Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Have I Been at the Same Job For Too Long?

A friend forwarded me this article from Business Week Online entitled, "Should You Stay or Should You Go?" Written by Jack and Suzy Welch, I think it's got some great (and simple) suggestions for helping you figure out if you've been at the same job or same company for too long.

Essentially, they say it's less about actual criteria, but rather how you would answer the following 4 questions:

  1. Do you want to go to work every morning?
  2. Do you enjoy spending time with your co-workers or do they generally bug the living daylights out of you?
  3. Does your company help you fulfill your personal mission?
  4. Can you picture yourself at your company in a year?

In my experience with career coaching, I find that Question #3 is often the trickiest. Most of us can answer the other questions if we gave it some thought, but the idea of a "personal mission" opens the uncertainty floodgates. Do I even have a personal mission?

As typical 24-35 year olds, the ideas of "meaning","purpose", "calling", "mission", "career" have all been floating around in our minds or lurking in the background. We know it's there, but many of us haven't given it enough thought.

Maybe it's because we're afraid we might not have one. Nothing jumps out at us, but we wish we were one of those "lucky ones" who know just what they want to do with their lives. We don't see an immediate "passion" for anything, so we default to thinking that one job is just as good as the other, as long as we're collecting a paycheck. But deep down, we know it's not true.

But there's a reason we can't shake that feeling... it's because everyone should have a personal mission. Our purpose doesn't have to be a bleeding-heart-save-the-puppies-cause to be important. What's important is that it provides YOU with personal meaning and can be used to steer your decisions. Your calling could be something straightforward like provide for your family, make VP, always feel like you're learning, help people, do something you enjoy, etc.

It takes a while to identify your personal mission, but it's usually a combination of the skills you like to use, your strengths and personality, the subjects that most interest you. It's not just about finding a cause, but rather finding a good match for who you are so that you can wake up in the morning excited to go to work.

For those of you feeling stuck in your job, definitely read the article!

  • What do you do when you're feeling stuck in a job?
  • How long does it take to realize it?
For more help in thinking about your personal mission or changing jobs, check out for my workshops and coaching services!

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