Friday, July 23, 2010

Are You Where You Want To Be?

Recently Seth Godin wrote a blog post entitled What’s the Point? which challenged readers to think about whether the work they are doing is actually worth spending time on.

In addition to questioning the value of a specific project, many of us with long corporate careers wonder how we got to where we are. Moving from job to job within a large corporation often lands us far from where we thought we might be going when we took that job out of college. All in the name of …


Too often in corporate careers success is defined by everyone around us – and quickly becomes very little about us, and all about the company.

Our careers are shaped by managers who give us career advice that often follows a cookie-cutter mold, by HR professionals who create the standard and accepted career paths, by company-assigned mentors who are more focused on what has worked for them than what will work for you, and by executives who too-often view the employees as pawns on a big chess board to help them achieve their goals.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Did you take that new job or accept that promotion because you felt like it was expected, not because it was a good fit for you?
  • Did you move to a new organization for “career growth” even though you loved your job and still had a lot more to learn where you were?
  • Did you follow the path that your boss or mentor told you was the “sure way to get ahead” (possibly to find doors closing as soon as you headed down that path)?
  • Did you go after that promotion, or that certification, or that special assignment just because you felt you needed to keep up with the raised bar?
  • Do you define success by comparing yourself to how everyone around you is doing?
  • Do you listen more to your boss, your spouse, or your mother more than yourself?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, or if the person staring back at you as you look in the mirror before you leave for work each morning isn’t smiling, it may be time to check in with yourself.

What is your inner compass telling you about whether you are headed in the right direction? How do you define success?

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KarenG said...

I've been lucky in life to have a pretty accurate inner compass. It's never guided me wrong, even though at times I questioned it. Like when I left Costco 5 years ago and still wonder if that was the right decision! But not always in doubt, just sometimes. And Seth Godin's a genius.

Colette said...

Karen, I hear you -- Deciding to leave a job can be scary!

SteveB said...

Guilty on all 6 counts. Lots of practice over 42 years.

Kenneth H. Lee said...

I am mostly guilty on all counts.

My organization morphed around me the entire time I was there, so I never had a time where I consciously moved to a new organization, though I had wanted to do so on several occasions but got blocked due to the critical resource B.S.

I definitely reached a point at several times in my tenure at IBM where I did not want to get out of bed in the morning because I could not face the prospect of work.

Things got a bit better when I was tossed a bone to "shut me up" but I soon got back to the point where waking up was an unpleasant event.

It was bad because I finally had managers who were willing to allow me to move on, but due to the climate, there was nothing available for me to move to.

Always seems to be the case the when one is getting blocked from moving, there appear to be plenty of opportunities to aim for, but when one has the flexibility to actually move, nothing is available.

On a positive note, I recently received and accepted a job offer for a contract position working for IBM. Ironic isn't it? Booted out of IBM and back for IBM.....

Colette said...

I'm not guilty is the right term to use here -- after all, it's pretty much what we all were expected to do.

Ken, good luck with that contract position -- maybe being on contract will give you some power you never had before.

Julie Kibler said...

Interesting, Colette. This could almost be a companion post to the one I wrote for What Women Write today -- from a slightly different perspective. Wow, was I answering yes to a few of those questions some years back!

Enjoyed reading, and thanks again for stopping by our blog.