As you might imagine, as the self-described Chief Career Happiness Officer of the planet, I love Career Rebellion! I have no data to back it up, but it seems like the “Career Happiest” people I know have had either one or two moments of rebellion in their journey.
In the not too distant past, we spoke in terms of career paths and ladders, as if the only acceptable route was straight up. You were assumed to want to always be on an upward path until you “Peter Principled” out. (The Peter Principle is the principle that in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to their level of incompetence.) What a lovely concept! Keep moving until you crap out, or are perceived by others to have crapped out.
Thankfully, somewhere along the way, the worm turned, and more and more people rejected that idea and forged their own path. I think it was the combination of mass layoffs, disillusionment with organizations and the lack of leadership, and just a desire to be more in control of their lives. And with Millennials flooding the market, count on that trend to continue at an even faster pace.
More and more of us are working, or are declaring an intent to work well into our 60’s and beyond. How likely is it that anyone will be satisfied, let alone happy, with the same job or career for what could be 50 years? Yikes.
Think you might have a rebellion lurking inside of you? Do any of these sound familiar?
- I don’t know what I want to do, but I know it’s not this.
- I start to get a pit in my stomach every Sunday because Monday is coming too quickly.
- I say things like, “Only ten more years till I retire.”
- There is so much more I could do and contribute, but I can’t in my current role.
If you found yourself nodding as you read the list above, you may need a pair of Rebel Career Pants.
People wearing Rebel Career Pants believe that they deserve more, better, different than what they have now and are willing to step outside of their comfort zone and take some risk to get what they want.
But of course, you have to know what you want first.
Figure Out What Is Not Working Right Now
If you are unhappy at work right now, can you identify exactly what is not working? Is it the content of your job? Your relationship with your boss? The company culture? You won’t know what to try to fix until you can identify it. And once you can identify it, is it something that can be fixed where you are? If not, you may need to move on.
Think and Dream Big
What would you do if your life had no limits? If you think that the “big thing” is not possible right now, might it be possible in the future, maybe when your kids are out of college? Or is a piece of it possible now?
Get Input from Your Fans
Yes, we all have fans. Who knows you well, personally and professionally? Who really understands and appreciates what you are good at? Who can help you articulate your gifts and your vision? We all need a sounding board because we tend to get stuck in our heads.
Get Inspired by Others
Connect with people you know who seem to like what they do. For the price of a cup of coffee, I bet they would be willing to share their story. Become curious about people and their jobs and careers. Look for common threads, patterns, and ideas that you can incorporate or learn from.
Getting and staying Career Happy, having the courage to put on a pair of Career Rebel Pants, or just following a path that others frown upon is not easy. Do it anyway.
To Your Rebellion!
Julie Bauke is the President of The Bauke Group. Join the Career Happy Nation at www.thebaukegroup.com.
Photo (Flickr CC) by Quinn Dombrowski