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Home > Audio, Podcast, Show > Doing the (Career) Laundry — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

Doing the (Career) Laundry — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

June 20th, 2014

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If there is one thing my wife detests, it is doing laundry. It is one of those tasks that never comes to an end. As soon as you complete one load, another is ready to go. Then there is the folding, ironing and more. My version of laundry is the monthly bill pay and financial reconciles. It has some direct corollaries in that it, too, is never done. I only make progress for another 30 days and then it starts all over again. As you might imagine, there are certain tasks in your career that closely resemble doing the laundry. Nevertheless, they still need to be done, regularly and well, if you want to keep your job, life and career on track.

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Reevaluation of your current job

You might think you are reevaluating your current job on a day-to-day basis, but in reality, you spend so much time “doing” your job, you often have very little time, or inclination to think about the job itself. This can be a dangerous trap if you allow it to go on too long. Just like ignoring the laundry, you will eventually pay for your inattention with more work.
I am sure you have seen the results of inattention. You wake up one morning dreading your return to work. Tasks have piled up. Managers have changed. Morale is low. Why didn’t you notice this before? More than likely, it is because you didn’t take the time to reevaluate your feelings about your job. I have seen workers spend years in a bad job, simply because they didn’t take the time to look around them and realize that either they, the job, or both had changed.


One of the easiest aspects of your career to ignore is the need for on-going education. Trapped in your own little world, filled with the same methods and systems year after year, you can forget that the world continues changing around you. How many books are you reading each month? On what topics? Are you still using the same methods you used 5 years ago? Are they still serving you well? Chances are, your job has been stuck in a time warp while competitors and, perhaps even co-workers, have advanced beyond you. Remember, if you are not learning something new, every single day, you are falling behind. Those around you are building their knowledge every day and you should be, too. Otherwise you will find yourself left behind, maintaining legacy systems while others chart the newest business territory.


Are you out there, every day, meeting new people and being introduced to new ideas? This might be the number one danger to someone in a stable job. If you like your co-workers and your job, you don’t have the incentive to reach out to new people and new worlds. You get comfortably cocooned in your job and might never want to leave.

Of course, as I mentioned above, this doesn’t stop the world from changing around you. Changes in Business can quickly bring a company to its knees and disturb the happy little home you have established. Don’t be blindsided by change just because it hasn’t happened to you yet. Reach out to people outside your organization, outside your company, even outside your area of expertise. You must keep one eye on what is happening outside your door or your next visitor just might be the big bad wolf. Reach out to new people and new horizons. Develop connections with people all over the world and learn the lessons that everyone has to teach — no matter how comfortable your current job might be.

Everything else

Along with these larger issues, you also need to “do the laundry” in many other ways. You need to update your resume, update your web site, develop new skills, work towards a raise or promotion, prepare for your annual review, plan your retirement, your own business, your new life. It never really ends, even if you ignore it.

Regardless of the state of your current job and career, you have to take the time to do the hard, recurring work to insure that you are building the best career possible. Don’t let complacency stop you from doing what needs to be done. Life is about growth and change over time and you have to embrace this fact in order to build the career you deserve.


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