We’ve all been in the grip of FOMO. You know the one; you’re sitting at home with your takeaway, Netflix and scrolling through Instagram when you’re suddenly faced with a pic of your mates enjoying their Friday night on the town.
So much for a chilled night of relaxation and mental recuperation.
There’s no doubt that FOMO takes its toll on our mental health. But letting it make you feel bad about your personal life is one thing, allowing it to damage your career is a whole other ball game. It can leave you feeling deflated and unable to celebrate the successes you do achieve, because you’re always busy peeking over the virtual fence.
But it is possible to dig yourself out of the career FOMO rut. Megan Dooley, content manager at digital marketing agency The Audit Lab has felt the FOMO many times along her career path, and tells us the steps to take to dig yourself out.
Figure out what you’re missing
Before we tackle dealing with your FOMO, it’s time to figure out exactly what is triggering that fear inside you, and work backwards from there. Is it a more chilled out office culture? The ability to work from home or having flexitime? Is it being involved in business trips, client meetings or pitches?
Put together an idea of what this perfect career is that you think you’re missing out on. Who do you know that has it? What does it represent and mean to you? Don’t be afraid to dig deep and get really specific. You can’t change it if you don’t actually know what you’re afraid of missing out on.
Take a social media reality check
It’s important to remember that the grass is always greener. Whether it’s scrolling and spotting an influencer’s sponsored holiday post, shots of a family member’s new extension or even incredible office spaces, social media is full of half-truths. And this is especially true when it comes to businesses and their offering.
While slightly overexposed photos of open plan office spaces with picnic benches and breakout areas and chirpy employees doing quizzes or playing games may seem great, they may not be giving you the clearest picture. Their Instagram grid may make it look like the best company ever, but what goes on underneath? Do they pay well? Do they promote internally and give good progression opportunities? Are staff treated well?
If you want to learn more about what the company is really like, do some digging into their history, their financial history, business model, and look them up on Glassdoor to see what their staff think of them.
Figure out what’s important to you
Who doesn’t love a good list? Making a list of priorities for your career can help tune out the noise around you and quell any jealous feelings, to help you focus on what really matters to you. Keep this list in your desk drawer or your planner, ready to read whenever you feel the FOMO starting to creep in.
When you start to feel this way, ask yourself if you did whatever is causing you to feel FOMO, would it help towards one of those priorities? Chances are the answer will be ‘no’ and if it is, learn to let that feeling go. If it doesn’t enhance the values you have noted down, then it doesn’t serve a purpose.
What does your current role offer you
A lot of the time FOMO appears when we seem to be in a rut in our current workplace. Like we said, the grass always looks greener on the other side. There’s always going to be a ‘better’ workplace; whether it’s a higher salary, more responsibility, better sounding title, more flexibility… But before you make a rash decision and jump ship, try watering your own grass first.
Think about what fulfills you about your current role. If it doesn’t, what could you change to grow and succeed where you are? Now you have that list of what you care about, it’s time to be your own advocate and build the job you want.
Celebrate your wins
More often than not, what counts as ‘wins’ in our careers are the hugely monumental moments like a pay rise or a promotion or finally landing that huge client, but there’s so much more to celebrate. And when we ignore those little wins, it’s a strong catalyst for career FOMO.
You deserve to celebrate the little wins that are unique to you. Did you get great feedback from senior management? If this is your first time managing, is your team growing and developing well? Did you nail that client presentation? Taking the time to shout about these little wins, even if it’s just to yourself, can be incredibly rewarding.
Recognise when it’s not FOMO
Sometimes, after going through all the steps above and dissecting your career FOMO, the feeling just doesn’t go away. In that case, it probably isn’t simple jealousy, but rather a sign of real career unhappiness. Then you can at least leave your current job, and develop your career elsewhere knowing that you really tried, and with your goals still intact.
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