Your eyes aren’t deceiving you, I made up a word. If presidents can make up words, so can I! What exactly is a jankie? It’s that comforting job that you have been working forever that is oh so cozy but doesn’t challenge you in the least. You love the people you work with but are ambivalent about the job as a whole.
Blankie-the little blanket that you had as a shortie that gave you so much comfort as a child.
I bet that there are a lot of you out there holding on to your jankie. The past four years have been rough. Watching the world economy basically implode was demoralizing, scary, and unnerving. Holding onto a secure situation was a smart thing to do. But, now what? The economic recovery is slowly showing signs of picking up but a lot of you are wise to hold onto your jankie. But, how long is too long to keep your jankie? How do you create opportunities within the scope of work that you’re currently doing so that you can transition when the right opportunity presents itself?
I have a jankie. I have worked in my current position since 2004. I love the people that I work with and I have been fortunate enough to work with the majority of them since I started. I am a school administrator. I would have changed jobs in 2008 but the economy tanked and it was smarter for me to stay in my current role. According to the Forbes online article “Job Hopping is the ‘New Normal’ for Millennials” the average American worker stays at their job 4.4 years. I was exactly at 4 years when the recession hit. I defined my role from 2004-2008 and was able to grow quite a bit during that time. But, It is now 2013 and I need to do something different. The current problem is that it is sometimes difficult to move to other positions because of the following:
- People don’t leave their positions for a long time within the system I work in. But, I do think that people who are in the same situation as I am in will begin changing their jobs soon.
- There is a lot of flexibility where I work. I am able to go hiking during lunch hour.
- I am a state employee-there is a ton of protections for your job. In fact, the state has phased out how I was hired for the past 4 years. So, if I change my job I would be professional exempt (at will) instead of a classified employee like I am now.
- Great retirement plan. I have a PERA account. Basically, it is the state retirement program that I am required to contribute to in addition to the match that the state provides.
If you have a jankie like I do the next question you have to ask yourself is “What is my next move?” I have to admit that I am working to reinvent my position again. There are huge opportunities that I could create right now.
- I am in a wonderful professional development program that my colleagues signed off on. This program has helped me identify and create a way to move towards learning some skill sets that I want to develop. This program has made me excited about my job again and I will be working on a realistic time frame to approach my supervisor about the programming that I would like to develop.
- Save money-I am doing this anyway. But, I will feel less anxiety about everything once my emergency fund is fully funded. This goal should be complete this year.
- Pay off debts-I think I can pay off the bulk of my debts this year. The student loans will take until 2015.
- Continue working on my online projects. I’m having a great time developing my blog and have some opportunities to collaborate with other amazing people in the blogosphere. I am really enjoying working online and will be working on growing this project. I don’t focus on my job’s negatives as much now that I have some other things going on.
The Great Recession really frightened me and as a result of this I hold onto my jankie with both hands. I don’t take my employment for granted. But, now I understand why so many personal finance bloggers begin pursuing other ways to produce income. There is a sense of control that comes from money that you earn for yourself. You feel so empowered! I won’t work this job forever however I will be there for awhile longer and am looking at ways to be a positive and productive employee. If you have a jankie you have to fight the following: monotony, boredom, frustration, and a lack of motivation. In order to do that you have to take a hard look at what you do and create some opportunities within the role that you’re currently in. I am trying to fight the feeling of shutting down and tuning out of my job. Sometimes it’s hard.
I have decided to reframe how I look at my job. This is difficult after many years of being negative about doing the same work for so long. Watch the entire TedxTalk about reframing happiness. It’s worth watching the entire 12 minutes.
Do you have a jankie? How do you feel when you go there? Are you working to change your situation? What about your jankie makes you feel secure? What about your jankie scares you?