Forcing yourself to accept your professional choices out of pride? Feeling stuck? If you don’t make a change, you’ll end up with a smashed soul.
Sound harsh? I guess it is, but it’s the truth.
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Think about it. You ’re unhappy at work. Your career hasn’t taken the path you imagined when you were in your mid to late twenties. You feel disenchanted and trapped. Even though you’re miserable, you suck it up and move on; but why?
Where Did You Slip Off The Track Professionally
Early in your career, you made some bonehead moves. Professionally speaking, you burned a few bridges, frequently behaved inappropriately, and even earned a “label” around the office.
Your dumb choices at work caused you to be shelved. (You know, the moment when your peers are being promoted, and you’ve been given an awesome “title” but shoved into a meaningless job? Yep, that was the moment you were shelved.)
The pile of professional, and at times HR noteworthy, slip-ups you made caught up with you; your fate was sealed. Once you came to terms with the fact that you literally wasted ten years of your life after college, you decided it was best to put it all behind you and move on. Time for a new chapter in your career. Wise move; finally.
Do You Recognize The Career Mistake You Made?
Ok, outside of the mistakes you made to earn you a permanent label you couldn’t erase, are you aware of the major career mistake you made in your twenties? If not, let me help.
You wasted ten years of your life at a company waiting for your moment to shine, while never understanding how your actions and behavior cast a negative shadow on you. You continued to see yourself as a star, someone who could do and say what they pleased and never face the music. You imagined yourself sitting at the board table, while everyone around you knew you’d be sitting in a cubicle.
Arrogance was your mistake early in your career. You were so arrogant that it clouded your vision and ultimately changed your professional path forever.
Who cares, right? Well, let’s see what happened next in your career.
Bigger, Better and Stronger. You’ve Landed Your Dream Job
Now for the next chapter. You decided to leave corporate America. You left the stuffy culture, the black and white rules and the structure. You were tapped to do something bigger; something that will put you on the map! So, you leap at it. And, if I’m being honest, I don’t blame you.
You made a wise decision.
You were given a huge jump up in title and responsibility, albeit at a much smaller company. But who cares. You knew that if you played your cards right, you could leave in a few years and use this as a major stepping stone on your professional path!
Back then, you loved your job. You were happy, enjoyed the challenge and even polished your behavior to match your fancy title. No more visits from HR!
You plugged along and were glad to do so. Until you hit your five-year anniversary. Hitting this milestone pushed you to wonder if you’d once again fallen behind professionally. Your friends’ careers were flourishing. They were being promoted, gaining higher incomes and moving at a faster pace than you. While you recognized this was happening and felt a need to react, for some reason you stayed put.
At the time you knew you shouldn’t care that friends were being promoted. Competing with them was dumb. After all, you grabbed the highest-ranking title at your company when you joined five years ago. Sure, there’s no upward progression, but at this point, you were still one of the youngest leaders across your organization. You were ruling the kingdom and your friends couldn’t say the same.
You still loved bragging about your title and tooting your own horn at neighborhood parties. Your HR issues were fewer and farther apart. And, while you weren’t fully happy with your work, at the time you still felt pretty cocky about your position.
Well, sort of…
Do You Recognize The Career Mistakes You Made This Time?
Ok, this series of career mistakes might not be so clear.
Let’s look at the positives from this era of your career. I commend you for leaving your last role for a somewhat high-risk position. After all, you positioned yourself to be the youngest leader within your company. You brought with you energy, fresh ideas and a vision for growth. You tackled it head on and you succeeded! All of this is awesome.
Now. let’s look at the negatives. The biggest negative? You overstayed your welcome. You realized that your company was small. There wasn’t a next step. But, when you found yourself bored after 5 years, you stayed put. Why? Let me help you – complacency, laziness and arrogance, that’s why you settled.
At the five year mark, you felt unchallenged, but you ignored it because you recognized that leaving to go back to a more challenging role would require a move to a larger company which also meant a step down in your job title. At this point, had you moved back into corporate America, you would have made more money, but you would have also left behind the “position” and title” that you coveted so dearly. Your “position meant everything to you; you wrapped your identity around this title! Arrogance couldn’t allow that to be taken away. So, you stayed put. Once again, arrogance won the professional race.
Now, Where Are You? Where Will Your Career Path Lead You
Fast forward to today. You stayed put. Another 5 years have passed and at the 10-year mark, you’re still sitting in the same chair. And, once again, you find yourself staying in a job you hate. Think about that. You’ve only had two professional jobs out of college and stayed at each until you were miserable and unchallenged.
You’re doing the same work you were a decade ago. Your income hasn’t increased, nor has your responsibility. Your work is monotonous, tedious and boring. You don’t enjoy going into the office and you don’t feel pride in your work. Most days you’re tired, depressed and a bit lost. That title you loved so much, sadly you still love it, but in your heart, you feel like it’s a joke; a mask you wear. As time passes, even you begin to realize the title isn’t nearly as impressive as it once was.
What happened to that person who was full of life, big ideas, and energy? Where did that confident person go? I’m not sure, the end of the story is yours to write.
How Will You Write Your Next Chapter
So, what will you write next? I’m not completely sure, although I have a guess.
While I don’t know for certain what your next career move will be, what I do know is this: You need to find your voice again, get your confidence back and stop letting arrogance rule your life.
Don’t let arrogance take you down. Don’t end your career with the story of fear and arrogance.
Who cares if you step down in title? I’m willing to bet you’ll make more money and be more fulfilled personally and professionally if you leave the job you’ve become stagnant at. Who cares if the image you’ve created is turned upside down and you’re forced to live a “normal” life with a “normal” title. What does normal mean anyway? For once in your life, don’t allow arrogance to make you settle, not this time.
Time is ticking and you’re at a professional crossroad. If you stay put, you’ll seal your fate. Landing a new job and proving yourself capable of keeping up with market demands, innovation and complex business cases at a high level will become harder and harder the longer you stay in one place. Companies look for talent with proven success and growth, not someone who has simply “held down the fort”.
It sounds harsh, but this is your wake-up call. This is the point that you leave arrogance behind and do what’s best for you. Find happiness again, it’s out there if you’re not too scared to look for it. – Carter