When did you last take a career risk?  Is it time?

Have you ever heard the expression, “Well, you can’t have everything…”

I hear it again and again, and it makes me a little sad. Sure, I know I can’t have everything. Most mature people know that sometimes compromises have to be made. It can even be smart to make compromises.

What makes me sad though, what makes me want to help, is when I talk to people who are making compromises that don’t serve them. Or when I hear my clients rationalize choices that they would make differently if they weren’t afraid, or if they weren’t waaaaay overestimating the risk involved.

What’s the Career Risk of “Good Enough”?

Why does this bother me so much? Because, from my own experience, I know that “good enough” is as dangerous a gamble – especially in a career – as that risk you don’t want to take.

I stayed in a “good enough” job for too long. “You can’t have everything” became a mantra for the days when yet another compromise I had made hit me square in the face demanding my attention.

Commute to long? Well, you can’t have everything. Pay too low? Yes, but where else could I get the flexibility? Not growing and challenged? I like being very good at my job, who needs the steep learning curve of a new job? Obnoxious co-workers? There are difficult people everywhere.

Does this sound familiar?

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These are just some of the things I hear from people who are considering a job change. Many of them will never take that leap. Why not? Because it is hard and causes us to revisit who we are, what we want, and what it will take to make a change.

We all want to be in a job that’s a good fit – that combination of activities we are good at and enjoy, with a salary and benefits that meet our needs, and the intangibles that can make the difference between misery and satisfaction. Things like a boss we get along with, a culture that suits our style, and co-workers with similar interests and values.

Wouldn’t you agree these are reasonable expectations given that we spend at least 50% of our waking hours at work? Yet, according to a survey reported in Forbes magazine, 52.3% of Americans report feeling unhappy at work. The same survey revealed that Americans on average haven’t felt happy about indicators like wages, vacation policy, and retirement since 1987. 1987!

What’s the Career Risk of Staying Put?

So, I just have one question for you: Have you considered the risk of staying put? Maybe you’re uncomfortable with the risk of putting yourself out there for the work you really want because you fear it’s not out there. Or maybe you won’t get the offer. Or there will be a bad boss, or the work will be hard. Sure, staying may feel more comfortable.

You know what is also true? Staying put in a job that’s not a good fit is also a risk. It can lead to stress, anxiety, and poor performance. Staying “safe” can lead to all sorts of problems. Even when you have fit, staying too long can be risky too. People may begin to see you as someone who isn’t interested in advancement.  Or your skills can suffer if your company isn’t investing in you. Or you can become complacent.

All of these things happened to me because I stayed too long, I compromised, I rationalized, and I lied to myself. No, you can’t have everything. But in my experience, you can do better, and I can help.  Reach out at sarah@avarahcareers.com