Your job mismatch will kill your career

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Jul 08

Getting to know yourself and how you like to work is incredibly important when doing a job interview. You want to maximize your ability to produce quality work with a corporate experience that matches up with you.

Unfortunately, the world doesn’t stand still. Mergers and acquisitions happen. Layoffs take place. You get a new manager as part of the corporate churn. All of a sudden, that which was working so well for you is now not so much. That match that was made in heaven is now a mismatch that can kill your career.

Here’s what happens:

You increase your resistance to doing the work

With change, you question everything. All the rocks upon which your work was build are now made out of various types of sand. Will the merger affect me? Three thousand people just got laid off so how will my work change? Another new manager? Now what will happen?

Unlike the Borg where resistance is futile, your resistance to doing the work is real. You start to not focus as much on the output but wondering how your work environment changed.

Your interest in doing higher level work drops

Just like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, if your job is threatened through changes in your work environment, you can’t focus on the higher levels of your work. Instead, you are interested in safety, more certainty and reliable management so you can move to higher levels of work output.

You spend more time figuring out what has changed and what the impact to your work is than doing high level of work that matched up so nicely with your previous environment.

You question your worth

When you have a change that results in a job mismatch, your confidence goes and you start to question your worth. What worked before now doesn’t, so it must be you, right? Take the confidence away and all sorts of work starts falling apart.

As All Things Workplace notes:

The longer you hang out in a mismatch the more you will question your adequacy. So, knock it off! You are talented and you’ve been performing in a talented way. The situation changed, not you. Get yourself into another winning situation before you conclude that the problem is you.

Every job ends

The only solution to this situation is to continuously determine how long a position will last. Every job ends. Change is going to happen. If you know that you are in a situation that isn’t right for you, you have a choice: figure out if you can outlast the problem or start looking for a different position. Putting up with a mismatched job to your talents won’t help you in the long run.

Figure the date. Re-evaluate the date monthly. And when you think the job will end (or you know you will not be able to tolerate it any more) matches up with how long it takes to find a job…you start looking.

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.

  • Okay. Wow. This is a really awesome post. Great advice here and yes, I've been there. I've gone through all the stages you outline here. And I like that you brought it to reality. A lot of times, people don't want to admit that jobs end. But it's a cold, hard fact. And once you confront it, you can take action.

    Glad I found your site!!

  • […] Your Job Mismatch Will Kill Your Career […]

  • Beth Robinson says:

    And don't forget that it doesn't have to be the situation that changes to create a mismatch.

    It really could be you.

    This is what I did to myself and didn't catch fast enough. My goals and priorities changed (I wanted to be working in a more customer facing/marketing position instead of in the lab and got an MBA towards that goal) but the expected opportunities within the company had been cut due to the recession and I didn't job hunt like crazy for the same reason.

    I increased my resistance, lost interest in doing higher-level work, and questioned my own worth, and am now unemployed and wholeheartedly seeking my next position. Next time I'll take action sooner.

  • Beth, an excellent point here; your needs in a career can change as well. Very good comment.

    And, as I constantly advocate, you must know (or predict) when every job will end. When you see the date and it matches up with how long it takes to find another position, it is time to look. A tough lesson that has been learned by myself…more than once…

    I'm hoping to here of your success in your job search!

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