No matter what your job or career is, you undoubtedly have good days as well as ones that you wish you could get a do-over on. Join the club. But when the bad starts to outnumber the good, it may be time to mosey on down the road to your next big thing. But before you get your mosey on, how about a little tough love? When you really get your mind around these five truths and act accordingly, you will make significant strides in your career.
Painful Truth #1: Your organization wants you to stay until the day they don’t. Despite all evidence to the contrary, many of you still believe that your employer owes you something, can’t live without you, and would never, ever lay you off. If even a kernel of that is embedded in your mind, expunge it now.
Instead, this should be your mantra: “I will stay until it is no longer in my best interest to do so” vs. hiding so the layoff fairy can’t find you.
Painful Truth #2: No one cares about your career as much as you do. And that is okay. Those who love you certainly want what is best for you, but if you have career goals, you must be the driver of that bus. We get nowhere alone, therefore, those key personal and professional relationships must be developed and nurtured, but in a supporting role.
Painful Truth #3: A guiding work philosophy of “keep your head down and work very hard” is a loser. You will undoubtedly be disappointed, underappreciated and resentful of those maybe less talented who seem to move effortlessly. You must get better at sharing your accomplishments and taking credit when it is yours to take.
Painful Truth #4: More education is not necessarily the answer. Any educational endeavor must be aligned with a realistic goal and outcome. You must be very clear about why you are going to school and where that new education will lead you. As an example, a recent Wall Street Journal article found that the MBA has lost some of its luster as an almost sure-fire way to ignite one’s career. School should never be a placeholder until you figure out what you want to do, or until the market picks up.
Painful Truth #5: You may not be all that. We all want to believe that we are deserving of endless opportunity, a salary that gives us the life we want to live, and to have a job or career others envy. Certainly if you are in the right job, your chances of having all of that increase. But the reality is that we all encounter bumps in the road, lose opportunity for reasons we can’t control, and run into bosses who do not qualify as our fans. The more realistic we are about our strengths, and are willing to flex and grow, the more opportunity we will have. It is not a failure to have tried something that just didn’t work, or to have been fired. Each time we find something that we aren’t good at, or someone that we can’t work well with, that gives us new information to make our future decisions with.
Your career is yours to drive, manage, repair, accelerate, or whatever you wish to do with it—and that can be exciting and scary all at once. The sooner you realize that and act accordingly, the more likely you are to reach your goals. Ready, set, go!
For more information about your Career Happiness, visit www.thebaukegroup.com.
Photo (Flickr CC) by reynermedia