Adversity comes in all shapes and sizes in the workplace. No matter how hard you may try it is darn near impossible to escape adversity in the workplace as it’s not ‘if’ but ‘when’. Adversity comes in the form of dealing with a bad boss, company politics, a negative coworker, challenging deadlines or having a work load on your plate enough for three people. While these are only but a few of the typical challenges we face at work they all have tendency to lead to one area
employees being unhappy at work.Apparently there’s a lot of unhappy people at work because recent stats show that employees average job tenure is 4.4 years, with Millennials being half that. With people jumping ship so quickly in their career it makes you wonder if they ever really think about their decisions before they make them and what the impact will be down the road.
Which reminds me of my own story dealing with this exact issue.
Three years into my career I managed to hit a major roadblock. The company I worked for had hired me before I even graduated college and trained me from the ground up. As a result I was fortunate enough to get promoted and find myself in a management role very early in my career, which above everything, taught me a lot about myself and working with others.
As time went on I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated at work as expectations seemed to be mounting by the minute and my performance was beginning to suffer. Sunday evenings were the worst as I would slip into a mild depression about the thought of having to start a whole week of work all over again. After several months of feeling bad for myself I decided to peek my head out into the job market and see what else was out there – perhaps a greener pasture was waiting for me. I interviewed with several companies over the course of a month or two but in the end decided to stay with my current employer to ‘stick it out’.
The reason I decided to stay was because I felt like if I were to leave at that point I wouldn’t be able to say “I gave it everything I could, it just wasn’t the right opportunity for me.” The reality of my situation was that I was spending more time focused on my frustrations rather than focusing on how I could kick ass and take names, figuratively speaking.
What I didn’t know then but certainly know now is that the decision to ‘stick it out’ with my then current employer would prove to be a crucial decision in my career and personal life moving forward.
What I learned from this decision:
As we deal with adversity and challenge in the work place how often are we really doing our best to improve the situation before we decide to move on from it. Just as important, do we take into consideration the things we’re missing out on by making a decision, especially one as important as a new career.
While not all challenges and work place adversities can be bested it’s important we’re honest with ourselves on where the source of our frustration comes from so that we can truly understand how to combat it. If we don’t, we run the risk of having those same issues at our next place of employment which could then begin a nasty habit that follows us for a life time.
“Life is a storm…You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout 'Do your worst, for I will do mine!' "
– Alexandre Dumas
About the Author
Travis Smith is the founder and managing director of Square-1 Engineering, a life sciences consulting firm, providing end to end technical project services to companies which design, develop and or manufacture products in Southern California. He successfully served the life sciences marketplace in SoCal for over 15 years specializing in engineering services, consulting, project outsourcing and leadership development. In 2019 he was recognized as a ‘40 Under 40’ honoree by the Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce as a top leader in Orange County, CA.