In the past 6 months Uber has lost its CFO and Pimco its CEO both citing wanting to spend more time with their families as the reason for leaving. Google's CFO Patrick Pichette also quit his $5 million job after 7 years at what is declared to be the most desirable company to work for in the world. Being with his family became more appealing than all that cash and 'Googliness'. This was swiftly followed by John Stewart, the iconic host to Liberal America of The Daily Show, quitting after 16 years with the words "These things are cyclical. You have moments of dissatisfaction, and then you come out of it and it's OK. But the cycles become longer and maybe more entrenched, and that's when you realise, 'OK, I'm on the back side of it now.'" He just wasn't feeling it anymore...
So even the careers of our dreams can become dissatisfying. These guys have funds which allow them more choices. For them walking away knowing you have a golden egg in the bank, with the only possible downside being that you may have to sell the second weekend house in Malibu, doesn't seem the end of the world. But what can the rest of us do when we are 'just not feeling it anymore' and walking away isn't the simple option?
More than 2 million Americans are voluntarily leaving their jobs every month. According to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the figure is growing and it is now at its highest since 2008. In the UK, a fifth of employees plan to quit their job this year, according to a survey from the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM).
The study, of 1,001 workers, found that of the staff who are preparing to change jobs, 16 per cent want to leave because they do not feel valued.
Of this group, the vast majority would like a similar job (40 per cent) or a different post (39 per cent) at a new company, while one in 10 would like to start their own business.
So even in uncertain times people are quitting, but the majority of the time it is not to make a huge leap into a different field; people are looking for satisfaction from the work they already have.
There is no such thing as a perfect job but it's your responsibility to make your job the best it can be. No one else can do that for you and the opportunity to craft an extraordinary future lies firmly in your hands. Here are a few tips to help you on your way:
1. Try a negativity detox for 30 days. Every time you find yourself thinking something negative, ask a different question - 'How can I see things differently? How can I enjoy what I'm doing? How can I contribute something valuable to the discussion?'
2. Start asking questions about your job - when has your work felt exciting, rewarding and fun? Equally, think of the times you have felt more restricted? When you ponder these moments, what themes pop up? Do you need structure or do you like creativity? Do you like to lead or be led? Notice how you feel about the answers to these questions - sapped of energy or excited?
3. Feedback - get some after every interaction you have with others. After a meeting, call it and ask people 'what did I do well?' and 'what could I do better?'. Ask the same of your boss, weekly or even daily, feedback can help you grow and develop, FAST.
4. Find one thing that has been frustrating you at work, and try doing it in a new and different manner (health and safety permitting!) If you were keen to shake up your business, what would you do? What is it you are currently known for in your organisation? And what is it that you would like to be remembered for? What do you need to do to create that memory?
5. Go for interviews for other jobs even though you do not necessarily need or want them. When you interview, it keeps you on your game. You have to show up as the shiny version of you, and, as people assess you, you will assess yourself and see more clearly who you are and what makes you special. You will get better at articulating your qualities.
If you start with making these changes you will introduce more stimulus into your life, and have more choices available to you in both the type of job you want and the type of business you want to work in. It will become no longer a fantasy.
Challenge the norms and test the boundaries. You may well find that things you think are important and set in stone are anything but.
In the words of that cartoon antagonist Dick Dastardly "Don't just stand there, do something!."