By Josh McAfee
Sometimes comfortable is a bad thing. I find that people who get comfortable in a situation often stop looking for opportunities to grow. They’ll settle into what they do and often settle for less than they should.
If you find yourself in that situation, then you’re capable of doing more. That’s assuming your situation will permit it, of course. Maybe you’re a single parent, you need the flexibility, or you have other reasons. I totally get it. Timing is important.
I’d avoid letting too much time get away from you though. If you’ve been doing the same role for the last few years, then reality is that you could probably do five new things that would be challenging, and fun.
By not doing them, you’re costing yourself significantly not just in growth, but possibly in income too. As your skills increase, so does your earning potential. That could mean making $10,000 – $15,000 more every 2 – 5 years. What would that mean for your future, family, and security?
I’d strongly encourage you to think about how to make sure you’re continuing to grow by asking yourself these four key questions:
- What are your career aspirations?
- What are you exceptionally good at?
- What gives you job satisfaction?
- Where and how do you want to grow?
After you have those answers, it’s important to communicate them with your employer. This should be a welcome conversation that creates further opportunity. By enabling and equipping you to stretch and develop skills, the company is able to leverage that talent for mutual benefit.
Sometimes, the reality is that no matter how much you may want to do something, your current company may not be in a position to accommodate it. It could be that they simply don’t need that skill set, already have those roles filled for the foreseeable future, or have more pressing needs in other areas. If you find that your current employer either doesn’t want that from you or isn’t willing to invest in you, it might be time to consider your options.
Option 1: Job Search
That may look like updating your LinkedIn profile and resume before you start poking around to see what’s out there. Plenty of companies have the ability and vested interest in helping you grow and will pay you accordingly. The key is knowing what you want from a future employer and communicating that subtly through your LinkedIn profile and with recruiters.
Option 2: Be Your Own Boss
It could also be a good opportunity to start something. Don’t be shy about becoming an entrepreneur or having a side hustle. This would not only enable you to capitalize on your talents, but rapidly grow extremely valuable skill sets.
Option 3: Seek Training
You could still increase your skills, even if your current employer isn’t supporting it. There’s a wide variety of education options available, depending on what areas you’re interested in and the kind of position you’re aiming for. Of course there are easily accessible and schedule-friendly online degrees you can earn, but remember to explore workshops, internships, mentorships, books, and practice. Anything could fit into your off time, if you’re motivated.
The bottom line is that we’re all capable of great things.
The only real question is if we’re willing to put the effort and work into making it happen. I really encourage you to think about where you’re at in your career and where you want to go with it. Have that conversation with your employer to set expectations, goals, and get a commitment from them on helping you accomplish what you’re capable of with the understanding that you want to focus on doing the things that add the most value.
Grow as much as you can with the company you’re with, but be sure it’s an environment that continues to take you where you want to be. If you don’t, the only person you’re hurting is yourself. You’ll potentially cost yourself personally, professionally, and financially.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people who’ve made a career change say they wished they’d done that sooner.
I also can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard leaders say “I wish that they’d shared what they wanted or needed. We would have loved to make that investment in them. I just didn’t know!!!”
Josh McAfee is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Humans Doing. With over 26 years of recruiting and team-building experience, Josh has worked with startups, SMBs, and large companies to determine hiring needs, develop our recruiting strategies and processes, and connect top talent to fuel growth. In 2021, he became a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author with his book Measure Up: Mastering Your Career Search Like a Boss.
Humans Doing is an expert team of highly skilled recruiters specializing in filling critical tech and leadership positions for growing companies. Our greatest measure of success is the success of our clients and the candidates we place with them. We help people make great hiring and career decisions. Our team is ready to partner with you to find the right people for the right roles.