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Why should you be chosen for that new job?

Columnist Dave Conrad says if you don't strengthen your skills base, and learn to present yourself well, the jobs will just slip away.

Ask Dave - Dave Conrad column mug
Ask Dave - Dave Conrad column mug
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Dear Dave — I am bored and burned out with my job and have been for quite some time. I feel like I am not getting anywhere, and I know there is not growth potential in my job. I realize that there are a lot of jobs available, and some companies are offering unusually high pay and even signing bonuses. My coworkers tell me if I am so frustrated and stressed, I need to investigate other companies and other jobs. I know I have more to offer than what I am doing. Ideas? — K

There is not a one of us that does not feel the way you do from time to time. I know many people who love their work and where they work, but still get “fried” every so often and think they would rather be digging ditches in the desert. But be aware, if you are looking for the perfect job, it may not exist.

I will also warn you that your emotions and feelings may be showing, and your manager may pick up on your attitude – you don’t want to lose your job. However, you can continue to do your job well, be upbeat and show a friendly disposition, all the while you are looking for new work.

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Please be careful, there are many companies with many jobs available — and you need to “look behind the curtain” to find if the management and the position are a fit for you.

I’m concerned about your burnout, because it is a state of mental and physical exhaustion causing you to act in ways that could be dangerous, at least detrimental. If you constantly feel overwhelmed and your performance is heading south, I agree that you should be looking for new career options. Sometimes, just knowing that you are looking for different work will help you (temporarily) feel less isolated.

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However, burnout occurs when people are bored out of their mind and they are doing nothing more than going through the same, repetitive motions at work. I guess you could say that boredom is a lack of stress that causes stress.

Determine exactly why you feel as you do and discover the “triggers” (causes) that are giving you the most pain. This knowledge is valuable when you are looking at new jobs; you know what you want and what you don’t want.

Become more sellable

This is a blunt question: Why would a new company hire you and decide that you are right for the job, coworkers, and management? Have you done anything to sharpen your skills and to make yourself someone a manager would love to have join their team? Have you sought a new college or technical degree? Have you expanded your leadership potential by taking on the management of projects for non-profit organizations? Have you joined the Rotary for networking and obtaining a mentor who can guide you as you look at options? And have you joined Toastmasters to increase your public speaking skills?

You need to find a way to get and stay motivated, sharp and energized. Obviously, you need challenge in your life, but make sure your problem is your job and not something deeper. The quickest and best solution to boredom is activity, and the greatest cure for a lack of caring is to find something to care about. Maybe you are already doing things that are more important than you think they are. How are your performance reviews if you are lucky enough to get them? And what do you need to work on?

I will be blunt and state that no one is going to be standing next to you all day with pom poms and a megaphone shouting motivational words and phrases. Plus, who would want that, anyway?

A colleague of mine puts it this way: “You need to live your way into a new way of thinking instead of thinking your way into a new way of living.”

This means get busy and do something about your situation. Start preparing for a new job or career, while keeping your chin up and staying positive in the job you have.

There are schools everywhere offering training and education that can lead you to new career paths. Check them out. I know education costs money, but ignorance costs more.

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Finally, beyond your job, take up some new interests that you can look forward to each day. Hobbies, clubs, volunteerism and projects allow you a chance to stay busy and feel productive. Plus, they allow you to network with folks who just may have knowledge of job openings that fit your abilities.

However, if you do not strengthen your skills base, and learn to present yourself well, the jobs will just slip away.

Contact Dave Conrad with questions or comments at conradd@augsburg.edu . Conrad is an associate professor of business at Augsburg University in Rochester.

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