Habit isn't insanity. Einstein is famously said to have defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." Habit, in contrast, is doing the same thing over and over again and being satisfied with the same result. We stand still while opportunities slip past us.
In the Job Market
Habit can slip into any job search that goes on for awhile. But ask yourself this: even if you're doing everything the experts suggest - posting your profile on LinkedIn, checking the jobs advertised on select employment sites and networking with peers - does it make any sense to keep repeating those actions when not a single employer has contacted you? Sure, a job search requires persistence, but that trait can also leave you on the outside looking in if it's overdone.
An effective job search benefits as much from flexibility as it is does from sticking to a plan. Give your campaign some time to work, of course, but don't hesitate to make changes when all you hear for months on end is the sound of silence.
What should you do? Look for possible weaknesses that you can shore up and for new tactics that might set you apart in the job market. For example, ask yourself these questions:
- Is your resume as well written as it needs to be to highlight your potential contribution to an employer?
- Are you overly dependent on the Web and ignoring opportunities to meet colleagues in the real world?
- Would taking a course fill a skills gap and strengthen your credentials?
- Have you taken the initiative to demonstrate your expertise by writing for professional publications and blogs?
On the Job
Habit can also slip into the way you work, especially if you've been in the same job for awhile. But ask yourself this: even if you feel relatively comfortable and secure - doing what's expected, getting along with your coworkers, receiving the occasional pat on the back from your boss - does it make any sense to keep toiling away when the job seems less and less interesting and rewarding with each passing day? Sure, knowing the ropes and having a steady paycheck are important, but they can morph into complaisance and set you up for that bolt out of the blue called a layoff.
A successful career needs to be reset from time-to-time to ensure it remains healthy and able to support you, especially in today's fast morphing workplace. Don't change for change's sake, of course, but take the initiative when necessary to keep your work fresh and challenging.
What changes can you make?
- Ask your boss to expand your role by giving you more responsibilities or by assigning you to an ad hoc work group tackling an important project for your employer. Not every boss will do it and not every employer will permit it, but when you're able, recast your job by "coloring outside the lines" - it will increase both your satisfaction at work and your value to your employer.
- Seek a more challenging job with your current employer. Many organizations actually prefer to fill vacancies with internal candidates as they know exactly what they're getting with such a "new" hire. Some bosses may try to prevent such a move as it will create an opening in their unit, but many others are happy to see their subordinates grow and will do what they can to support you.
- Take a more rewarding position with a different employer. The best time to look for a new job is when you've already got one as that removes the pressure to accept the first offer that comes along. It's not being "disloyal" to your current employer so long as you continue to deliver quality work on-the-job, and it's not likely to create hard feelings so long as you make the change in a professional way.
Thanks for reading,
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