When Work isn’t a Four-Letter Word
On average, every year in the United States, we work nearly nine full weeks (350 hours) LONGER per year than our peers in Western Europe do. While this may or may not be acceptable, here in the “land of opportunity,” it is just a fact. We work hard. Even with the highest levels of unemployment we’ve seen in decades, we still work hard – perhaps harder than ever, in fact.
The question we face is usually two fold: 1. How do we weave in the REST of our lives successfully and not work ourselves to death; and 2. How do we create careers that we love enough to be involved in them from sun up to sun down, sometimes six or seven days a week?
The balancing act between work and life is not easy. As we achieve more and more, we must work harder and harder to the wheels turning. There are bills to pay, kids to raise, obligations to meet – and oh yes, retirement to stock up for. So the second of the two questions, creating a career we love, is more likely to be the place we find our power.
To begin with, we need to literally stop where we are and ask the difficult questions: “Am I happy?” “Is my career fulfilling?” “Do I see a future with my company?” If even one of those answers is no, we must begin our job search immediately – even if it’s within our current company. Now that doesn’t mean that you run out and announce from the hilltops that you need a new challenge – what it DOES mean is that you start to listen differently. Has your manager spoken about new initiatives that you might be perfect to lead or support? Is your best friend’s company hiring new staff after the holidays? When we listen more intently, it is surprising the opportunities that simply appear around us.
The next thing to do is to establish a game plan. If you love what you do, but you don’t see a future with your corporation, try a different industry. While some areas are definitely suffering the effects of the recession – believe it or not, others are thriving. And the smartest employers know that their number one recourse is their HUMAN resource.
But what about having to stop and admit that your career path didn’t quite go the way you had envisioned. That you started out as an administrator or mid-level manager, and you never quite found your way to the next level. Oh sure, you’re highly sought after and make a great living, but it just isn’t where you wanted to spend your lifetime. This one is a little trickier, and it might take the skills of a great Career Coach to help you set up an achievable set of goals and a realistic timetable. But make no mistake, it is YOUR life. You absolutely get to change your mind and course correct whenever you want.
And when you do find that dream job, or the perfect path to what you wanted to be when you grew up, believe me, work stops being a four-letter word, and literally becomes a labor of love.
“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between work and play, labor and leisure, mind and body, education and recreation, love and religion. The master hardly knows which is which. The master simply pursues the vision of excellence in whatever there is to do, leaving others to decide whether it is work or play. To the master, it is like always doing both.” – Zen Proverb
CEIC, CPBA, CPCC, CPC, CTS, CSS and all-around GSP (Great Staffing Partner)!
President of Adam Personnel, Inc.
Phone: 212 557-9150 ext. 208