“I am the pack horse of the office. They just give me the hard projects knowing that I will get it done.”
“I am the anchor for our department. My boss relies on me to make sure things get done and we weather any storm that comes at us. He has no interest in promoting me as he likes me where I am”
These are some of the comments that I have heard over the years. If we are saying things like this to ourselves, it is time to reflect on where we are in our career. If we don’t have the awareness of what we are doing, we will not realise that we are falling into set patterns. These patterns then become the norm. It is important to achieve the right balance in key areas of our life. This way we will be empowered and in control of our life and our career.
After some thought I have come up with the following topics that we need to strike the right balance. I would love to hear of others that you have encountered over the years.
The balance between adding value and being taken for granted
I am great believer in mastering our jobs and adding value to the organisation that we belong to. This will take us far in our career. However, if we find ourselves in a situation that we constantly are fighting fires or doing thankless projects, it is time to evaluate our position.
Ask yourself these questions
Am I learning new skills or building on my strengths by doing these projects?
Am I innovating to be more effective and efficient?
Am I building new or stronger relationships by doing this work?
Is my sphere of influence/respect increasing with others in the organisation?
If the answer is yes, It means you are still growing in your role. If no, time to look for the right opportunity to continue your career growth.
The balance between caring about our job and our health
Caring about our job can be a great asset. It means that we will do a great job and enjoy what we do. The organisation we belong to will reap the benefit of our dedication in increased productivity and accountability. That in turn will help us progress in our career.
I have known individuals who have suffered lasting health issues because of their dedication to their jobs. Some of them were driven by the outcomes that they were achieving. Others, by the sheer adrenalin rush of doing what they loved.
There is a proverb in Tamil – The wall has to stand for murals to be painted on it. The wall is you and the murals are what you achieve in life. Make sure the wall (your health) stands firm You can reach for the stars provided you are healthy and fit.
Watch out for signs such as sleeplessness, stress or fatigue. Have regular health checks. Switch off from the job in the week ends. Develop other interests so that your world is not solely your job.
The balance between tolerating or quitting a toxic workplace
Chances are we will encounter one or more of these workplaces in the course of our career. In fact most organisations will have some element that will be disagreeable to us. We will need to decide the behaviours we will tolerate and what we will not.
The best way of determining if a behaviour can be tolerated is by comparing this to our values system. If the behaviour goes against our core values, it is an indication that tolerating such behaviours will take a personal toll on us. We will not thrive in this environment.
If you decide that you can tolerate the behaviours, it is best to distance yourself from these issues as much as possible. Concentrate on doing your job.
The balance between climbing up the ladder or plateauing in our career
Promotion can be a powerful motivator. We will need to decide if we are up for the demands more responsible jobs place on us. We should make sure that we understand what an elevated job entails before we sign up for it.
A good example is where you are get a promotion to a job you love but in a challenging country. You will need to understand these challenges and its impact on you and your family. It is best to list down the pro’s and cons in moving to the challenging environment. Score these by it’s impact and see if the pros outweigh the cons. This way you are making an objective decision about the move.
You could use this methodology to analyse any future job Make sure that you understand all elements of the job properly. Employ a number of routes to do your research. Never rely on a single source for all the information.
I hope this article stimulates you to think about your own situation. Identify any patterns that are forming. This way you will be able to be in control of your situation and not vice versa. This is an introspective process and can be challenging. It may be a great idea to evaluate yourself with the help of a coach. Such a professional can help you reflect and develop actions to break out of your patterns. Putting the actions into practice will be your responsibility.
Good luck with your career. If you need help with your career please register with Stridez,com.au