Then she began to feel cautious about her getting too comfortable: I am worried I would want to work here for a long time and never learn new things, let alone improve my skills.
She has the point. Many people – already in their 50s or almost in their retirement age – never change job. They only do one thing – their first, and is going to be, their last job – at one place, in the only company they’ve ever worked for. By the time they realised, it’s just too hard to start a new thing again.
Why did they do that in the first place?
Precisely. That’s what Jennifer has anticipated. They are too comfortable, until they are afraid of doing something new in their career-life. They are chained to their one and only role for life!
The next question is – are they happy?
Not all of them. Happiness is very subjective.
Perhaps, the right question would be: Is what they do meaningful? Had they reached their potential – by making use the best of their talents?
A most possible answer would be: Not really. It is only a job, and it helps pay the bills.
That’s right. They see themselves only as “making a living” machine. Talents and knowledge have no place in their working life. To them only money speaks.
Sadly, they’ve missed the boat, as Franklin D. Roosevelt says: Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.
“I am afraid I will be too comfortable. They are too nice”.
There’s nothing wrong being too comfortable. And certainly, it is something to be thankful for to have nice people around the office. Nice people are getting fewer in the world that is too crowded and materialistic. If such thought arises, they can always remind themselves: What would I value most in my life at work?
If they value knowledge and experience, in order to grow, then they must ever-ready to explore and make this as their higher purpose at work. Not necessarily keep changing organisations, but like young sailors on a ship destined to sail on uncharted sea, they must keep their mind open and learning spirit aglow. Those with such a mindset will sense when is the time to grow branches, and nurture their tree of learning.
(Note: I worked for one organisation for more than 15 years, but undertaking roles and projects that required well-rounded skills, in multiple regions, and stationed in three different countries)
The other comment that Jennifer made was: Perhaps, someday, I too will not be able to resist the temptation of pursuing material value.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with that. What makes it unhealthy is that when they start focussing on it and forgetting that material value only last for a time, and worst it never satisfies the mind.
Saint Pope John Paul II counsels young people that through our work we don’t simply make more, instead we become more. We use work to shape us, refine us, help us uncover our gifts, and make us a better person day by day (Andreas Widmar, The Pope and The CEO).
Becoming more: Armed with well-rounded skills, opportunity seeks us
Perhaps young professionals in their blooming youth argue: But I need more (and more money), my needs (and wants) are increasing!
Sure thing! In this enticing, consumerist world – who isn’t untouched by such temptation?
Still, don’t be easily provoked by it. Be wise in making the decision and don’t be deceived. Whenever you can, resist the temptation for changing job just for the sake of more money.
I came to understand this truth from experience: When we learn – especially on-the-job – subjects or skills that are complementing and reinforcing, we acquire well-rounded skills. And when we do the work (no matter how ordinary) that uses these combined skills naturally we will bring outstanding result.
If we do this consistently, and sprinkle that with passion, honesty, and integrity – I bet you – giving our best is not hard at all. In fact, it’s our second nature, and it becomes our “hallmark”.
In this hyperconnected world, it’s not impossible that the outstanding works we constantly do spread out among our associates in our industry. If that happens, we don’t really need to seek opportunity. Opportunity seeks us! Along with it, usually, is a career advancement topped with sweet incentive.
In an inexperienced mind another question might arise: How would I know, I do the right thing?
Well, I am not trained to read someone’s future.
But one way to do this is, by questioning oneself: Would I be more if I take that job, or “only” to make more?
However, if the answer is to be more and also to make more – then this really is a rare case when someone out there has truly valued your expertise, therefore offered you something that you deserved to receive.
If so, what are you waiting for? Go and get it!
But again, none can predict a happy ending. I too once upon a time made this choice. Though not entirely a sad ending but it was a short-lived journey.
Did I regret it? No. Because not so much that I made more, but I became more (than I thought I could be). How? It made me see a path before me and gave me a courage to respond to a long overdue call: doing a consulting work -- to serve others and help them uncover their hidden potential. And that’s both precious and meaningful.
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