Past vs. Future: Benchmarking for Career Choices

Where you come from is equally important as where you are going to.

Setting up your short term or career goals is a very thoroughly discussed topic and I’m not going to elaborate it now. You can find some hints about it in my previous posts. Much more in all HR web sources.

I was occupied by the fact that I was very often unsatisfied with things that most people are very happy with. And yes, it might be because I’m snobbish or because (I think) I set extremely high goals for myself, but instead of indulging myself with labeling, I have figured out that this is much more related with previous experiences then personality. Personality plays a role of course, but experience is what sets our benchmarks and creating our idea of happiness and satisfaction.

This is especially important when you are making decisions on your next job or next career move.

I have realized that at my previous job everything was about regretting the past. My benchmark for job satisfaction was set pretty high before I started. I worked with an amazing team in a very cool company and we were (now I can see that and say it loud) pioneering an organization transformation work. It was a funky job in a sexy industry. Not very well paid from today’s prospective but a very cool one. And then I came to the old-fashioned, slow paced industry and powerful system where money was good, benefits were even better, people were very professional and everything looked amazingly organized and well planned. To be fair except old-fashioned and slow paced all other listed attributes are something that I appreciate a lot and something that I highly value on my list of important things about the job.

But the trouble is again in timing. When something enters your life, even if it has certain important things that you value – is that enough? Or do you have new values that are even more important for you?

Checking and revising what it is that you value from time to time is very important.

If I would have to describe an ideal job for myself at the moment it would be something like this:

  • Intellectually engaging – I can’t stand jobs where the % of brain used is low
  • Decently paid – not overpaid
  • With people that I can have fun with
  • Very limited business traveling – not over 10% of the time

I know this now. But, this is actually not new for me. I needed all those things 5 years ago. I was just not aware of it. Or I was aware but I tried to deny it.

So, I ended up with:

  • A job that is intellectually engaging only for people with limited capacity, education and experience
  • Very well paid – actually overpaid for the real demands of the job
  • With some people that I can have fun with – but most of them disappeared pretty soon
  • Traveling for business 90% of the time

And of course, my satisfaction level was very low. But the funny thing is that I was not ready to admit that. At least not to the extent that I have made a mistake and that I should correct that mistake. I had couple of attempts to cut the agony, but I always had that wage justification to myself as to why I should not be a sissy and quit.

Some people have this quality to substitute the lack of job satisfaction with different things: hobbies, gym, supporting a football club, clubbing, drinking, drugs… I’m not one of them. I’m not one of them because of my character, partly, but also because of my past career. It’s probably similar to drugs.

Once you feel the high level of career satisfaction on all important levels, it’s very hard to accept less in the future.

Once you do some big and important things (in your respective range) it’s hard to deal with ridiculous bullshit on a daily basis.

Once you work under real leadership it’s impossible to work under miserable and bizarre excuses for leaders.

Unless you find another drug. I didn’t.

Cheers for the amazing past and cheers for even more amazing things that will happen in the future when you become ready to accept what it is you bring with you from the past! Complicated. Just cheers!


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