Blocking Your Career Progress 9 Lies You Tell Yourself
Demotivation is around us – breathing and stalking our very lives. In fact, when it comes to career progress, we are our own worst enemy.
We fill ourselves with career lies and stall any indication of progress causing us to experience career stagnation.
A career lie is something we begin to believe due to the negative emotions that manifest within our minds.
Am I good enough for the job?
Maybe it’s not the right time to accept this promotion?
I simply can’t quit my job, what if I don’t find any work for years?
Do these thoughts seem familiar? If so, read on to find out how to exercise these career demonizing lies that we live with.
THE WARNING SIGNS THAT DEMONSTRATE YOU MIGHT BE LIVING A CAREER LIE
A career lie usually manifests itself due to lack of confidence or fear of failing.
While it’s normal to feel nervous before taking a big step in your career, sometimes the nervousness causes us to tip over and land in a negative zone.
In this space, we bombard our mind with untrue statements that make the situation scarier than it is.
For example, you’ve been given the good news of being promoted as the leader of your project team.
While most people would consider themselves fortunate to be in your shoes, your thoughts go something like – “What if my co-workers hate me for my new leadership role?” or “Am I even ready to take on such a big commitment?”
As you can tell, your mind begins creating reasons to step away from your new advancement.
In the end, if you decide to decline your promotion, you may never receive the chance to advance further in your career due to the treachery that is being played out in your mind.
Let’s venture further and find out the 3 reasons on why working individuals live career lies.
1. You’ve Got No Life Outside Work
It’s a great feeling to respond – “ I am committed and married to my work” to your friends and family during a get-together.
It makes us feel important and we feel that people perceive us positively for being a workaholic.
Take a deep breath, pause and realize just how many birthdays you’ve missed, how many family gatherings you haven’t attended in the past few years.
When was the last time you had a campfire with your family?
When was the last time you were seen without a business suit on?
It’s great that you’re in love with your job but having a balance between work and personal life gives you the satisfaction of enjoying a perfect work/life balance.
When you’re constantly working, you don’t have the time to pause and think if you’ve made the right career decisions.
Having a hobby outside work or spending time by yourself in quiet meditation separates you from your work and gives you time to contemplate whether you’re making the right career choices or not.
2. What You Think Doesn’t Match with Your Actions
Have you ever had that moment when you’ve got the perfect speech all decked out in your mind that makes you sound like a literary genius?
What happens when you actually write down the speech or say it out loud to a friend? Somehow it just doesn’t seem as inspirational as it was when you felt it in your head.
This is what happens when our emotions don’t align with our actions.
What this means is, there isn’t any passion behind your work, but you continue to do your daily tasks as a means of survival.
Emotion builds passion and without emotion to your work, you are living a career lie that you feed yourself every day.
Unfortunately, it’s extremely far away from the truth.
Aligning yourself with a passion provides you with insight on whether you’re on a planned career path or simply looking for a way to make ends meet.
3. You’re Being Extremely Dishonest
Human beings are deceptive creatures.
We lie, cheat, and even steal to make it up the elusive success ladder.
We get carried away at achieving success, that we don’t pause to see the damage that we’ve done along the way – to our peers, to our family, and most importantly to our own self-being.
While a few white lies along our professional career don’t necessarily make us the antagonist of our story, it begins to form an addiction if we aren’t careful.
The addiction that it’s okay to lie in order to lead a comfortable life.
If you find yourself lying more than usual or moving towards a darker path, it might be time to step back and evaluate your career choices.
Being a valuable and accountable member of your company comes with several perks.
Your boss doesn’t need to have second thoughts about trusting you with a key prospect of the company. Something that is out of reach to deceitful individuals.
Now that you’ve found yourself living a career lie, mentally you begin to make up doubts about yourself which manifest into statements that you live by.
The following 8 statements are some of the most popular careers lies that professionals tell themselves.
8 LIES THAT YOUR FEED YOURSELF FROM IMPROVING YOUR CAREER
Lie #1: “There is no job out there for me”
Sitting behind your 9-to-5 cubicle, one fine day you ponder – what exactly am I doing with my life?
In fact, you convince yourself that you’ve worked far too long in a job that doesn’t offer any real benefit other than a financial income to run the cogwheels of your life.
That’s when you decide to look for careers that pique your interest.
Just when you’ve had the most profound moment of your life, an inner voice from your mind speaks out to you and says –
“But what if there are no jobs out there for you?”
What if you end up unemployed and on the streets after quitting your current job?
After all, the unemployment rates are only rising, and you should consider yourself lucky to be stuck with a job.
Suddenly, you’ve snapped back to reality and realize that if you quit your job now, you’d be staring down at ‘No Vacancy’ signs all your life.
You almost slap yourself silly for considering a foolish concept like a career change and go back to being comfortable in your boring life in the confines of your cubicle.
Unemployment rates are always plunging rock bottom and rising back up the next year. This has nothing to do with your career path.
If you’ve selected a professional field that still has demands in the current job market, then you’re certainly getting hired if you possess the right skills.
And why won’t you with the perfect blend of passion and hard work, you’ll certainly double your efforts when compared to your current monotonous job.
Lie #2: “I’ll never quit my job even if I hate it, the pay is just too good”
“Greed is not a financial issue. It’s a heart issue” – ‘Andy Stanley’
One career ambush that professionals never think of shaking off is the lure of money.
Let’s take the following conversation for example.
Mark: “Hey, Jennifer, a position for senior sales manager opened up in our company, isn’t that your dream job?”
Jennifer: “Yes but my company pays me well. So, I’ll pass. Thanks.”
Mark: “Do you love your job though?”
Jennifer: “Not that it matters but no. I can’t leave as I have bills to pay.”
Mark: “But you get to enjoy a job for a 10% pay cut compared to your current pay. You’ll earn much more in a few years as we’ve got an excellent expansion structure in place.”
Jennifer: “Thanks for the vouch, Mark. But money is currently my priority and I don’t see myself changing that aspect.”
In the above conversation, Jennifer gave up her dream job to work in a company for a 10% increase in pay.
The real world sees many such amazing opportunities lost due to individuals being financially stubborn to make any sort of sacrifice.
As an employee, you exchange your time for the growth of someone else’s company in which you share no interests with.
However, if you were to share interests with the company, you get to learn knowledge and enjoy the process. It opens plenty of opportunities in a field that you’re highly passionate about.
And who knows, you might very well start up your own company with the same beliefs that you’ve learned.
Which is certainly impossible to do if you don’t share the passion in working for one.
Lie #3: “I am irreplaceable”
Your boss once told you that you’re an irreplaceable asset for the company. And that’s great.
However, it’s pure arrogance if you think that you can’t be replaced in a literal sense even if you’ve got excellent achievements in the past to prove.
Being overconfident in the business world is a recipe for disaster. You’ll earn the wrath of your coworkers and you might also step on a few toes among the senior management.
The worse part about this career lie is that there’s no way to get past this mindset other than the cold hard truth – you are overestimating your worth.
Remember, we are all humans and as much as we’d like to fly around the sun like a certain superhero, it’s an impossible feat. And when things are impossible, it’s best to let go of it.
There are always men and women that can shatter your ego and make you feel like a lost child in terms of performance.
The chain never ends.
Remember even the most successful people on the planet have confessed to being unable to be great at every operation in their company.
That’s why they hire professionals and work with a team to get the best out of their company.
Team collaboration is what makes you great as an employee and without teamwork, an individual by himself is never too talented to run the company by himself.
Lie #4: “I don’t need to put all my skills on my resume, just the important bits”
Have you heard of the famous phrase – “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”?
If we go by this quote, then what you deem unworthy in your resume might be invaluable for the company you’re applying for.
Let’s say you’re applying for a job as a project manager.
You decide that you’d highlight the achievements that are near to your job role and skip anything irrelevant such as achievements in public speaking and communication.
The company you are applying for prioritizes excellent communication and public speaking skills as a criterion to select candidates.
They find your job achievements impressive but realize you don’t have great communication skills since you haven’t listed them.
And now you’ve been shortlisted among the top candidates, but one of the other candidates decides to list ‘public speaking’ as the strongest link in their resume.
While the company finds you talented at your job role, they’d rather go with a multi-talented employee with great communication skills who’s good at his job role as well.
You lost a job because you didn’t bother to list out your strongest features.
Yes, a cluttered resume is the single most grotesque paper for an interviewer to find his hands on.
At the same time, it’s necessary to put things that are vital to your job selection on the resume.
It’s completely fine to spare your resume from a few achievements that you’ve earned during your academic and university level like sports.
However, important soft skills such as leadership, communication, teamwork, problem-solving, interpersonal skills, etc. are critical to a recruitment process and while they don’t necessarily play an important role in your job category, it provides flexibility for the company to use your soft skills in various areas.
Lie #5: “I’ll keep job hopping till I find my dream job”
Do you find yourself leaving a job every year to gain experience in a new company?
While job hopping does have a few temporary perks such as exposure to other businesses and experience in tackling various projects and building a professional network in a short time.
These advantages are temporary. A professional that sticks to a company is likely to encounter all these advantages as he or she works with more advanced projects but at a slower pace.
However, the value that a long-term employee brings to the table is enormous when compared to a job hopper.
Here are some of them.
- Extreme loyalty and most valuable during recruitment process
- Advanced job growth in the form of promotions not available to job hoppers
- Reliability among senior management to complete high-end projects and therefore build high-quality networking
As earlier said, job hoppers gain an increased advantage during the first two or three years of their professional life.
Once this tenure has passed, companies don’t take job hoppers seriously and this affects their selection process greatly.
Companies don’t like to see the resume of an employee that has worked with several companies in a short span of time.
This conveys that the companies have either fired him or the job hopper doesn’t stay long enough to demonstrate loyalty.
Strike the right balance and switch jobs after a time frame (E.g. – 2 to 3 years). With this, you’ll avoid job stagnation and job hopping altogether.
Lie #6: “A college degree will guarantee me a job”
An age-old concept that was shared among the youth in the ’70s and ’80s seems to have become a mainstream fact to the young graduates of today.
Walking out of a university in your traditional black graduation gown armed with your degree in one hand. The emotions are flying, and you feel on top of the world.
After all, you’re going to run down all those illiterate candidates in job interviews that threaten to take your job position.
You did spend 3 to 4 years of hard work paying student loans and studying long hours into the night to be entitled to a job.
Unfortunately, prior to the digital age, a degree would be the hot selling point for a job requirement. In today’s world, a degree doesn’t hold the same value as it once did.
That’s not to say that a college education is completely worthless. No.
A college education provides you with all the necessary knowledge to equip yourself and lead a professional life.
However, with the knowledge available through many mediums and with companies prioritizing talent over educational qualifications, a degree no longer guarantees a job.
On the bright side, a college degree combined with talent is a winning combination for companies and it still holds valuable merit in the recruitment process.
Lie #7: “If all else fails, I could always open my own business”
Almost every employee working in a company has at some point decided to start their own business if things don’t work out.
They think that owning a business gives them a flexible time frame, they gain massive profits and they get to be the boss and show the world how it’s done.
That isn’t what a business is about.
A business requires you to slog harder in the first few years of inception.
The entrepreneurs that you see on television in impeccably tailored suits sitting in their limos and riding with a champagne bottle in one hand, didn’t get their success overnight.
It took countless nights of burning the midnight oil and the dark and damp version of the story is usually cut out when demonstrating their current wealth.
Here is a reality check for all employees with a plan to start their own business.
Answer the following questions with a simple YES or NO to see if you’re ready to start a business.
- Do you have any leadership skills?
- Have you done any research on the type of budget it takes to start a business?
- Have you fully researched the type of business you’d like to start?
- Have you spent time talking to the experts in your business field?
- Do you have finances to take care of you when your business fails?
- Are you motivated to work every day without the mindset of an employee (9-to-5)?
- Do you have 2-years of financial revenue to run the business?
- Are you the only person living off your income?
If you’ve got more than 2 NO’s, it’s best to stop the fantasy of owning a business now until you’ve equipped yourself with the right knowledge.
Quitting your day job to start a business might seem easy but once the debts start to rack up and you find yourself running low on finances, you’ll learn to appreciate the fact that employment brings in steady income while a business requires patience and there’s no guarantee of success.
Lie #8: “My Hard work will Eventually Pay Off”
Undoubtedly, hard work does pay off.
But before we set off our internal fireworks – ask yourself this question – if hard work meant wealth and success, then why aren’t the circus performers replacing Warren Buffet in Forbes’s wealthiest list?
That’s because hard work by itself doesn’t always yield success. So how are successful people selling their autobiographies of success stories that took them from rags to riches?
Simple, they did work hard to get out of poverty but in order to be successful, they applied innovation and made the best out of a situation.
Let’s look at a few success stories to get the point across.
- When Steve Jobs launched the iPod and revolutionized the music industry, the only other nearest competitor was the Sony Walkman. It was the size of a brick and required cassettes to be replaced. The iPod stored thousands of songs and could fit in a pocket.
- Jeff Bezos created Amazon at a time when online marketplaces were considered a cesspool of fraudulent activity and a way to lose your credit card information to hackers. Amazon was built with customer satisfaction in mind and to provide them with authentic products that could easily be returned if they weren’t satisfied.
- Colonel Harland Sanders added a secret recipe that he didn’t share and started his own franchise of fried chicken with his own recipe and that became a global phenomenon to this day known as KFC.
If Steve Jobs simply competed with Sony and released a prettier brick like the Walkman, the success wouldn’t be catastrophic like it did with the iPod.
Similarly, if Jeff Bezos made just another online marketplace, he’d run into the same problems that plagued all the other ones.
If Colonel Sanders sold his recipe to a big brand, KFC would never have seen light.
Success doesn’t just come with hard work, but it requires innovation and intelligence by an owner.
So, while hard work is the road to success, innovation is the bicycle to ride on that road.
CONCLUDING THOUGHTS ON AVOIDING CAREER LIES
The biggest lie starts from inside your mind. This unverified piece of information that has no authenticity, to begin with, is given priority by you and then it begins to take over the critical aspects of your life.
Utilize knowledge to verify if your thoughts are indeed true and not just a figment of your imagination.
Speak to experts when in doubt and don’t just stick to one single opinion all your life.
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