Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Career Utopia on Your Terms

I'm in a wonderful spot in my career where people (old and young) are looking to me for career advice. My consulting does not waiver from one generation to another, I just happen to be the man in the middle. I have learned a lot of lessons from my time in the trenches (some at my own expense others through finding out better). I don't pretend to know more than anyone and I tend to listen as well as I talk, but I guess this is where our lesson begins.

Whether you are considering a job move or are feeling stuck in your current gig, you should ask yourself a few things:
  1. What is my assurance that the grass is greener?
  2. Am I free to be me?
  3. If I left, would they miss me?
  4. Is my pursuit of something new driven by material aspirations?
Having a career you love is often more about the "have not's" than the "haves".

In short order, you should never give up a job you do well with people you love because you think you can earn more money! 

... nor should you put up with a miserable professional experience because you are making a ton of money. It is important to realize that having the flexibility to live your life on the job is astronomically more important than having a "work self" that rivals your "personal self".

Don't Self-Promote
At the time in my life when I had the most professional energy, I chose to spend it on making sure everyone knew how great I was. Instead of allowing my work to speak for itself, I used every "networking" conversation as a moment beneath the spotlight to impress my audience.

When you showcase your excellence in conversation with others you are categorizing yourself as the person to ignore at happy hour.

The bandwidth of the bullshit radar expands every day. Stay off the radar!   

Be Willing to Play Second Fiddle
Work is about teamwork. The most-competent person does not always step forward but the least self-secure usually does. People who dominate the initial team training often fail to make their one year anniversary. Part of being a great team member is giving others the fuel to perform without wanting to take credit for the team's work.

Success happens when you are willing to be humble in victory and accountable in defeat.

Don't Take The Money
Corey Ciocchetti has an interesting story. Now an ethics professor at the University of Denver, Corey spent his early career as a lawyer. He describes a life of long office hours, no personal life and a bunch of money. His ultimate resolution:

"I've never met anyone who put money first who is truly happy"

Money is a transaction and an expectation. There is never enough of it, and once prioritize it, you will only be happy with more than you have.

Seth Godin's research revealed that most people put in 80 to 90% of the work before giving up. This is especially prominent in organizations where projects involve multiple people and long cycles of completion. When there are varying opinions and milestones that are difficult to measure, frustration often overwhelms.

You don't have to be a Buddhist Monk to have purpose in your work. Purpose often reveals itself after a 12 month project when a team creates something unique and useful.

When I was 25 years old, I was the first to the office and the last to leave, because I didn't have a life to tend to. Young parents, those with "after school" interests, and people seeking higher education may not be willing to stick around after 5pm.

You can lean into a wall or you can run into it. Often times, stepping away from your work gives you a better perspective.

Some people are lucky enough to find a job that they love: whether it's the product they develop, the opportunity the company affords or the people with whom they spend their day.

Happiness at work is not driven by an algorithm.

There are great people and there are assholes in every company. Creating meaning often requires hard work. Sometimes you have to give credit to another for the sake of the team. People will let you down, people will annoy you, and the great certainty of work is that we cannot succeed without one another.  

Don't Forget to Remember,


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