Getting By At Work Isn't Enough
It's not enough to just clock in, clock out, and get by at work.
Unless you feel awesome about it.
Do you, though?
I used to treat work as something to endure, a means to an end.
Just need to get by.
Clock in. Clock out.
Real life happens outside the office.
That’s when my guard drops and I can really be myself.
There’s no problem approaching your work life this way.
If it works for you, good for you.
If you like how you feel, then power to you.
However, if you’re like I was, getting by isn’t enough.
I felt horrible clocking in and out feeling divorced from my personality and real interests.
It dawned on me that 8 hours is a long time to be disgruntled.
My quality of life left much to be desired.
One of the most memorable things a peer told me was “Blossom where you’re planted.”
Those 4 little words compelled me to consider how I might thrive, excel, succeed, learn, and grow under my present circumstances.
It took me some time to let this sink in, but I meditated on that statement.
Instead of, I hate this job. I hate what I’m doing. I should be somewhere else. Why isn't this other thing I'm working on taking off?” I asked myself questions like, “How can I grow here? What can I contribute that I would actually be thrilled to do? Which other skills do I have that I can use here? What works about being here?”
When I answered those questions and implemented my responses, I felt more connected to myself and although I still wanted to leave the job, being there was so much more bearable.
You can change any situation without changing it directly but instead, changing what you think and how you act inside the situation.
Take this one question to work with you this week: How can you blossom where you’re planted?
And if you’re hungry for ongoing and reliable one-on-one support to stop checking out and getting by at work, then drop a comment in the contact form on this website.
Talk to me. Tell me what you're struggling with. Tell me how you're just getting by. Tell me what would delight you in your professional career.
Can't wait to hear from you.
What Do You Want for Your Career?
After you read the text images above, here are some questions to consider during your hell-yeah job/career exploration:
Don’t try to write all official, like the job posts you’re used to seeing. Have fun with this exercise.
Create what you want first, then approach the job search from that place.
Does this feel like a daunting task? No biggie.
I can guide you through it as part of your 12-month private coaching package.
Damn, how luxurious must that feel, to know you’ve got a coach watching your back, asking you questions you would never know to ask yourself, sharing different ways of approaching things from perspectives you never knew existed. For an entire year.
Delicious! All this to become the woman who has created a career she loves while also creating a life she admires.
Loving what you do for work can exist outside the 9-5 realm, beyond the employee label.
Loving what you do might look like having parallel careers. (e.g. a tech company project manager who's also a caterer or a professional dancer who teaches movement classes at high schools in between gigs).
Loving what you do could be having your own business.
Maybe it's a hybrid of your own biz and working for someone else.
Careers look different today than when I was a kid.
Back then it was all about finding that ONE job that paid your bills.
Then you advance along that path.
Anything outside of this paradigm was unreliable and to be avoided.
Btw, there's nothing wrong with pursuing the C-suite track at one company if that's your jam.
Just ask yourself if that's really your thing.
Introspection might reveal you're pursuing your parents' dreams, not yours.
What I know about myself, my personality, how I feel most alive, is that I'm not the lifelong-employee-at-one-place-kind-of person. I've tried to fit myself into that box, but it doesn't work for me.
This might be you too.
Doesn't make you unreliable.
Doesn't mean you're not the "commitment type."
It means that's how you're wired.
It means this is how you thrive at work.
Consider your desired LIFESTYLE, not just what you do for a living.
How does your profession fit with how you want your life to look and feel?
As opposed to, how can you fit your life around your work?
You can afford to imagine the conditions that will make you actually love and want to go into your job.
Maybe it's having multiple well-paid part-time positions whose sum total gives you the flexibility to visit that cute beach town every other Thursday to Saturday.
You know what your desired lifestyle is.
You know what that work life looks like.
Even if you don't think you do.
You just haven't had the opportunity to articulate it boldly and clearly.
Fear that your dream isn't possible, is unreasonable, or unrealistic prevents you from acknowledging your truth.
So instead you say, "I don't know what I want."
How 'bout we not say THAT anymore?
Give yourself the time and space to contemplate (and write out) all your juicy work and life conditions.
And tell no one about it (except your life coach, of course).
At least don't tell people yet.
Don't need others' skepticism trampling on your seedling ideas.
Now if you're mind is blown and you're too overwhelmed to flesh out your dream career and dream life on your own, then I've got you.
Hit me up for support through one-on-one coaching.
By the time we're done working together, you'll say, "I love what I do."
If you don't, I'll give you back half of your coaching investment and I'll continue working with you for free until you love your life and have your dream career.
You may not like your job, but you love the company you work for.
Your boss is awesome and you respect your colleagues.
You know that something needs to change, but you don't know if resigning is the answer.
If you could have things your way, you'd stay at the company, but you'd switch departments or do something different within your own department.
Here's an idea: Write a description of what you would want to do instead.
I stopped working office jobs in 2015.
In my current parallel career as a dance educator in a K-8 school, I decided that I wanted to bring more of my experience as a life coach into the workplace.
In August 2020, I participated in optional after-hours race and equity discussion sessions.
I volunteered to facilitate some of those sessions.
I asked to get paid to do this regularly.
They told me no. At first.
A few months later, I received an email about a handful of newly created DEI leadership positions.
I applied. I got one of the positions.
In 2021, I became the DEI Lead Teacher, where I get paid to research race and equity history and best practices. I get to work with a team of respected colleagues in other departments. I get to co-create and co-facilitate much-needed workshops to a staff of over 100 people.
I get to bring more of my expertise and skills as a life coach into the workplace. Just as I had desired to do in August 2020.
With YOUR clear description of work that lights you up:
Keep being a top-notch employee.
Keep being a leader.
Practice believing that you can create the career you desire.
You don't have to settle.
I'm available for one-on-one coaching to accelerate your dream career and steer it in the direction you want to go. Become the confident professional you want to be.
As long as your satisfied with the above reality, keep on with it.
If it's working for you, don't change anything. But if it's not how you want your work life to be, know that you have options.
Your job can be a source of profound meaning in your life.
You can be passionate about your job assignments and responsibilities.
You can enjoy hanging out with your co-workers on the weekend. They can become like family.
Your work can have a positive impact on social, political, and environmental causes you care about.
I know these CANs are possible because I've lived them.
I've experienced the before of hating past admin office jobs for every reason listed in the image above.
And I've experienced the after of confiding in my co-workers with deep and meaningful shit because I really liked and trusted them as people.
The after of happily researching the coaching, arts education, and DEI fields off the clock because I'm passionate about these topics. And I know my work makes a positive impact.
So the question is: Will you give yourself permission to have the professional life you want?
If your answer is yes, then take an immediate concrete step towards pursuing this reality.
It doesn't matter what step you take. What's important is that you take A step.
Then another. Then the next.
And keep going, until your mission is accomplished.
But, what if your answer to giving yourself permission is "no"?
Well, the first step to change is awareness.
So think of it as a great thing that you've uncovered an honest answer to this question.
With awareness you can start to change.
I created my first personal development course in 2009. The third chapter in that course is "Give Yourself Permission." Read or listen to it here and get on path to being a YES on that self-permission front.
If you're ready to accelerate your dream career in under a year (and excel your self-care and social life), then seriously consider weekly life coaching sessions for at least 9 months.
Choose Your Discomfort
But check this out . . . you're already uncomfortable.
You're uncomfortable with how much you hate what you're currently doing.
You're comfortable about your relationship with your boss and co-workers.
You're uncomfortable with how much you feel like you don't belong here because the job and you just aren't a good fit.
You're uncomfortable with the hours, the commute, the monotony, the lack of creativity.
You're taking longer lunch breaks.
You find any excuse to get out of the office.
You count down every hour until you get to leave.
You think it's safe to stay where you are because it's comfortable receiving a reliable paycheck.
It's comfortable getting that matched 401K.
Having health insurance is comfortable.
So you hem and haw about leaving...until 2 more years go by and you're as miserable as ever.
So you stall the decision to leave.
Hear me though.
Making the decision to leave, or create a different job for yourself at your current work (yes, that is possible) does not mean you have to leave tomorrow.
Making a clear decision means you're programming your brain to find solutions to better your situation.
You can give yourself as much time as you want to turn in your resignation, or to create your ideal job description at your current job, talk to your boss and explore the possibility of doing that instead.
But make the decision.
Get out of limbo land.
Purgatory is an unnecessary pain.
Feel the power of your DECISION.
Then get to work.
Give yourself as much time as you need to make the changes.
And if you want weekly one-on-one guidance, accountability, and support to follow through on your decision, then I'd be happy to help. I've been there.
Why Your Job Sucks
You have great ideas.
Stop telling yourself you don't.
I know it's scary to act on that light-bulb moment you had last month.
That moment when you knew you could create a more efficient system for your and your department's workflow.
What if you present the idea to your boss and they shoot you down?
Or what if your co-workers say, "Who do you think you are to go changing things like this? You're just a ___."
But by not speaking up and sharing what you have to offer, you feel TEN times WORSE than what you would feel if your co-workers said that thing and your boss said no to your idea.
Go ahead and create the system. Put your idea into action.
Create the prototype.
Experiment with the possibility.
Show that it works.
THEN bring the implemented idea to your boss.
At that point, even if they're still a no, you've given yourself the gift of acknowledging and expressing yourself.
And that is estimable.
That is admirable.
You'll be so proud of yourself.
Your originality matters.
Your contributions matter.
And...you may get all this intellectually.
Yet taking up space like this on the regular might be downright frightening.
There's nothing wrong with you that you can't will yourself into taking initiative and shining your brilliance.
There's something to be said for social conditioning about who can and can't be visible and successful in the workplace.
Conditioning around gender, sexuality, race, ability, neurodiversity . . .
That's where I come in.
My work as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Facilitator and Educator informs the coaching we'll do together as we consider the context and specific challenges you've experienced being anything other than traditional status quo (white, straight, cisgender, male, able-bodied, etc.)
Let's factor in ALL of your personal and generational experiences in a one-on-one coaching container so that you kick ass at work, implementing idea after idea, getting your well-earned promotion, and being an example of what's possible.
Hit me up HERE for some kickass coaching.
The coaching industry has grown tremendously over the past several years.
I worked with my first coach in 2007.
I am a life coach and I love the profession.
Though life coaching has been a way of life for me for 14 years, it's still a new concept for lots of people. Maybe even for you.
In this article, we'll explore:
What a Life Coach Does
Simply put, you hire a life coach to help you reach your goals and dreams. A life coach helps connect you to your deepest desires...you know, the desires you're too afraid to speak out loud. If you desire an exceptional life, you hire a life coach to guide you in getting there, loving there, and growing beyond there.
Professional athletes work with coaches to help them get to and stay at the top of their game. And to grow beyond that. Can you imagine your favorite football team excelling without a coach? Can you imagine Allyson Felix winning 11 Olympic medals without her track & field coach Bob Kersee? I can’t.
You get to be the Olympian of your own life. You get to operate at your highest level on the daily, designing and fulfilling your optimal career and personal experiences. Do what Olympians do. Get a coach and work with them for the duration. Allow yourself to work with someone who's only job is to bring the best of you forward.
A life coach is committed to your goals and dreams. They hold the vision for you on your darkest days. That, right there, is reason enough to have a coach on your team, even if you have supportive and loving family and friends. Your loved ones don't bring the level of neutrality, insight, expertise, background, tools, and training that a professional life coach does.
When I work with clients, I put my best thinking and insight into their problems, challenges, goals, dreams, and successes. I am dedicated to their success just as much as they are. Even when their hope wanes, mine doesn't. When they feel like giving up, I keep going, as long as they want coaching. I want for you what you want for yourself. I do everything in my power to help you reach the summit of your success mountain.
A life coach also helps you identify your beliefs and behaviors that block you from making progress. Every human has mental and emotional blind spots. A trained coach sees them, show them to you, and works with you to get out of your own way to achieve the results you seek.
Your coach also sees the greatness in you that you might not even recognize. They show you how awesome you are and work with you to live from your confidence rather than your insecurities.
Some coaches are strategy-based and don’t deal with processing emotions. Those coaches help you outline every single step it will take to get from where you are to where you want to be. And they help keep you accountable.
Other coaches just focus on mindset and emotions. They don’t deal much with action plans and strategies. Instead they help you uncover beliefs that hold you back while developing beliefs that move you forward.
My coaching method is a hybrid of mindset, strategy. and processing emotions. I also stand for your personal wellness as the foundation of everything you want to achieve. That means we create your dream career without sacrificing health, relationships, and the other aspects of life that matter to you. We create harmony in your life as you focus on achieving career satisfaction. You come to love the entirety of your life as well as your career.
There are myriad types of coaches within the coaching field. You have general life coaches that work with you on any topic you bring to them. You also have career coaches, midlife coaches, new mom coaches, self-care coaches, first-generation coaches, coaches for doctors, sexuality coaches. The list of specialties is massive.
As a Certified Life Coach and Certified Dream CoachⓇ, I've worked with college students through seniors on topics ranging from creating a life vision and finding meaning and purpose to setting boundaries at home/work and developing stand-up comedy material.
I now work with women of color who want to feel amazing about themselves while pursuing all the things they want for their lives. All while dismantling white-supremacist patriarchy in their minds and bodies as well as in their relationships and work.
What a Life Coach Does Not Do
Life coaches do not diagnose nor treat mental health disorders.
Leave that to licensed psychiatrists and therapists.
Life coaches also generally do not work with clients to process severe trauma, unless that life coach has received specialized training in that realm.
All this being said, you can work with a life coach, psychiatrist, and therapist concurrently.
There's no rule that says you can only work with one at a time.
I have a life coach, business coach, therapist, and psychiatrist.
All contribute to my well-being.
It takes a village to grow a thriving human.
When You Should Hire a Life Coach
Let's say you’ve read a fair share of personal improvement books with more in your Kindle wish list.
You regularly consume professional development articles.
You listen to a few really good podcasts.
You read great blogs.
You implement exercises from your favorite authors, podcasters, and coaches.
Yet you’re not experiencing the forward momentum in your career and personal life that you’d like. You may notice some difference, but overall, you feel the same on the inside.
And you haven't seen the significant changes on the outside.
When you ask questions like these, it’s time to hire a life coach.
When you’ve ‘tried a bunch of things’ on your own and life still looks and feels the same, it’s time to hire a life coach.
When you've got a personal problem, like you keep overextending yourself and say yes to everything people ask you even though you feel drained, a life coach can help you stop doing that. A life coach can help you become a different version of yourself so that you confidently and clearly say YES when you mean it and NO when you don't want to do something.
Even if you don't have any pressing struggles and life is going well, but you just want MORE for your life, it's time to hire a life coach. The person in this scenario often wants to discover their purpose, create more meaning, and develop their next adventure. Get a life coach!
How Long Do You Work with a Coach?
The most straightforward answer is: until you achieve your results. Commitment is what it comes down to. Are you committed to living your dream no matter what? When the answer is YES, you don't care how long it takes. You might want 'sooner' but 'longer' doesn't deter you either. You're just in it until the result is achieved. You're in it until you become the person you want to be.
You could accomplish your goal or dream in 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 2 years, or more. It depends on the complexity of your goal or dream. It depends on you showing up consistently to your coaching sessions. It depends on you implementing what your coach tells you.
Every coach also has their own business model and process. Some coaches only work with clients for a year at a time. Others offer month-to-month packages. There are several options here.
What's most important is that you resonate with your coach.
What's most important is that you believe your coach can help you.
What's most important is that you trust your coach.
If you find a coach that you're a 'hell yeah' to, find out how to work with them. Ask them for a consultation. Instead of shopping for coaches based on the duration of their programs, shop for your coach based on the relationship you can develop with them.
Earlier this year, my kitty Niko came into my life. I decided to keep him with the vet clinic he had already been going to, even though the clinic charges an annual membership fee. (The fee actually came due today as I write this post.) I've been a cat mama for 13 years and I've never paid a membership fee at other vets.
However, I choose to keep Niko at this particular clinic. Here are a few reasons why:
How Often Do You Meet with Your Coach?
Many coaches work with clients for an hour every single week throughout the term of the coaching program. I work with clients for 45-60 minutes every week for 12 months.
I believe in potent coaching. It's not about how much time we spend in the session; It's about getting you the results so you can live big outside the sessions. I've found that 60 minutes every week isn't always necessary.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that prospective clients think they are paying for the coach's time. You're actually not. What you're paying for is your dream. Your payment to the coach is an investment in YOU. You're telling yourself that your life matters. Your well-being matters. Your success matters. THAT is what's on the line. Not your coach's time.
At the end of the day, your coaching schedule is determined with your coach. It does have to work for the both of you, after all.
Like I said earlier, though, I wouldn't focus on 'how long' and 'how often'.
Put your prime attention on feeling a connection with the person you'll hire to help you.
You'll be sharing intimate details about your life with them. Make sure you feel safe with them.
On the topic of safety, ask them if they are trauma-informed, trauma-responsive, and if you're a person of color, ask what their experience is working with communities of color.
Getting this clarity upfront will set you up for success.
Take your next step towards the life and work you crave and book a call with me below. And yes, I am trauma-informed, trauma-responsive, healing-centered, and use somatic techniques in my coaching. I am also a black woman, Afro-Caribbean to be exact.
How to Prepare for a Job Promotion
I used to work in different administrative capacities for several years and in one of those jobs I experienced a huge mismatch between the person I was, the value I brought to my position, and my job title.
I actually wrote about it a few weeks ago in When Your Job Title Doesn't Match Your Identity. That post is the precursor to this one. Definitely check it to get the full backstory leading up to asking for a promotion.
I prepared for my promotion in a very particular way.
Ask yourself, "How can I best support and provide undeniable evidence for my promotion request?”
Watch the video for the specific method that worked for me.
It could work for you too.
If you’re ready to accelerate your career satisfaction and increase your vitality, then let’s talk about one-on-one coaching. Reach out to me and let’s do this.
You don't like your office job. But you don't think you're ready to jump ship...yet. Or you vacillate between I need to get the f*** out of here and Well, maybe it's not so bad.
When I worked in admin, and retail, I wish someone could've just given me the answer. And I wish that answer came from someone who knew what it was like to have the job I did. It was excruciating being in that in-between space. And I stayed in that space for years.
Well, I've created a quiz to help you move forward and take the next step. Take the quiz below. You'll receive one of three suggestions about what to do next.
If you want forward traction, do the suggestions.
When I was in the I-don't-know zone, I worked with multiple business coaches to help guide my exit plan. None of them had my experience though. None of them spoke the language of admin or retail. See the thing was, I didn't just need help with getting the hell out of the job and creating my life coaching and dance workshops business. I needed guidance with navigating excellence at the job while I sought greener pastures. That's a whole 'nother ballgame.
That's why I created this quiz. For admins by a former admin.
Have fun! And do the work.
"Oh, you're just a [glorified] secretary." A co-worker once said this to me when I was as an administrative professional. Now, that comment hurt.
Part of it was my immediate reaction to the outdated and sexist overtone of this person's opinion. The other part of it was the very real internal conflict I experienced in having a profession that didn't match the way I viewed myself on the inside. I also had a profession that was out of alignment with the work I wanted to be doing in the world.
I saw myself as an intelligent, confident, talented, capable, creative Ivy League graduate who happened to have this admin job as I worked to create my parallel careers in life coaching and dance/entertainment. I didn't necessarily want to be working in admin, but there I was. So I chose to make it work.
First, there's nothing wrong with having any kind of job title - as long as you want that job and it works for you, just as much as you work for it. But if it's not working, if you still feel unseen and overlooked, then we've got a problem. Maybe one time the name wasn't a big deal, but now it's really bothering you. You feel that you can, and do, bring so much more to the table than this one- or two-word label captures.
My fellow professional, you're experiencing cognitive dissonance. It's when you have conflicting beliefs about yourself. On the one hand you have this job title and to some degree you agree that you are this title. On the other hand, you're absolutely not that job title. You believe you are something else. And you want to live into this something else more and more. Hello internal conflict!
(Sidenote: Here's a quick way to tell how you really feel about your job title. When you think of the name, do you experience pride or shame? Do you slump your shoulders and frown or do you lift your head as if wearing a crown?)
But it's just a name. What's the big deal? You are not your job. This shouldn't matter, right?
Forget should or shouldn't. This is about what does or doesn't affect you.
It matters because this boils down to identity. You spend so much time in your job, doing the roles of that job. So even if you don't consciously take on the identity of that job name, you are, in fact, adopting that job as part of your identity. It also matters because how you and others view you may adversely impact your job performance.
I think this experience might be more common than people admit or acknowledge. I went through my fair share of this, until I decided who I was, who I wanted to be, and showed up in that way. Eventually my job title changed to match this decisive version of me. In fact, my internal conflict and cognitive dissonance dissipated before the original job label did. And it can for you too.
Know this: You're not alone.
Know this: You can dramatically alter your experience without anything on the outside changing first. Here's how.
Write down every task, responsibility, and way of being that goes above and beyond the job description you were originally hired for. Write down every way in which you are proud of how you show up, e.g. You proactively present three solutions for every problem you bring to your boss.
Write down every accolade a colleague has shared with you. Acknowledge everything.
Reflect on the inventories you've written. Marinate in the proud, accomplished, and successful feelings that emerge. THIS is your identity. Bring this essence with you to work everyday. Let this energy fuel your daily actions. It soon becomes crystal clear that you've outgrown the original job title.
Do you know what time it is now?
Time to request your promotion!
The internal conflict you experienced before was just growing pains. You couldn't articulate it then, but you just needed to shed some old skin. As you fed and nourished yourself with your preferred identity, your self-perception grew. And now you're ready to wear the skin, to wear the clothing, that actually fits.
I went through this process of filling myself up first, of bringing my best self to the table and the natural next step was to get a promotion. I created a case for it. I presented it to my manager. They initially said, "I'll take this into consideration." I followed up. I was told, "Not yet." I kept following up. I kept showing up above and beyond that official job title. Then my manager said, "Yes, and I've got something better for you." My new job title was a step up from the one I asked for and my new compensation rate was higher than I had requested.
Decide who you are. Be that. The job title will follow.
Do you show up to your desk everyday thinking about how much you don’t like your job, worried that you’re not making the impact you want to make with your gifts and talents? This is what I help clients with. I help professionals take control of their work life and feel confident about the direction their career is going while experiencing fantastic health and great relationships. I’m going to help you figure out how to view your job and career through the lens of possibility and opportunity instead of dread and disappointment. Book a call with me.
How to Turn Your Job Into A Career
What do you when you feel like your job is a hindrance to, rather than an expression of, living the life you want? In this video, I discuss the difference between having a job vs. having a career. I also share a simple sentence you can start using immediately that will help you transform your lackluster job situation into an experience of purpose, connection, and power.
If you resonate with this message and desire personalized guidance to transform your job, reach out to me. I work with clients one-on-one for an entire year to create careers they love without sacrificing their social lives and personal wellness.
My name's Valerie and I'm a Certified Life Coach with a background in teaching dance as well as facilitating diversity, equity, and inclusion professional development conversations and workshops.