Archive: What to do when your career is going well
Despite the fact that we all have challenges to face in our careers, there are times when things are going our way. There are times when we find the perfect job at the perfect moment with the perfect company. When this happens, you usually just want to sit back and enjoy. While you certainly should take pleasure in finding a job that is fulfilling and enjoyable, you should not forget to stay prepared for the time when desire or circumstance leads you out of this job and into the next.
One of the first actions you need to take when you find yourself in a good job is to actively investigate what makes it good. Is it the work you are doing? Your co-workers? Your management? Some combination of these and more? Recognizing what makes this job special and enjoyable will enable you to seek out similar traits whenever you are looking for a new job. Being able to identify what you want and what companies can offer is half the battle in developing a great career.
Don’t rely on your memory to hold this information. Take the time to write up what you see around you so you can revisit or reinvent it in the future. Should this job eventually end, you want to be able to revisit your feelings as they were at the height of your enjoyment. Too often we can forget there was ever anything good about a job once it begins to crumble.
Too often, I see job satisfaction turn to boredom. Once we find a good position, we often want to preserve this position at all costs. Thinking that any change could upset the delicate equilibrium, we stall and stagnate. We stop challenging ourselves with new work, new thoughts, new ideas. Even worse, we will see outside influences, such as new products, new management or new staff, as a threat to our status quo.
Instead of enjoying our position, we start to worry that someone will shatter our perfect world. In reality, at that point it is we who are damaging it. Through our resistance and stubbornness we will create the exact opposite of the environment we desire. We become rigid and insular and often bring about our own destruction.
If you want to continue in a job you love, you need to see change as an important factor. Sure, the balance will be upset and your job may change, but it will often find a new equilibrium similar to before. You might even find that change will make your job better. Sometimes we worry so much about the negative side of change that we find it impossible to see the positive effects that it can bring.
Finally, no matter how comfortable you may feel in your job or how perfect the situation, you can never stop growing, both as a worker and as a person. If you are fulfilling all the aspects of your job today, find some way to expand your role. If you have all the knowledge you need, find an area of ignorance to fill. If your work life is perfect, work on your personal life.
Life and work lie on a continuum. If you perceive yourself as staying in one place, you are actually falling behind. Do not be seduced by the happiness of finding a great job. This doesn’t mean you should stop moving forward….stop trying. If you become too enamored of your current position, you may wake up to find that you have fallen behind.
Bask in the joy of finding and living with your great job. These are special times that come all too infrequently to most workers. Even so, be aware of the pitfalls that the best times can bring. Don’t just settle in for the next 30 years. Challenge yourself to increase your knowledge and increase your effect on the world. Don’t let happiness lull you into a false sense of security or a stagnate life. Happiness breeds more happiness, if you seek it out. Use the perfect job as a springboard to yet greater heights in your career.