Sunday, July 14, 2013

Into the Rabbit Hole

Sometimes at the oddest moments we arrive to a realization that would change how we see ourselves and the world.

"People choose the paths that grant them the greatest rewards for the least amount of effort." We encounter this while watching some US TV series one weekend. The serial's episode was about a boss telling one of the characters how she got her job. The job that pays the rent.

Undeniably we apply for a job for the money. A stable income gives us independence, security and some of life's luxuries. We could reason that the more money we have the better convince we experience. Inevitably, it becomes the search for the best pricing offer in the market.

We surely have heard this one too many times. Why would anyone get worked up for a promotion with more responsibilities if I could get into another company that offers a bigger salary? It's always about the money. We go back to the main reason why we submit an application in the first place.

Call center bunnies have different reasons for leaving a company. Some feel that they don't get their monetary satisfaction from base pay salary, commissions or appraisals. Others would kick their boots if they see management was not "pro-agent" or show incompetent leaders either from product/service knowledge or the management style does not complement with them.

Then it's jumping into the next interview to haggle your job offer while trying to avoid questions on the company transfer. Sooner or later we ask ourselves, "What happened?", or worse, waking up after your prime years are long gone. After several years of working, what you have is a job, not a career. In truth, there is nothing wrong with the companies we have been part of, it's the perception of the situations presented to us. Looking at it now, our demands, expectations and rants were all self-serving.

How did we get into job hopping in the first place? It's greed enveloped by need. We want a better apartment, more out-of-town trips, the latest gadgets; a bad ass High Definition, 360-degree, wall mounted television set... The list never ends.

Anyone who doesn't take time to look at where he is and where he wants to be runs the risk of overlooking opportunities, spinning in his tracks and never quite feeling that he has control over his own destiny. Then we arrive to the real question at hand, how do we change this? The answer lies with another question, "What do YOU want?"

Knowing what you want begins with knowing yourself. Give yourself an honest and objective assessment. Talking to your team manager can also help. Try to thoroughly review the experiences that gave you new lessons and acquire skills. Think of life long interests and you will be more likely to have passion with work.

Next, you create your plan. This part has more questions. What kind of responsibilities can you handle? What projects spark your interest? What kind of changes do you want in your program or department? What kind of culture do you want to develop? What kind of people do you want to be with? What work environment would work best for you?

Remember those complex math problems where you figure out the value of X? What did we learn from them? Break them down to smaller, simpler and solvable problems. Goal setting is not any different.

Keep in mind that goals describe the path you'd like to follow. Goals help you focus on where you're heading instead of dragging yourself to work everyday. When setting your personal goals, think of the end result you want. List down the details required to achieve them. Then break down these details into simple and practical actions.

Another look back and we wish we stayed with one company, practice and enhance skills to reach mastery, add and improve competencies, and strategically take advantage of opportunities that will help you climb that corporate ladder

Unlike the constant formulas and equations from our school lessons, life has more variables to offer. It's always best to re-evaluate where you are now and what cards you have and how you want to play them. Five years from now your priorities may have changed and your plans have to adjust to them too. By this time you can see your options and decide the best paths to take.

Prioritize your career before targeting the monetary benefits. Know where you want to go, and chances are you'll get there. Nobody said it will be easy, they just promised it'd be worth it.

Now, are you truly in control of your career? Or are you just floating around like the rest of them?

Make a pact with yourself today to not be defined by your past. Whether you are in operations or support; an agent, a manager or contractor, whatever and wherever you are now is a small step in that long ladder to success.

Sometimes the greatest thing to come out of all your hard work isn't what you get for it, but what you become for it. Better yourself everyday with what you do. Money is just the side effect of keeping your eye on the goal.

Become the person you want and everything else will follow. To borrow the words of Heather Small, "What have you done today to make you feel proud?"

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