I had a deep chat with a friend today about dreams and careers. My friend, I’ll call him Bob, is at a crossroads in his life. He has worked for the same employer for 15 years. He works hard and is creative. He is a visionary with lofty ideals and big aspirations when it comes to quality. The organization he is at? Not so much. So he’s asking himself this question, “Am I selling myself short?” Before I answer, let me ask you a question. What about you? Are you in a similar situation? If you are, there are a few things you should be considering.
If you find yourself working for an organization that doesn’t appreciate your work, you first have to do some self-reflection. How you know that you are not the problem? Be honest? How do you really know that you don’t have performance issues? We all like to think that we are hard workers, yet statistically this is impossible. Some of us, some of you, may be under performing. So my first piece of advice is to talk to your boss about how you feel. Ask him or her about what they think about your contributions to the organization. If they have some issues with your performance, get some mentoring or coaching.
Assuming that you have a green light, that you are the superstar you think you are, let’s get back to Bob. My answer for Bob… yes Bob is selling himself short. He is talented and creative. He has a strong work ethic. He is honest and smart. The question is what to do about it? For those of you in the same situation, don’t be tempted to try to change the organization. You can’t push a rolling stone up hill.
You have two options. Two. You can stay where you are, or you can strategically plan your next career move.
While you may be tempted to pack your bags and take your wares elsewhere, stop to think this through carefully. There are many considerations that may outweigh your desire to be appreciated. Here are a list of questions that may help you think this through.
- Am I being compensated fairly for the work I provide?
- If I change careers, will I have to start at a lower pay level?
- Is there stability in my current organization that I can’t find elsewhere?
- How will my family adjust to a change?
- Are there other “benefits” that I will lose if I change? Things like retirement, vacation, a flexible schedule, a short commute all need to be considered.
- How can I strategically go about changing organizations?
- Is there any training that would make me more valuable?
- Is now the best time to move? (Kids, College, Spouse’s Career)
- How do I know I won’t be leaving a known evil for a something possibly worse?
- Can I transfer to another part of the organization?
Lots to consider.