After almost 20 years in business it’s not likely to expect that your career will skyrocket and that you will suddenly get a huge promotion and reach a totally different salary grade. Of course, exceptions are possible and I’m sure we all know some, but for a majority in mid 40’s – career development is pretty much over.
Among many different types of people that I have faced during my career, there’s one category I find the most challenging: people who are just interested in keeping their jobs.
In most cases, people aren’t even close to feeling safe enough to expose their weaknesses. Because, many bosses will misuse that. Maybe not because they are evil people, but because they don’t feel secure enough and they see their team members as threats or sometimes because they don’t have the capacity – emotional intelligence – to act differently. It’s much easier to attack and to push someone towards the edge (they call it stretching in HR nowadays), then to really understand one’s behaviour, motivation and work with it to get the best possible results.
Is that actually possible? In a real world. Made of steel. Made of stone.
I would have said no – until recently.
Most of my career I was very proud that I’m the master of my own career. I was in most cases the one who made a change and, almost every time, I had a new job before I left the previous one. I was also very proud that I got promoted without pushing for it too hard. Working hard and doing a fair share of self-promotion was always more than enough. Although I can accept that some people might disagree with the last one.
Leaving is one of the hardest things for many people. Whether it’s your home, your country, your partner or your job – it’s never easy. Even when you have all the relevant reasons and things are crystal clear saying the final goodbye might be an issue.
When I was starting my career as a young creative director I had a much more experienced collegue in the agency. His sons were my age. I was very fast and furious at the time. I was in that ‘ I know what I want and I want it now’ – mode… So, at that time I was also applying for Canadian residence. I had an idea to immigrate to Canada.
This collegue of mine actually came back from Canada a few yers before.
Entering new unknown worlds and exploring them was always interesting for me. I was curious and willing to challenge myself. This drive took me to some amazing places but also to some ridiculous situations and bizarre environments.
For a long time, I have thought that this is my strong suit. I thought that I was becoming a better person, stronger professional, more tolerant and ready to accept diversity in a working environment but also in my personal life.
In every company I’ve worked so far there was a minority of people pushing things forward and a majority – the rest of the crew, expressing their wonder: What the hell do they want?
There is a way to survive corporate environment without significant consequences and live a relatively peaceful live. The lucky ones can even be happy while doing it.
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.
There are a couple of things that I don’t like about myself. If we skip some more intimate, the one that I can share with you is the fact that I’m a Plan B person.
By this I mean that whatever I do I always have a plan B. Just in case that plan A doesn’t work as I was expecting.