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Home > Audio, Podcast, Show > Archive: Facing your demons – December 16, 2005

Archive: Facing your demons – December 16, 2005

January 28th, 2009

You have to face the changes you find in your career

(This podcast is pulled “from the archives” and presented here as a service to more recent listeners — Douglas)

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One of the hazards of writing a column on careers is that some people might begin to think that you have all the answers and that your career is perfectly on-track. Regular readers of Career Opportunities, or listeners to the podcast, have probably already realized, though, that I , like everyone else have my own career demons to face. Many of the columns I have written over the years have spawned directly from my own personal career struggles. I use my writing to gain a better understanding of my own career and, hopefully, get you thinking about your career, as well.

In past columns, I have written about some recurring demons that we all must face at various times in our careers. Some of these issues are relatively small, while others go directly to the heart of why you do the work you do, such as career choice, respect and making meaning with your career

Career Choice

I am confident that we can all agree that the concept of one career for life is long gone. Not only will you have multiple jobs, but very likely multiple careers during your lifetime. This fact can lead to a variety of career crises along the way. For example, there have been several times in my 20 year career that I have considered leaving technology work behind. Sometimes this was due to frustration with the high-tech industry as a whole or just dissatisfaction with a particular job. I spent many a night soul searching, although I eventually returned to technology work, usually in a slightly different form.

You are going to face similar crises. One day, you might find yourself longing to open a coffee bar, become a writer, or start an art gallery. Like myself, you might decide to remain in high-tech. You should allow yourself to think of alternatives, no matter how different they might seem from your current work. We all change over time and a career that suits you today might become boring or constricting in the future. Open your mind and explore the possibilities.

A Little respect

If you talk to nearly any high-tech careerist you will hear a common refrain, “I just want a little respect.” While it is true that respect is gained through quality work, it must also be given by those you serve. There are times when you need to demand the respect you deserve or find a place that provides it freely. Working in an environment where you are constantly demeaned or ignored is unhealthy for both you and your career.

Too often, concerns over money can prevent you from acting against feelings of disrespect and force you to remain in a job or career that is damaging you day after day. The truth is, respect is more important than money. It is respect that allows you to move forward, take risks and grow in your career. It is respect that allows you to make mistakes without fearing you might be fired. It is respect that allows you to do the best work possible, which in turn allows you to earn the money you need to prosper. Withholding of respect is a method of controlling people that is used in many companies. You need to understand this career demon, see it for what it is and avoid it as much as possible.

Making your career count

Finally, regardless of the work you do, you do it in an effort to make meaning in your life. We all want to make a difference in the world. Unfortunately, we can often forget this in the demanding and stressful environment where we work. Other “survival” issues, like making enough money, drive out thoughts of passion and meaning. We feel them only as deep longings, a hunger unfulfilled. No matter what your work, you need to explore your passions and constantly seek meaning in your life. Ignoring these basic needs, like ignoring food and water, will leave your life diminished.

There are many demons lurking along your career path. Take the time to engage these issues. Don’t let the shallower aspects of day-to-day life overshadow these important underpinnings of your career. The demons are out there waiting, but sometimes simply “turning on the light”, with a little care and thought can help dispel them.

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