The Person in Charge of Your Career Is Not Your Employer
"It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all--in which case, you fail by default."— J. K. Rowling
You Have Choices
The Harvard Business Review wrote a fascinating, fact based article called "Employee burnout is a problem with the company, not the person." It estimated that the psychological and physical problems of burned-out employees cost upward of $125 billion a year in healthcare spending. That is in the U.S. alone.
Low productivity, high turnover and the loss of talent are one of many of those culprits. But who wants to stay with a company that breeds burnout? What person in their right mind would just suck it up and beat that time clock into oblivion just to get a paycheck, knowing they are miserable in their jobs?
Surprisingly, many. And I have been one of them.
I get it, sometimes you have to suck it up and deal with the frustration of working under bosses and bite your tongue alongside annoying co-workers. Sometimes it becomes more risky to take a plunge to get out of a toxic workplace too, so then you feel trapped. Regardless of what you are going through in your employment right now, a truth remains. You have a choice to do better and keep learning, and it's all up to you.
Which brings me to the topic of this article: The person in charge of your career is not your employer.
It's you. It always has been. It always will be.
I can drag you to a library but it is up to you to start reading. I can drag you to the beach too, but it's up to you to start walking alongside me for a nice stroll. Every little thing we do in our lives stems from an act based on a choice we make because of a pressing matter we are expected to fulfill.
Like laundry. You know you have to do it. It's there in the floor waiting on you to take the first move. Literally.
If you are in a job where you are one miserable, emotionally train wrecked employee, then it is up to you to take the first step. So many times I have worked alongside wonderful people who are so burned out with their jobs I start questioning why they stay so long. But the truth is, I know why they stay. Many times it is because there are no other opportunities with their employer. Or it may require a geographical move, which is risky and very expensive. Sometimes it is because their jobs are closest to their homes and kids schools, so it is a matter of convenience and safety. They suck it up and deal with it because it just costs too much otherwise to take a plunge to do anything else.
I get it. The fear is there and it is real, like a mountain of doom closing in, backing you against walls of uncertainty.
If you stay at a job you hate, burnout breeds complacency after a while, and there are so many studies to prove it. After that, the mental exhaustion takes you over the edge. The next thing you know you are missing work, calling in sick all the time. You live for your days off, or the weekends. You drag in late to work, not caring if you are on time anymore.
You staying in a job you hate hurts your team and the company you work for. But it hurts you the most.
I've never met a lazy person in any job that gets promoted. And I've never met an ambitious person who stays in a career rut. I'm sure they are out there. I have seen that lazy people never succeed because after a while, promoting a lazy person only hurts the company and it catches up to them eventually anyway. And I've experienced ambition and the drive to do better take me places I never thought I would have opportunities to go because I wasn't content staying where I was at.
In my years of navigating many different paths of jobs that led to a career, I learned the hard way my career path was never up to my employer. Not once. It was always up to me.
"Don't give up, don't take anything personally, and don't take no for an answer."— Sophia Amoruso
My choice to step outside my comfort zone
I love to read and research topics. And then write about them. My passion has and always will be to help others through my writing by using my own life experiences and encourage others to do better.
In my career now, I decided I did not want to be stuck in the role I am, so I started getting curious. I had felt for some time I was becoming complacent, bored and frustrated in my current role. I was ready for a change. It was time for something different.
I did my research based on what I believed I wanted to do in a career, and then reached out to managers and people already in those roles for advice.
I had never done this before, ever. I just wanted some information about the role and I wanted to talk to someone already in that role to get a better understanding of a potential opportunity, even if it took years longer to get into it.
I decided one day that I was ready to move on and learn a different role in the company. I refused to stay where I was at, and felt a drive in me to pursue something that was more my personality. Even if it meant a geographical move.
In less than ten minutes I got multiple replies. A hiring manager scheduled a phone conference with me. I had people reach out to me in those roles who encouraged me through email and it lit my soul on fire to keep pursuing something greater than where I was at.
I felt purpose in my role at the company again. I felt a fire in me grow until I applied to multiple positions within those same lines of opportunities.
I got a phone interview that following week.
I am still waiting to hear back, but I resolved even if I didn't get the job, that I was still learning about a potential role I felt interested in, and following a passion to do what I am good at.
That's how it works. You keep trying and you may fail, but you can't give up. Try again.
We humans get bored. We aren't made to be complacent. Or miserable. We were made to do great things and be creative with the passions and talents we have to make impacts in our world.
But it all starts from stepping out of your comfort zone and taking initiative. You see, a fire starts with a flicker of hope, then it feeds on air. It gets bigger and bigger, consuming things. The employees who succeed in ambitious endeavors are ones who never give up, they feed their dreams and they keep learning.
Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone because you are bored, and other times you throttle outside the comfort zone because you feel led to do better. It's all about choices.
And the choice is up to you.
"Be passionate and bold. Always keep learning. You stop doing useful things if you don't learn."— Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft
© 2019 April Savage