I wish the title of this post was click bait. Unfortunately, I have taken a full head of weave out of my head during and between calls at work, more than once. I am not proud. However, I am a firm believer that everything that happens to us, the good, bad and in between, is not for us. Instead, it is to share, encourage or inspire others. So, here goes...
The year was 2009 and I was working in the customer service call center for one of the world's largest financial institutions. I felt stuck, frustrated and hopeless. It was one of the lowest points of my career because I knew that I wanted to do something different but I didn't know what I wanted to do or how to get there.
At some point between being read my rights by an entitled teenager (he wanted me to transfer money from his mother's account without her consent) and explaining that I could NOT program the ATM to allow $5 withdrawals, I started taking my braids down. Hey, I'd just take a couple out to save time later that evening when I got off. Two hours, three account closures and an "I'm sorry, I am unable to reverse the fees on your account" later, I had taken all 134 braids out of my head. I'll leave you to imagine the sight that my co-workers were subjected to.
The weave analogy represents that anxious, nerve-wrecking "in the meantime" stage that we've all come to at some point (some, like myself, more than once) in our careers. Whether you are working toward a promotion, wanting to transition into a new field/organization or starting your own business, you know that your current job is not where you want to be. Some of us don't dress as professionally as we claim that we will when we obtain our dream job. Others promise ourselves that we will perform better after we receive a promotion. We will be on time for work or stay late to finish a project when we are paid more. While you are wasting time on your current job, taking your weave out, here are 3 things that you SHOULD be doing...in the meantime:
BUILD YOUR S.T.A.R EXAMPLES
Have you ever gotten stuck in an interview when asked, "Tell me about a time when....?"The S.T.A.R Method involves behavioral interview questions for which you should tell be able to articulate your experience by sharing the Situation, Task, Action and Result. Teamwork, communication, relationship building, ability to adapt and time management skills are global skills needed across industries, levels of leadership and entrepreneurship. Look for opportunities in your current role to build these muscles.
- Have you created a more efficient way to complete tasks for which your team is responsible? Create a template (google is your friend) that documents the process and send it out to the team. Teamwork and Time Management, Double Check.
- Have a difficult colleague/client? Ask for the advice of a trusted mentor (or find articles that address difficult conversations, again, hey google) and work to improve the relationship. Even if the person isn't receptive to your efforts, it's good conflict resolution practice. Communication and Relationship Building, Double Check.
Keep a journal to document these examples to refer to later.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF DEVELOPMENTAL OPPORTUNITIES
- Most companies have a budget to provide employees with training and education. While you are in the meantime, take advantage of these opportunities. (Be sure to read the fine print, as some companies require that you work for the company for a certain period of time after obtaining the degree or certification).
- If this is the case and you do not want to commit to staying at the company OR your company doesn't offer this option, create your own experiences. You can find inexpensive one day classes and seminars at your local community college or library on topics such as public speaking, project management or a system that you'd like to learn. You can gain valuable experience by volunteering (if it's not already a perk of your job, you may be able to take paid time off if you volunteer for a cause that your company supports).
- Is there a skill or system that your team would benefit from learning more about? For example, does your team create lots of power points but could use tips and tricks to make them more impactful? Ask your manager if s/he would consider bringing in a third party to provide group training.
- Ask your manager if you can sit in on meetings to gain insight on projects outside of those that you are working on OR ask your manager to attend your client meetings to provide feedback on your presentation, relationship building and project management skills to name a few.
- Sites like LinkedIn Learning, Udemy and Alison offer on demand learning that you can take on your own time. If your company does not have a membership, you can sign up for a free trial period.
I hope these two suggestions have provided a starting place to help you get out of the meantime.
Sign up for the newsletter to find out the third, and most important, action you should be taking while 'in the meantime'. Let's talk, leave a comment to let me know how you are spending your 'in the meantime'!