When teaching classes at universities or delivering a workshop as a corporate trainer, I often ask the following question to my students: “With a show of hands, how many of you are happy about your current job and your career as a whole?” There’s no doubt this is a loaded question. I’m asking these individuals if they have made the best decisions for their careers up to this point, which means that the inquiry hits very close to home. You probably guessed the response … over the past 20 years that I’ve asked this question, less than 10% of the participants are happy with where they are today.
Know When It’s Time to Flee!
A quote from Paul F. Davis resonates here: “If you don’t feel it. Flee from it. Go where you are celebrated, not merely tolerated.”
When living in Houston, I was hired as a clinic administrator of a small medical practice. I accepted the job because it was close to my house, and I had experience doing this type of work, but I was far from happy. There were a couple of employees who were passed up for this position, and they had more longevity working at the clinic. These two individuals attempted to put on a “let’s get along” attitude, but it was tough for them, and for me, too. When they learned that my salary was 50% more than what they were earning, the resentment spiked.
I remember speaking to a friend and informing her that this job was like running into a brick wall at full speed. I was doing the type of work that fell within my knowledge, skills, and abilities, but I was in the wrong seat, and heading nowhere fast! I’m unsure if failing to get along with my co-workers was the main issue, or if it was just my strong desire to be somewhere else. The perspective I had was that I could only see about 6-feet in front of me. I was not driven by passion or vision. I was definitely not celebrated by most of the people, and I was certainly tolerating the situation. I recall making the decision to leave this medical practice, even when I was unsure exactly where I was going next. However, I do remember having a carefree and passion-filled outlook on life and feeling that I was now in the driver’s seat.
Freedom is Your Choice
If you are in the wrong seat today, it’s time to make choices. This choice might be to bolt immediately and do something else. However, in most cases, there are steps to take to prepare for what lies next in your career. Therefore, if a professional certification is the right choice for your career, such as the PMP or Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)®, take action now. How about starting your MBA? Whatever it is … you must identify what is necessary for you to advance and kick-start the process. The bottom line is that the ball is firmly in your court.
You are in charge! You are the leader! You must be prepared to decide!
Planning your next move is a wise decision. However, if you plan for too long, you will soon lose interest and the journey will become laborious. As soon as possible, start a plan. In fact, I want you to call it your ACTION PLAN. You are not merely going to think about making your situation better, you are going to start taking small, incremental steps in the direction you wish to go. In just a week or so, you will notice that your passion will drive you, and before long, you will meet other people who are ready and eager to help you celebrate your new and exciting path.