In my last post, I explored the concept of fit vs. belonging and posed a series of self-reflective questions. If self-reflection left you wondering how you got where you are, this post will explore why you may not be feeling a sense of belonging,
It’s easy to look around and see a variety of external factors such as a change in our position, manager or team. If we look a little deeper we may see economic or market shifts influencing our work space. The hardest part can be turning the mirror on ourselves and recognizing, “maybe it’s me.”
There are three possibilities to consider:
Perhaps at one point you felt a sense of belonging, but something external changed. Ask yourself:
- Do I agree with this new technology, strategy or process and am I interested in learning it?
- Will I ask the new boss if they have time to help me understand their ideas about the direction of my department and perhaps share my own?
- Is it reasonable to feel threatened by my new peer or could I possibly learn something from them to help me be more effective at my own job?
Perhaps at one point you felt a sense of belonging, but something internal changed. Ask yourself:
- Has my family situation changed and now the travel and customer visits that at one time were exciting, have become a burden?
- Was I recently faced with a personal situation that led me to reevaluate my values?
- Have I grown and evolved as an individual either through education, experience, confidence or spirit and no longer feel personally fulfilled?
Perhaps you never felt a sense of belonging. Ask yourself:
- Did I make a decision to say yes, when my gut was telling me no?
- Did I see a red flag during the interview process and because certain aspects of the opportunity excited me, I chose to ignore the flag?
- Was I feeling badly about myself when this opportunity presented itself and I wasn’t sure another would come along?
It’s important to do your due diligence before making a hasty decision. Ask questions and really listen to the answers. Listening can sometimes be the hardest part. Don’t just listen to the parts that validate what you think you want to hear, but listen to understand, process and reflect. Then ask yourself, am I okay with what I’m hearing or is it time to make a change?
Following a period of personal due diligence, I had my “it’s not you, it’s me” moment. While certain external factors had recently changed, by and large my situation was the same. What had changed was me. My original goal of learning HR in a large organization had been met. While the work I was doing had evolved over time, I was evolving too and once I found what I loved, I wanted more. I engaged a career coach to help me understand what my experience translated to outside the walls of my employer. Engaging her expertise was key for me to start seeing the bigger picture of possibilities, outside of my comfort zone.
During these past several weeks, I have been on a journey of self-reflection, learning and personal growth. My goal is not to “find a job” where I can fit in but rather to create an opportunity where I belong; being myself and doing work I love, helping individuals and organizations realize their full potential.