Note: This week on the blog I am trying out a little experiment - writing on the first five (or so) subjects that popped out at random from a cool little app called Writing Exercises. The app provides suggestions for topics, characters, first lines - that kind of thing. I tapped the 'Random Subject' button a few times and will (try) to come up with something for each subject I was presented. It may be good, it may stink - who knows? But whatever the topic, I am taking like 20 minutes tops to bang something out. So here goes...
Today's (and this little exercise's final) topic is a question: What are you afraid of?, and like yesterday's post, I am going to try and keep this more in a work/workplace/career context. I mean I am afraid of Sasquatch and the a guy sitting next to me on a plane who decides to take off his flip-flops and films with subtitles, but no one cares about that.
So what am I afraid of? Not sure I if I am still afraid of these things, but I probably was at one point or another (or should have been). Here goes...
1. Continuing to work with people that you don't trust - There is always a kind of weird and interesting dynamic in organizations and office politics where on the one hand if everyone succeeds then everyone is happy, but in most organizations 'everyone' isn't who or how we reward that success. Said differently, and hopefully in a way that makes sense, most organizations value team work and collaboration, but when come promotion and raise and bonus time it is literally every man and woman for themselves. Naturally these circumstances lend themselves often to people having to work in their own self-interests, and their self-interests are almost certainly not aligned with yours. Once you get the sense that the big, happy family of collaborating colleagues is actually a pack of loosely organized bloodthirsty pirates, you had better be able to either play the game to win or get yourself out of there.
2. Staying too long in a job or at an organization that is making you unhappy - Similar to Item 1, I know that there has been a time in my career I lingered at a little too long at a place where I had ceased learning, developing, and being excited to be there. It was for all the usual reasons that I stayed - finances, location, family obligations, etc. The same reasons you are probably gutting it out in a job you don't like either. But even though we can pretty effectively rationalize the 'stick it out' decision, in the longer term it is almost always one we will regret.
3. Letting someone else (or expectations) manage your career choices. One of the things most folks should do, at least early in their careers, is take the time to experiment. I am talking about taking at least some time to try a few different roles/industries/kinds of jobs in order to figure out what you are actually good at doing. It is so easy to come out of college as say an accounting major and then take your first accounting job which leads to the next accounting job and so on and so on. Until 18 years later you are the Assistant Controller and you realize that you don't really like accounting. But your Dad told you to major in accounting because it 'Would be easy to get a job after you graduate' and so you did and then, well, you know the rest. So take some time to ty out some things when you are young and you only have to worry about supporting yourself. Finding something you actually enjoy and are good at will make you infinitely happier in the long run.
Ok, that is it from me for the week. And that is the end, (thankfully), of this week's Writing Exercises experiment. Thanks for indulging me.
Have a great weekend!