum amount of work required.
  • You check the clock frequently to see how close you are to leaving work.
  • You start getting ready to exit before quitting time.

Too many “quitting signs”? The first step is to see if you can make some changes with the job you have. Is it possible to restructure your duties to make them more interesting or flexible? It may be possible to work four long days and leave at noon the fifth day. The work week feels different if you are able to arrange work hours so that there is one “early” day to get errands done or play or round of golf.

Perhaps there is an option to work from home one or two days per week. Many employers are encouraging staff to do so as they are able to invest in less space and equipment. Convinced your boss won’t go for it? It doesn’t hurt to ask. Just remember you need to structure your request how such an arrangement can benefit the company; more flexibility to meet with customers, better concentration for large projects, etc.

There may be a new opportunity in another division where you are currently working. Check with human resources what other positions may be open for your talent and expertise. In today’s work environment, there is little expectation that a worker will stay in one position for a lengthy period of time.

Still find that you dread Monday morning? Then what are you waiting for, start looking for a new opportunity. You don’t want to be so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.

For more tools to build your career and balance your life, please visit