Guest column: Hate your job? Then get out!

Think all your colleagues are jumping ship just for fat paychecks and sign-on bonuses? Think again. The No. 1 reason people change positions is because they hate their boss -- and that includes information technology professionals.

And I have more news for you -- if you find yourself in those ranks, your boss probably hates you, too! That makes it very difficult to do a good job, no matter how hard you try.

Are you alienating your family? Is even the dog refusing to play with you because you're so depressed? Please, do everyone in your professional sphere a favour -- including yourself -- and leave! In case you haven't noticed, you're in the hottest job market in history and, yes, the grass can be much greener on the other side.

Dream for a moment about what the greatest job in the world would be for you. (Time's up.) Now, what's your greatest Plan B job that you can actually do? (Hey, none of us really gets our dream job.)Perhaps you hate your job because you aren't good at it, or at least don't feel you're good at it. Ask yourself if you're working for a company that overworks you, under-appreciates you -- or both.

Then ask if that situation can be fixed, if the effort is worth it, or if the only way out is to leave.

Leave your baggage behind

Caution: Also ask yourself if your attitude is so bad that even if you left, it would follow you. You don't want to bring emotional baggage to the next IT job.

Make sure you aren't focusing only on the negative -- take the positive into consideration, too. If it's truly a grim, no-win situation, then for goodness' sake, get out now.

Make a list of what you really want in a job, then explore the possibility of doing so in your existing company. If that job doesn't exist in your company, you may want to contact a recruiter and/or search the Internet to find out about the job you want.

Play the match game

Factors to consider include the following: job duties, compensation, access to new technologies training, location of those types of jobs, the types of companies, future career paths and so on. Match them against your current job and a job you would consider.

Many people want the ideal job but aren't willing to do the work it takes to get there. If there are specific educational requirements necessary to snare your ideal job, don't hesitate -- enrol.

Remember, getting education or training takes time. The sooner you start the process, the sooner you can change your life.

To grow professionally and personally, you must move out of your comfort zone and learn something new.

It's very simple to get the job you want. It could be as easy as listening to a second-language series of tapes during your commute. Perhaps taking a class in public speaking to improve your presentation skills is all you need. Maybe your dream job is just one more technical class away. Discover what you're lacking (hey, you can even ask your "ex," if his or her advice will help), and fix it.

Speak up or get passed over

If you're any good, your technical skills are in demand. Meet with your supervisor to go over your career goals.

Let him know that it's time for a change. During the meeting, find out what it's going to take to get the next promotion or enable you to do the job you really want.

Don't complain about your current job. Keep the focus on the future and getting the desired position. Determine what skills are needed in that job -- not just IT skills, but business, management and communication skills.

Find out what obstacles, if any, your boss thinks you need to overcome to recommend you for the job you want. Although that could be hard to take if you hate each other, it also could be good, honest feedback. At the very least, it will be an exercise in self-control.

If that job is in your immediate department, put an agreement in place that if and when you overcome those particular obstacles, you will get the desired position.

If that new job isn't in your department, tell your boss that you would like to pursue opportunities outside of your department.

Next, contact the human resources department to explain your career desires, to describe the new job you really want and to ask for help in obtaining that position.

Offer a transition plan. Volunteer to find, help and train the person who will replace you prior to moving into your desired position (within reason).

Make yourself available for interviewing replacement candidates and answering transition questions. Agree to a time frame for the transition plan.

Don't let the stress of getting your work accomplished take precedence over getting the job you really want. Stop stewing in it. Take the necessary action to get the job you'll love.

No one is going to knock on your cubicle and hand you your dream job, a raise, a promotion and a great boss. You have to make it happen and you can!

Hurry up; your dream job is waiting for you, and it's behind schedule.

Fafard is a branch manager at Montgomery West, an executive search company in Torrance, California

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