8 Reasons Why You’re Not Achieving Your Career Goals – Career Centre Malaysia
Sometimes we ruin our chances of achieving success, joy and fulfillment at work. Countless times, in clients from a variety of sectors, I’ve seen promising careers stall when beliefs and behaviors are based on a major misconception. Here are the 8 of the most common stumbling blocks I have seen.
1. Getting hung up on job titles.
So maybe you are the VP of Finance at your current company, but the perfect role opens up at a company that would be a much better fit for you – for the Director of Finance. Do you leave? I know someone who was a CMO and lost her job through a merger. A job became available as a Director of Business Development at another company. She almost didn’t interview because of the title, but she did it for the practice (it had been years since she had applied for a job). After talking to the hiring manager, she realized that she would earn almost the same salary, reduce her workload and stress level significantly, shorten her commute and be part of an organization that was more aligned with her values and interests. All she had to do was get over the misperception that she was being demoted. Despite all the amazing benefits in the new position, she hesitated. Finally, she accepted the job and now says it was her best career move ever.
2. Thinking that corporate work is the best path to security.
It’s amazing how easily we can adopt mindsets that are not consistent with current reality. In the Mad Men days, corporate job security was more prevalent. Today, global competition is fierce and mergers are de rigueur. Working for a giant corporation is not necessarily more secure than being a solo-preneur or an entrepreneur. Other factors that Don Draper didn’t have to worry about include the speed of e-commerce, accelerated product cycles, automation, outsourcing, and developing economies. These all contribute to diminishing job security, especially in the wake of the 2008 recession. Now that the market is bouncing back, we once again feel secure. Well, guess what? There will be another recession. In fact, Achuthan Lakshman, COO of the Economic Cycle Research Institute, predicts in his 2012 report that in the future, the U.S. economy can expect more frequent recessions followed by less productive rebounds. Are you really secure in your corner office? You might be more secure going solo – or at least building a strong network so that you can launch your own firm at a moment’s notice.
3. Wearing blinders.
I was happy working for The Man – very happy. In fact, before I left the corporate world, I was on an expat package, living in the amazing city of Paris and working for IBM IBM +0.34% with a team of brilliant people scattered around the globe. I was living a dream. Then, as part of a corporate resizing, I had to lay off 12 of my team members. Years earlier, I had read Tom Peters’ breakthrough article, “The Brand Called You,” and was the most energized I had ever been. I told myself, “I am going to start the first personal branding company.” Then the opportunity to work in London and Paris got in the way, and I focused on living abroad. My blinders kept me from seeing a far more powerful opportunity. When I had to downsize my team, I was finally able to notice the beacon that was flashing with a crystal-clear message: “Now’s the perfect time to jump ship and start your personal branding company.” Fortunately, I did make the switch and have never looked back! Being too comfortable can distort your vision.
4. Taking on other people’s values.
A friend of mine wanted to start her own coaching practice, but her husband always talked her out of it. Every time she brought it up, he said, “Even though you don’t like your job, you get a paycheck for the same amount every month. If you start your own company, you will always be searching for clients. You will be unsure about how much money you will earn. You will have to compete for every assignment.” He was putting his values on her. He would admit, she says, to being the most risk-averse person on the planet. In fact, security is the most important thing to him. It’s his number one value. When you take on other people’s values, you make their decisions, not yours. Of course, it is always valuable to seek guidance when making major career decisions, but it’s important to connect that wisdom with the motives, values or perspective of the advisor.
5. Being binary.
Once I was paying for my two chocolate bars (yes, I have a serious weakness for chocolate!) – one milk and one dark. I told the cashier I couldn’t decide which one to buy. Without missing a beat, she replied, “Yeah, sometimes it’s not A or B, it’s AB.” I chuckled then … and have quoted her ever since. We are quite binary in our thinking when it comes to our careers. Either we work for a company or for ourselves. We accept an assignment or we don’t. Well, what if it were AB? Today, flexible work opportunities abound. There are many more ways to create the ideal work environment if you are willing to live in a gray zone. Are you choosing milk or dark, or are you willing to let yourself have both?
6. Measuring self worth by net worth.
Most of us measure the value of our career by how much we earn. And we measure others this way too. It’s part of our social construct – and since we all have money as a common element of our jobs, it’s an easy measure to use. We rarely look at how our work fuels our spirit or bolsters our values or gives us energy or freedom or confidence. If you were to evaluate your career by other measures – with a formula that combines the monetary elements with the factors that bring you joy – your new lens would open up a world of different career opportunities. Of course, you would have to come up with your own formula, and you would have to stop comparing yourself to the Joneses.
7. Being unwilling to forfeit an investment.
You went to college for eight years to become a surgeon. You spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless hours to graduate at the top of class. You endured multiple 36-hour shifts during residency. You have invested a lot. But if you are truly honest with yourself, you dislike being a surgeon. In fact, you detest it. You might say, “This is my path. I pursued it and invested in it. I can’t throw all that away to pursue something that seems frivolous.” You can easily convince yourself that being a surgeon is not so bad. After all, you have status and money. Isn’t that enough? Not if you’re emotionally bankrupt. Misery generates negative ROI.
8. Putting a deadline on happiness.
I was at a dinner party last week and met some new people. In the United States, when we’re getting to know people, we usually ask them what they do. One incredible woman said, “Well, I’m a lawyer, but if I had to do it all over again, I would be an interior designer.” Her friend chimed in, saying, “She’s the most creative person I have ever known. She has an eye for space and an uncanny ability to blend colors.” If I had to do it all over again implies that time has run out on pursuing her dreams. False! She knows what she loves, and although she is in her late 50s, she still has a chance to pursue it. Many people are not even in touch with their passions. She knows her one greatest passion but won’t live it, all because of an imaginary expiration date.
Self-deception lies at the heart of these 8 misconceptions. Whenever we try to stifle our true selves – those talents, passions, and traits that make us unique – we find ourselves falling short in some way, even while the paycheck is rising. When you start thinking of your career as a form of self-expression, you can begin enjoying the full benefits package.
8 Reasons Why You’re Not Achieving Your Career Goals- Career Centre Malaysia