Making a good first impression at the interview, landing a job, obtaining a good salary, this doesn’t necessarily imply having a successful career. These are simply momentary successes which can be determined either by luck or by circumstances. Obtaining successes in a constant manner, developing yourself in a progressive manner and getting satisfactions from all these, this is the definition of a successful career.
In what way are successful employees different from the others? Is there something special they do? You might expect to hear that they have a secret magic recipe, a trick they use every night for two weeks in order to boost their career. Reality is that there’s nothing fantastic about it. And the answer might not please you:
There’s no such thing as secret recipe for successful careers! Everything boils down to work, strategy and action on long term.
This is not an easy to cope with though, is it? Because people have a reduced ability of making short-term sacrifices on behalf of long-term bigger benefits. The majority of us are intelligent enough to be aware that long/term options are the ones which really matter. But we don’t take the necessary measures and we let ourselves in the hands of momentary professional satisfactions. And then we come to search magic tricks which do not require a lot of effort and perseverance.
You might recognize yourself in one of these situations:
1. You choose a professional domain to get specialized in and then you get a job in another domain.
Just because you have been offered a good position, the salary seems to be quite satisfactory and you don’t really want to go through the stressful job searching process again anytime soon. What happens next? You gradually become discontent with your actual job but now it is way more difficult to search for another one and to actually find a position which matches your initial specialization.
2. You get a job and you only work upon the necessary things, in order not to draw attention and criticism on you.
Sure, it seems comfortable not to bare responsibilities or to be judged for any decisions you make. But it doesn’t take too long to observe that some colleagues of yours, who do have initiatives and creative ideas, are making themselves known to the employer and get promoted in a fast and relatively easy way. And you wonder why you aren’t?
3. You don’t invest in your professional development.
You don’t attend training courses and seminars, you don’t read, you don’t research or get informed on the latest updates regarding your job. You don’t want to become a real professional. You expect to get all wisdom from somewhere inside…and maybe through a magic trick.
It is natural to be after professional satisfaction and pleasures. But the way you seek it is what really matters. A Stanford experiment on children under 4 has drawn attention on this nature of man: each child was given a cookie and was told he can eat it immediately, but if he waits a couple of minutes until the teacher comes back, he will be given another cookie as a reward. Believe it or not, only one third of the children restrained themselves from eating the cookie. A couple of years later, after the children finished high-school, they have been studied again. Researchers stated that the children who didn’t eat the cookie right away have become more optimistic, determined, trustworthy and more socially competent than the rest. They could cope with crisis situations better and had better school grades as well.