The Grass Is Greener?
At the most very basic level of our human, professional DNA is the concept that we must continually seek to better ourselves by evaluating “opportunities” within the context of our current situation. In other words, we look at where we are and say, “Maybe it would be better if I were doing something else, someplace else.” While it is very much true that identifying inflection points within our career is vital to long term success, change for the sake of change can have devastating effects on our professional and personal well being.
We have the privilege of interacting with many, many professionals each and every week. Some of these talented people have been thrust into change through a recent reduction in force or have been asked to take a significant step back within their current organizations. Professionals in this situation must indeed seek change, mostly because it has been activated by an external force. Others that I meet take action out of a desire to continually evolve, staying ahead of the wave and thus fastidiously managing their uniqueness as a solution to business challenges. Interestingly enough there is a category of professional change “seeking” that I find to be harmful – changing direction because we are bored or uninformed. Sometimes that little devil on our shoulder convinces us, “It’ll be better if you could only have a little more control. No one around here knows what’s going on! My boss really aggravates me. I just need a change.” Is anyone familiar with this inner-monologue?
Well, the grass is not always greener. So let’s talk about how to validate our professional feelings about required change. There are always the simple pros and cons of staying or going but there is more! If you are contemplating career change, then you owe to yourself to engage in a thorough due diligence process. After all, our professional well being ranks right up there with family, health and finances in terms of priorities. Does it not?
Start with your professional assets — strengths and values. Make an honest inventory (a simple list) of these attributes and “must haves” if you are going to make a move. Ask yourself some key questions. What type of experiences in life do I find to be satisfying? What things do I just not like to do? What are my natural abilities? What is it that I truly find dissatisfying or unsettling about my current situation?
Okay. Now, make a list of organizations where you believe your requirements may be met, no more than ten, and evaluate each and every one against your criteria. Oh I forgot, put your current company and role on the list. Evaluate that one too! The idea here is simple but powerful. Take a step back, evaluate that “grass is greener” feeling objectively, and take control of the most valuable real estate in the world—the six inches between the left and right ears.