“…wherever people are, in the deepest part of the winter, at the exact mid-point, everybody stops and turns and hugs. As if to say, “Well done. Well done, everyone! We’re halfway out of the dark.” — Doctor Who, A Christmas Carol
As in the quote above, we are very close to our own moment of the year where we are “halfway out of the dark.” The Winter Solstice has passed and the days get longer – second by second, minute by minute – with each passing day. In our careers, it is important to remember this endless cycles that has gone on for millions of years. The darkness comes, the darkness abates and then it all starts over again.
Of course the same cycle can be said to occur in our lives and in our careers. There are boom times, there are bust times and there is everything in between. No one knows exactly what life will bring, but I find myself more and more assured each day, that the cycles will continue to oscillate back and forth for as long as we – and the planet – exist. Cycles are a fundamental part of our world. Look to any science – physics, chemistry, biology – and you will see them represented. It only makes sense that cycles occur over and over in our lives as well.
So what does this mean to you as a careerist? It means that you will have boom times and bust times and everything in between, so – if you don’t give up completely in a bust time – the opposite portion of the cycle will come around again. If times are hard, they will get better. If times are good, they will get worse. Knowing this, we can take actions to smooth out our journey through life and work. We can work with the cycles to develop plans for the inevitable change that will occur. With enough preparation – and enough time – we might even be able to live outside the cycle. In today’s world it is possible for some to make so much money and develop so much financial security that they can live outside the cycle – at least in some ways. Even money can’t forestall health problems, family issues or accidents. Even then you aren’t removing the cycles, only leveling the mountains that occur into manageable molehills.
How can you smooth your journey through your career and life? First, recognize that cycles exist. Recognize that cycles naturally turn (even if they take a long time to do so) and recognize that cycles can be smoothed out through judicious planning. When times are good, you don’t necessarily want to be thinking of the time when the cycle will change. Yet, that is exactly when you need to do so. You need to take the good times to prepare, to save, to plan so that the bad times will effect you less. Consider this thought and planning to be the tax you pay on the good times. By investing a bit of time in yourself and your thinking, you can prepare for the future without panicking and over worrying.
Things can be more difficult if you feel you are in the depths of a bad cycle. When we are on the downside – and without a plan developed earlier – we can feel lost, frightened, angry – or any combination of the above. We don’t always do our best thinking when confronted with these emotions and, even worse, we can allow these emotions to carry us to a dark place which only compounds their effect.
Instead, we need to look for the cycle, look for the coming change, that will show that the world is turning. We must always keep in our mind that it can get better – it will get better –– eventually. No matter that we might feel the entire world is against us or that our lives are on a downward spiral, we must look for the cycle that is coming. We must follow any sign that it is occurring and work to make it occur on our own, personal, necessary, timescale. It is when we give up hope, when we stop looking for the cycle (even if we are having a hard time believing it even exists) that we truly fail. We cannot give up on ourselves or the world will very likely give up on us. We must maintain some core hope/belief/wish/dream that a change is coming or we may miss it when it arrives.
No matter where you are – halfway out of the dark or halfway into it – understanding and believing that a change is coming is fundamental to your life and career. Don’t give up on yourself. Don’t give up on the cycle. Don’t forget that science has shown us that the world turns, the seasons change, the sun rises and sets and every life has an ebb and flow that is simply too large a part of us to be denied.
I can see the change coming.