Sitting here this morning working at home (I am a Realtor), I turned on the television. One of the all-time great daytime shows was on – The Price is Right! Bob Barker, what a career! What if he had not taken of advantage of the opportunity when it was presented 35 years ago? How did walking through that door of opportunity change his life? I am sure he would have found success in other places but would it have been at the same level? No one really knows the answer to that question. But, we do know the answer to what saying “yes” to that opportunity did for him!
What about you and your career? Have there been opportunities that presented themselves but you refused to “walk through that door?” If so, why not? Is the fear of the unknown such an intense fear that you are frozen in place? Is the comfort level such that you don’t want to upset the apple cart?
Change is something we as humans don’t embrace, at least enthusiastically. Even in your current position are you ever presented with changes to rules or procedures? What is your initial reaction? Are you so set in your ways that adapting to change creates stress? Sometimes change is good. I heard it said once, or maybe read it someplace, that if “you always do what you always done, you will always get what you always got.” There is truth to be found in those words! Is there not a better way to do what you do?
Dissatisfaction with your current situation is a sign that you need to implement some type of change. Perhaps it is only a procedural modification? Perhaps it is a new focus. When things get stagnant we often are suffering from tunnel vision. Opening up to new ideas, new methodologies, is the first step to recovery – recovery from the disease of the stagnant career syndrome.
What are the symptoms of stagnant career syndrome? Some of the symptoms include a lack of enthusiasm, seeing the glass as half empty (pessimism), repetitive processes without positive results and dissatisfied contentment (oxymoron?). These manifestations, when combined, leave you in a state of confusion. Confusion over your future. Confusion over which step to take next.
So how do respond to stagnant career syndrome? First of all, don’t concentrate on failures only. Sure, you should identify the things that are working. They may not be producing results at the level you desire but they are contributing positively to your career goals. You should also identify the things that are not working. Write all of these activities down. When you put the issues on paper the picture will become better focused. Put the goal or objective on paper.
What are some changes that need to be implemented? Perhaps it is something as simple as obtaining additional education or skillsets. Perhaps it is just the environment in which you are operating? Don’t forget that those around you may be the anchor holding your career down? It could be the processes you are doing are appropriate yet the environment does not support your success. Lets say you are a farmer. You have the technique mastered for planting a garden. You know the time of the year to plant, the types of crop your environment favors, how to operate the necessary equipment, all the steps. However, if the soil (environment) is not appropriate for the desired results, nothing will ever develop. If a crop does result from your efforts, it may not produce the greatest harvest for the efforts expended. To maximize the return on the efforts, the farmer simply must plant in the right soil, or modify the soil by way of fertilizers, in which to maximize his return.
After all, this analysis the only modification required my be a change in your environment. Or, a modification in the environment. Time to make a change to your environment? Recognize the situation for what it is and plant your crop in a new soil! You may have no idea how great the harvest will be. Taking advantage of opportunities and resources available may be all that is need to cure this thing – stagnant career syndrome. Good luck and may your harvest be bountiful!