Reclaiming my career requires patience, time and a helluva lot of honesty. I need to embrace my strengths, own my weaknesses and most importantly, identify the changes I need to make, for the life I want. At this point, I have a good idea of the environment, work and lifestyle I want to have. It was a breeze to jot down the 5 Things That Energize Me.
Writing this post was also an easy task. Depending on where you fall on the glass half empty/half full spectrum, the quickness in which I was able to rattle off my list, could be viewed as negative. I see it as a positive revelation. Don't get me wrong, my current situation provided the bulk of the list. And yes, office days can be emotionally draining, as a result. However, now that I know what I don't want, I'm one step closer to Finding My Passion. Cue obligatory blog promotion. Check out my list and in the comments, give me your Top 4.
- Environments That Dissuade Ambition - You'll recognize this environment by the way its employees behave. Employees walk around like zombies from the Walking Dead. They spew words such as "status quo", "incremental progress" and "keep the lights on". You'll hear occasional lip service about innovation, but the words are hollow. Few employees will think outside the confines of a culture, especially if its viewed as a career hindrance. This results in disengaged employees, legacy approaches to work and limited value.
- Work Outside The "Value Sphere" - About a year ago, a new leader came on board to manage our division. She set up a meet & greet chat with me, soon after her arrival. I had just launched a significant web redesign project, but faced headwinds from others, due to competing budgets and priorities. During the Q&A portion, I being a candid woman, asked the leader how she would handle the challenges I was facing. She stared blankly and said, "I'm not willing to go up against them. And you shouldn't either. We need to show our collective value to them first." Now as someone that has consistently showed value, which has been recognized by the firm, I was taken aback. But, I now understand. The new leader was not going to fight a battle that she did not deem worthy of her support.
- Passive Aggressive Leaders - If you are a Scrubs fan, you will understand my point, perfectly. Do you remember the episode where JD confronted a doctor about her unwillingness to perform a risky operation? He said, "No one in this entire hospital has a bad thing to say about you and I'm guessing its because you are so careful not to rub anyone the wrong way." When I think of passive aggressive leaders, that scene always comes to mind. To be a leader, you have to make and stand by decisions, that may not be popular. If your strategy is to be seen as a neutral party so you don't make waves, you are not a leader. For better or for worse, leaders need to use their voice, even if it means falling on their sword.
- Golden Handcuffs as a Career Strategy - This is the trap I fell into. I work for a stable firm. I'm paid well. I have a health condition, that is partly managed by my firm's insurance plan. I've made good friends at the firm. I've been there for years and have built a positive reputation. The commute is manageable. These statement are all true. And I know that folks have it worse. But, take a close look at what I wrote. I did not mention my role or my responsibilities once. I could stay at my firm, for many years, if I wanted. From a financial point of view, its logical, and I understand why others do. Tenure at my firm is quite lengthy. And I would be remiss, if I did not admit my heightened anxiety level about leaving something safe, for the unknown. But, I also know ME. A role that is not intellectually challenging and does not require me to stay on top of my game, is not sustainable. We spend too many hours working, to settle for complacency. At least, that's how I see it.
There you have it, folks. 4 Things That Drain Me. Tell me your Top 4 in the comments.