If you are one of those people who like the job you do, the organisation you work for and the people you work with, then you should be congratulated on managing your career well or, perhaps being lucky, or probably some combination of the two.
Either way, to enjoy your work is a blessing and you want to keep it this way. However, continuing to navigate your career into calm and peaceful waters and away from too much turbulence and chop, can be complex. It’s not something that happens for you (at least not for long) – you need to be in charge. Just like sailing a boat for optimum performance and enjoyment it requires your vigilance and attention. You need to be nimble and alert; prepared to change and be flexible; and able to create, identify and slip into opportunities as they appear.
It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.
Here are six tips to help you keep you fresh, relevant and alive in your job:
- Monitor you level of engagement and interest in your work. If it’s lagging, then identify why. It could be that there is a misfit developing between your values and the job. Perhaps your skills are not developing or workplace relationships are souring. Once you’ve done some diagnostic work, be pro-active about making some changes.
- Have regular conversations with your manager, clients and other key people about your career, so they know how you are tracking. You could discuss potential changes to your work and how you want to contribute in the future.
- Pay attention to changes occurring in the organisation and industry so you know what big decisions are being made and how they may impact you and those around you. This enables you to have the informed conversations with key personnel you need to in order to position yourself well.
- Get noticed for the right reasons by turning up at work as positive, engaged and as outcome- focussed as possible. Avoid petty office politics and focus on what you want to achieve and what you are paid to deliver.
- Make positive workplace relationships your highest priority. The most common reason for things going sour at work is a breakdown in relationships.
- Play to your strengths and always look to learn more. Leverage your skills to ensure you produce good work and always be alert to opportunities for skill development. This will improve both your enjoyment of your current job and your future employability.
Of course there will likely come a time when you will leave the job you have liked so much. Things change and the time comes to look for new opportunities over the horizon. In a post I wrote last year about deciding to leave your job I emphasised the dangers of over-extending your stay in any particular job, and that knowing when and how to leave is as important as finding a new job and being successful in it. Having something to look forward to is always a good thing.
In the meantime however, if you have sailed your career into a safe and vibrant port, then good on you! Stick with it and grow within it, ever alert to those sudden gusts of wind that may threaten to blow you off course.