Overcoming Underwhelm


shutterstock_297916058During my recent teleseminar focused on how to get out of our own way and reduce the amount of overwhelm in our lives, one of the participants brought up the subject of being underwhelmed. She described her particular situation as one where she expected much more from the role she accepted. She realized that she:

  • wasn’t given an opportunity to display her array of capabilities,
  • had limited or no opportunity to make the positive impact she anticipated,
  • felt unfulfilled and eventually characterized this as a dead-end role, although she was a long-term employee with this company.

She went on to describe how frustrating underwhelm is for her.

Have you been there? Are you there now?

I admitted not having heard the term before, and determined to learn more about it. I’ve since learned that being underwhelmed at work is a form of worker discontent, which is related to a lack of employee satisfaction. In human resources circles, employee satisfaction appears to be of ongoing concern to employers, as (among other things) it can affect the productivity of those employees who decide to remain with their employer, and the lack of satisfaction can be a catalyst for employees to make a job or career change. I learned that one of many possible resolutions is for companies to help by training employees to recognize and reconcile their own career contentment. This solution is focused on empowering the employee and giving them control over their careers, rather than relying on employers to satisfy workers.

We all recognize the sense of control a person feels when they are empowered to own their career and job fulfillment. If you find yourself in this position, here is a plan of action you can immediately employ to help decrease the underwhelm in your career and, at the same time, perhaps increase your career contentment.

  1. Get clear on what you want in your job and overall career!
  • Begin with your vision and consider your ideal work environment in addition to your specific role within that environment. This planning step helps to ensure you are proactive, and have considered how you might fit with your next assignment or job.
  • Condense these thoughts into a plan that explains the action steps you believe are necessary to leverage your gift(s), talents, transferrable skills and tangible experience when the opportunity arises.
  • Remove the emotionality from this pursuit. Begin with the mindset that this is an experiment to be learned from, and your chances of success will increase greatly.
  1. Communicate your plan with intention and humility!
  • Refresh your resume and use updated keywords & description of your skills.
  • Connect with your network inside and mentors outside the company, and use humility to explain your plan and proposed action steps. This may help to broaden your perspective.
  • Enhance your initial plan due to the conversations with your network.
  • Schedule time and talk with your current leadership. Be transparent about your feelings of underwhelm.
  • Describe how your proposed plan will help make leadership’s job easier by allowing you to take more responsibility. Also explain how your proposal makes greater use of your transferrable skills, education, and overall tangible capabilities. Although no boss is under any obligation to amend your current role to better leverage your skills, I’ve seen this happen so expect the best outcome.
  1. Follow through & evaluation.
  • The feedback from your leadership can have several outcomes. Either they’re:
    • open to giving you more responsibilities,
    • not convinced of your capabilities and want to learn more,
    • sure of what you’re capable of, and aren’t open to giving you more,
    • going to propose an alternative you haven’t considered or are interested in further conversation about your future.

Remember that feedback is a gift, and either of these responses should lead you to evaluate your progress to this point. This evaluation should move you toward the corresponding next action step in your overall plan, to a request to dialogue further, or to something else you didn’t anticipate. In either case, you aren’t waiting for anyone to approach you about your future. You are fully empowered and your career is your responsibility!

Use this action plan to avoid underwhelm & gain an UNfair AdvantageTM in your career.

Please leave your comments and questions below!


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