“Wait a minute”, I hear you say, “I haven’t got a flat tyre. And anyway, what’s that got to do with my career?”
Stay with me on this one, it’s a good analogy.
Imagine your career is going well. You enjoy the work, you love the people, you like the organisation. Because of that it allows you to do what you want outside of work without continually thinking about what needs doing back at work. In fact, everything is really good for you right now. It’s a bit like when your bike tyres are fully inflated and your bike just rolls along effortlessly. You just have to steer.
But! Oh no! You’ve got a flat tyre. What happens then? The bike slows down and maybe stops altogether. At the very least it's hard to steer where you want it to go and it’s a lot of effort to make any forward movement. There are a number of ways this can play out in your career.
Your career has a definite flat tyre here.
A lot of people I work with are in this situation. They have reached a certain level and the next logical step is upwards, but they just don’t have the enthusiasm any more for what they are doing.
I’m not talking self-sabotage here when I say self-inflicted. I’m simply saying that for a lot of people they just feel flat about their career. They’ve run out of steam and don’t have the passion they used to have (if they had it at all). The thought of another "X" years (insert your own figure here) doing the same is quite frankly depressing.
They say things like “there must be more than this”. Sometimes their partner, or even children, comment that they seem to be fed up all the time.
A lot of people stay in that situation for years (just look up statistics on how many people actually like their job). Some choose to do something about it.
A good starting point is to work out, in the context of your whole life, how your career fits in and locate some immediate actions to start shifting things. This workbook will help you navigate this - download now.
A lot of people experience this after returning to work after sabbaticals or after having time off to look after young children.
Suddenly they find that they seem to be being overlooked for the promotions that would have been on the cards before they left. Or it may be that they’ve lost some confidence to go for that next job. Or they’ve simply fallen out of love with the organisation or the job because their values have changed, or the organisation has changed in itself, and they no longer look forward to coming to work.
I worked with someone recently who returned after having some time off. She said that she seemed to be constantly "under pressure" to do things outside of her skillset and role. She felt like nothing was ever good enough and had, in fact, lost most of her confidence.
I helped her to redefine herself and recognise not just all of the skills she has, but those that are important for her. Luckily she was able to see exactly where and why her current role and organisation wasn’t right for her and why she was responding to it the way she way.
With her new found confidence she went to the job market seeking only roles that suited her. She has done brilliantly and her efforts have paid off, she is now in a leadership role she loves and is thriving in.
When this happens, you don’t seem to get time to stop and think. You’re often regularly working long hours. That could be at the office at some point, but right now, and perhaps more often in the future, it is at home.
Sometimes you need a reality check to help you realise that it is time for action. For some, and it happened to me once upon a time, the reality check is an illness or breakdown of some sort.
For others, it’s a tool like the one I have created for you here - download now - which will help you understand whether you’ve got the balance right for yourself, taking into account your career in the contexts of your whole life.
If you then need to take action, NOW is the time to do that, and you can simply start with the above free resource. Don’t wait until you hate your job, get ill, or your family forget you because you’re always at work!
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