It starts every July with my friend. He makes these little comments here and there about how his job doesn’t offer much challenge anymore, his boss is kinda impossible and the company politics have only become worse. By December, he typically hits his limit and swears after the holiday he is going to get serious about looking for a job. And by this point in January, he starts to negotiate with himself that it all isn’t really that bad.
Until July rolls around again.
Every eighteen months or so his boss makes some sort of promise well into the future regarding a promotion, new region, something enticing enough to keep him on the hook. Yet those promises never materialize for one reason or another. It’s not uncommon for many of us to unknowingly shoot our own career in the foot based on a person of influence swearing a better life will come one day soon. If a leader in your company makes such statements, ask him/her to be as specific as possible about the potential move. The level of detail he/she provides will tell you how likely the promise will become reality.
Be mindful of how much time elapses between these types of conversations. I know for myself I could lose months, even a couple of years, waiting for someone else to open the door to the promise land. I think what gets lost in this subtle, yet troubling behavioral pattern is how easy it is to lose sight that one’s career is now largely dependent on another individual, who outside the work environment, is very likely more of a stranger than friend. To maintain control of your own career regardless of what others may think happen, build your portfolio with executing objectives that yield desired results. It doesn’t matter how big or small the achievement, what matters more is setting a track record of accomplishments with you on point from start to finish.
I think a lot of people, if they’re truly honest with themselves, recognize it’s pretty scary to move on from one job to the next voluntarily. And you know what: they’re right. It can be crazy-scary, especially if you have some years behind you with your current company. So, like any project that can be intimidating from the onset, break down your job search into a series of small, manageable steps and have clarity on what you hope to gain for yourself by completing each. By doing so, in very short order you’ll have a clear picture of options for you to contemplate; further ensuring you have the say over your destiny.
If you’re contemplating a move with your career or just want to have a chat about options, feel free to reach out to The Marlyn Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.