I’ve always enjoyed the classic, “A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens. As most people know, it is a story that examines the life of a miserly man, Ebenezer Scrooge. With the help of the supernatural, he looks at his past, present, and future, which in turn helps him decide to change his life from a selfish person to a more generous man.
So, what does this story have to do with employment? I think many people don’t pause enough in life to assess their career. Most of us spend more of our waking hours at work than at home. But I’ve noticed from numerous conversations that very few have a plan for their careers. This week I’d like to look at the past, present and future in regards to employment and hopefully encourage you to examine your own story to see what changes may need to happen.
The past- Bah Humbug! Reflecting on the past can be a challenge for a lot of people, and often comes with pain and regret. Many people who have been let go from a job have a tough time dealing with this appropriately. Emotions range from shock, anger, depression, embarrassment, or all of the above. Although painful and difficult as it may be, the initial grieving can be a healthy way to process things. The key though is to start to move forward as soon as possible and not get caught up dwelling on what you no longer can control. Whether it was your fault or not that caused the job loss, it is now in the past. Don’t spend your time over-analyzing the situation. You can’t change what happened, but you can learn from it and use it to shape a more positive situation moving forward.
The present- One of my favorite sayings is “You’ll someday be what you’re now becoming.”
The important thing here is to proactively live in the present. Unfortunately, too many people passively go through each day without a game plan for their careers. Days become weeks, and weeks become years, and many become frustrated that they’re not finding any fulfillment from their employment. Proactively living in the present means that you’re trying to get better every day at your chosen field of work. This means continuing to improve on your skills and relationships. Passively living in the present means that you simply go through the motions and just feel lucky to have a job and hope not to lose it. While things aren’t always going to go smoothly, those that have a plan will be able to recognize when things need to be tweaked and can make the necessary adjustments.
The future- Are you genuinely excited about your employment future? If not, it may be time for you to start taking steps and working towards a career that you would be better suited for. Being unemployed, underemployed, or unhappily employed are not permanent situations unless you allow them to be. It does take time, effort, sacrifice, and planning, but is worth it. I strongly believe each person has unique gifts and talents to offer. It is important to take the time to identify these and then put together a plan for how you can make a living by following your passions and interests. More importantly, you’ll make a life, too.
Learn from the past, live intentionally in the present, and look forward to the future.