My father-in-law told me once that Fridays were his favorite day of the week. He loved the 5:00 feeling of quitting time. Then Saturday would come and the euphoria would go, damn, only one more day and a wakeup till Monday. Sundays sucked; he found himself filled with dread, for Monday was inexorability coming.
Some jobs are like that.
Just like that pair of shoes you bought that looked so classy at first sight, but by day’s end they killed your feet. But they were expensive, so you sucked it up and wore them anyway, hoping they would get broken in enough that they would be eventually comfortable. But they never fit right.
Some careers are like that too.
I’ve had jobs that fit me like a fine custom leather glove and some, that no matter what I did, ever felt comfortable. I’d ask myself, what the hell was wrong with you? Other people are happy here. Why not you? Shut up and bloom where you’re planted for god’s sake.Oddly enough it was my fault, not because I somehow failed, but most times because I failed to ask whether or not my choice was congruent with my strengths and preferences.
Endurance is not the key to happiness. According to Dr. Beverly Potter that route leads to job burnout.
And sometimes we get so busy enduring that we don’t seem to learn
In order to live a successful and satisfying work/career life Self Knowledge and Self Management are the key.
When the great and powerful OZ handed out the rewards to Dorothy and her gang for offing the Wicked Witch, he awarded brains, courage and a heart. If I had been on her crew and assuming I wouldn’t have run away crying, (flying monkeys are scary), I would have chosen Self-Knowledge… Alas, I wasn’t chosen to be on her team, so I had to acquire that info the hard way.
I admit there’s on unkind voice inside of me that suggests that I should have asked for brains because I have made some really dumb choices in my life, and to make matters worse repeated the same mistake.
If you’ve been around for a while, you won’t be surprised to hear that many of my bad choices came from being promoted. More money, more prestige and more perks, who turns those down? Turns out that I should have. I’m fantastic at a lot of things, but management is not one of them. I’m adequate at it, but being only adequate tends to keep me up at night.
Note to self…Follow these Street Smart Rules:
Learn to say NO!
I’ve found it’s as important, maybe more important to know when to say no instead of yes to an opportunity.
Learn what you’re good at.
This might seem a no-brainer, but lots of people have no clue. What you’re good is a combination of strengths and skills that make you valuable. (And most of the time makes you happy and fulfilled).
Allow for weaknesses but don’t dwell on them.
Contrary to the suggestions you received from your last performance review, it’s much more efficient to build on your strengths, rather than spend lots of time trying to correct your weaknesses. One of my weaknesses is that I’m lousy at management. I could spend lots of my time striving to be better at it, but I finally admitted to myself that I have no interest managing other people and got on with improving myself in other areas.
Don’t let bad habits get in your way
People confuse bad habits with weaknesses. The fact that I can’t throw a 90 mile an hour fast ball is a weakness if I plan to play professional baseball. The fact that I’m always late for games is a bad habit. Bad habits are a choice, weaknesses aren’t. Same goes for being unorganized, sloppy, impolite, negative, angry etc. etc. If things like these get in the way, change them. (Get help if you need too.)
People process information differently (learn how you do!)
I’ve worked with people who need to see an idea in writing before they can fully understand it. I’m the opposite, I need to brainstorm verbally. Somehow that lets me take leaps of logic toward solutions. That doesn’t mean the guy I’m trying to sell an idea is stupid or bored when I see his eyes glaze over when I try to explain it. The same thing happens when the shoe is on the other foot and someone hands me a ten page written report and expects me to understand all the nuances of the situation. When you understand this you can eliminate a lot of interpersonal friction on the job. You’ll find yourself becoming more effective as well.
Understand your preferred work environment.
Some people perform better when their left alone to do their job, others work best when they’re part of a team.
When the whole telecommute idea came into its own, quite a few people found themselves less productive than if they were in a busy office (I’m one of them.)
Strive to be a decent human being.
Stay aloof from office politics. Try not to gossip, back bite or downgrade others. This is something we all should have learned in kindergarten but in the emotional hothouse of a company’s departmental rivalry it’s a national sport. I confess I was a major player, until I watched how a woman who I greatly respected behaved. A consummate professional, she never gossiped, she moved through the day minding her own business with kindness and good cheer. Since then I’ve tried to make it a habit to do the same and given myself the gift of a positive attitude.
I’m sure if you look back at your work life you can come up with others, some more important than others. But I’d be willing to bet that you’ve had situations when you ignored your preferences and paid the price!
This is what self management is all about….
Give yourself permission to Go with your Flow.