How are you feeling about your job and your career?
Finding it boring and unfulfilling? As your organization has cut costs and corners, do you have more, but unfortunately, less rewarding work? Are you back to doing things you’ve already accomplished earlier in your career because you’re the only one left who has done them before? Are the new areas you’ve been stretched to cover not providing the same mental stimulation you enjoy from working with talents closer to your interests?
A variety of people have been raising these issues with me lately. Individuals ranging from those early in their careers to senior executives who you’d think would be nosing around retirement as a natural next step are voicing the same sentiment: “What I’m doing right now doesn’t provide the mental stimulation I want in my career, but I don’t know what should be next.”
My recommendation to each person has been to look at their current organization as essentially the first investor in what’s next in a career that has more mental stimulation, but potentially less definition.
Most effectively using your current employer as an investor depends upon cutting back on living expenses, maximizing a salary’s (hopefully) steady cash flow as a financial investment in the future, and applying the extra mental energy not drained by your job to design your intended next career steps.
This sentiment was echoed in a presentation I saw by Seth Godin recently. He talked about the number of people who ask him what they should do with their careers. His advice is to start something because marketing is essentially free, thanks to the internet.
Godin said that many people follow-up the first question with a second one, “Where do I send my resume?”
These people, he says are missing the point. They’re waiting to be picked when they should, instead, be picking themselves to create what’s next.
Are you ready to pick yourself?
If not, are you getting ready to pick yourself? Here are three steps to get ready if you haven’t started yet:
- Manage your personal finances aggressively
- Explore and document your best talents to use for what’s next
- Get immersed in the new realities of free and its impact on what you might do
Sure, there may be no clear, easy answer to what’s next for you. If you got this far in the post, however, you were obviously looking for more mental stimulation in your career. Well, you just found it!