Employee satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty has taken a sharp downturn in the past couple of years. We are in what has been called a “jobless recovery” and many are in panic mode or close to it. What about you? How are you feeling about your company, your job, and your opportunities? It’s unlikely you feel neutral about these things—you either feel optimistic or pessimistic.
If you feel pessimistic about your career situation and what your future seems to hold, it’s time to do some reflective thinking and to be very honest with yourself. When times are good, it doesn’t take much for companies or individuals to do well and enjoy the benefits of easy times. Companies make profits and employees get raises (at least nominal ones.) But when times are not so good, companies begin their “downsizing” and “outsourcing” and many employees find themselves suddenly unemployed or pay raises and promotions frozen.
Unless you are in the top 10 percent of high performers at work, unless you are a coveted star employee, you have to get very real with yourself about your career. Is it moving forward or is it stalled?
The fact of the matter, is that only the top 10 percent of employees are in the top 10 percent! If we stretch things to the top 20 percent, that still means 80 percent of employees are not the top perfomers and contributors to their companiy’s success. Even top performers are being fired in this economy because they are usually the ones with the higer salaries. No one has a secure job anymore. A secure job is an illusion.
You have to get real about your career and what is going on in the marketplace. Are you being real? Are you being honest with yourself about your performance and your value to your company? Most employees overestimate how well they are performing or how high or low they are rated by their managers. That’s not good for anyone.
If you are not in the top 10 percent of performers, what are you doing to get better? Are you actively upgrading your skills in some way? Are you taking prudent risks? Are you reading books, taking classes, listening to audio during your commute to improve your leadership skills, your communication skills, your public speaking skills, your writing skills, your people skills?
If not, you aren’t being real about your career. You are wishing and hoping instead of planning and acting. That’s not good for anyone—especially not for you.
Quit listening to all the negativty and pessimism all around you. You’ve heard enough to know times are tough. Spend your time on personal and professional improvement. Get real with yourself about where you are now, where you want to be and how you will get there. Then spend time every day (at least 30 minutes) taking action on something that will propel you forward, that will make you stand out among your team members.
Most employees are not real with themsevles about their career standing and their career opportunities. They can’t get a better job, not becuase there are not better jobs out there, but because they are not marketable enough or they don’t know how to effectively market themselves if they are marketable.
The average employee has an average resume and doesn’t know what a remarkable resume is. But they keep using what they have, hoping to win the job lottery. If you suggest to the average employee they hire a professional to write their resume, you will get a blank stare back as their response. If you think you have a remarkable resume, you are probably mistaken.
If you think you don’t have the time or money to read a book every day or to listen to career related audio’s, you are definitely mistaken. You don’t have a time problem, you have a priority problem. That’s what I mean by getting real and by being honest with yourself.
It’s time to get real and to get honest with yourself about your career success, or lack thereof. Nobody else can do it for you.
The good news is that if you do get real with yourself, you won’t have much competitition. Everyone else is busy complaining or listening to someone else complain.
You can do better than that.