“Taking up jobs to build up your resume is the same as saving up sex for old age.” Warren Buffett
How have you benefited from your job?
Other than being a means to money and security, what other benefits instantly pop into your head?
Have you grown as a person? Do you feel good about yourself? Are you happy with how you perform in meetings and presentations? Do you walk away feeling content with how you dealt with certain issues or situations?
Or, do you beat yourself up thinking you could’ve done better?
In terms of how you’ve grown in your position, I think many would judge that based on if you’ve been promoted. I know I have in the past. If you made it to manager status, then that was a sign that you were doing well.
However, after 10 years and 9 jobs, I’ve learnt that this is not necessarily the case. You can make it to manager status and still be very unconfident. And I think if grades were given in the professional world that would be a big “F” for “fail”.
Here’s an example for you.
So, we jump back to 2013 and it’s a Friday afternoon and we’re just about to head into a staff update. One of my team members goes up to my manger with a question. I can’t remember what the question was, but what I do remember is my manager said, “Tinaaaaaa, not now!”
My colleague walked away a bit shocked as she didn’t think a simple question would cause that type of reaction.
Naturally, I looked over thinking, what’s up? What I saw was a person distressed big time. She was sitting down at her desk with her head down and one hand holding it up. Shaking her head side-to-side and miming the words “fuck”. She wasn’t in a good state at all.
After a few minutes it was time to go to the staff update and as we were walking up we learnt that our manager had been asked to talk casually about how through one particular task her team worked together with another team in the company.
Basically, she had to talk briefly in front of about 25-30 people. That’s all that came to the staff update.
Time came for her to talk. And she did. And it was OK.
She was rattled before it, looked rattled after it and the next week she mentioned how she still felt nervous the next day because of it.
As much as I tried to sympathise I couldn’t. The talk went for about 20 seconds and the topic was a big nothing, all about how two teams worked together. No wrong or right answer. And this is a manager we’re talking about.
Regardless, if I was a manager or not, I’d feel really bad about myself if such a small request rattled me so much.
I don’t care about what other people think, but, personally, I’d be asking the question, what is this job doing for me? And how much really have I advanced?
How much was this manager benefiting from her job when such a small hurtle, of talking in front of people, still wasn’t overcome? What was this job doing for her confidence and self-belief?
3 signs your job is doing you no good
No. 1 – Your skills are advancing at about the same rate that a turtle walks (slow and agonising), and your levels of self-belief and confidence haven’t improved much.
Looking back on my 10 years and 9 jobs the one job where I felt truly fulfilled was the one where I advanced the most. Not in positions, but in skills, experience and, most importantly, confidence and in self-belief that I am, in fact, a very competent person who could achieve just about anything that I wanted to. And obtaining this belief is something rare, as I’ve seen you could be a manager for years and still experience little to no growth in these areas.
No. 2 – You’re demotivated and have accepted it and stay exactly where you are.
When you’ve hit this point you’re telling yourself that you’ve got it good just to have that permanent full-time job that is sucking the life out of you.
I know. I’ve seen it firsthand in my last stint with government. One of my colleagues that sat across from me had become really good in the art of dodging work. Only taking on a bare minimum that would somehow justify her being there.
Anyway, just before I left I had to hand over some work to her and she gave me the whole story about how when she first got there she was a “workhorse”. Her words:
“I use to start every Monday ready to go. But what I noticed was that the more I did the more they gave me and the people that didn’t do much work were left alone. So, I thought, why should I be the workhorse around here?”
Fine. I get it. Unfair allocation of work. I think it’s safe to say most people would react the same.
But the thing is, by making this decision to stay you’re paying a big price. Basically, you’re forfeiting the chance to reach your fullest potential for a permanent job that will only enable you to be average. Very average and nothing more.
When I was there, this colleague had been there six years already. How much do you think she developed in her role doing what she did?
I can guarantee you that not only did she not develop, she probably went backwards.
I remember when I lost the job that I loved to a merger and came across to the new company that was formed. One of my old managers from the previous job said to me, “Mimoza, maybe it’s not a case of that it’s that bad where we are now, but more a case of it was really good where we were.”
I remember thinking, yeah I could agree with that. I know there is worse, I’ve experienced worse. But how was that justification for accepting it? I felt it was a completely useless point that people use to justify their decision to stay in a job they hate. And this coming from a manager.
Man! After my 10 years and 9 jobs this title “manager”, for me, really doesn’t hold a lot of weight on its own.
No. 3 – You’re very jealous of other people’s success.
And I mean to the point where you want to scream your lungs out or throw yourself off a bridge and question your whole existence. Your thoughts sound something like this:
WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE? HOW COULD A GUY I WENT TO HIGH SCHOOL WITH, WHO WASN’T EVEN THAT GOOD AT SCHOOL, BE DOING BETTER THAN ME?
You’re also very curious of what other people are doing and snoop around just to see how far they’re getting. Other people’s success really pisses you off. But at the same time, seeing that others aren’t getting further than you makes you feel better about the crappy job that you have and helps you to get through your day.
How do I know this? Because I’ve felt it too. I’m as human as you are.
And I can tell you from experience that the only time when I wasn’t jealous of someone else’s success is when I felt fully fulfilled in my role. This was a role where in one year I advanced more than the other nine years combined, simply because of the opportunities that I had through that role.
And that year, LinkedIn didn’t exist to me and neither did Seek. I didn’t care about other jobs and I didn’t care about what other people were doing. I was happy regardless.
How happy are you at the rate that you’ve advanced through your job?
How confident do you feel? Or, are you still at war with the voices in your head? Tell me about it.
See you next week.