As I’ve said before, I write this website to try to help young people to make good decisions in their business life. A lot of what I write about are things I see people doing that will hurt their careers or even keep them from getting the career they want. Some of the things I learned the hard way, things I wish someone had told me.
This post is about the long game. I believe I have mentioned this before but it’s so important that I want to write about it again. Yes, part of my reason for wanting to write about this again is due to some self-reflection, some doubts about my own decisions. After careful consideration I was content that I was where I wanted to be but I won’t lie and say I wasn’t tempted to move to a different job just for the additional money even though I knew that job was not what I wanted and that I would not be happy.
That’s not to say I have never been in a position I didn’t like. I have. I have worked shifts and days off I was not happy with but with my eye towards the long game. I knew if I hung in long enough my situation would change. I would be able to move to shifts and days off that I did want. That has been a tough balancing act. Each time I moved up I was the most junior person and had to take the least desirable shift and days. But again, I kept my eye on the long game.
So many young people don’t do that. They live in the moment. This is a huge mistake. They get angry so they up and quit. They like playing video games with their friends on Saturdays or watching football on Sundays so they turn down good jobs because they would have to work during their established entertainment time. You think I’m kidding? I have personally seen those things happen. That and much more.
It’s easy to say you would never do that, and for some it will be true, but for others once you come across the thing you are used to doing, that you enjoy so much, you’re not going to want to give it up. And some of you won’t.
This is why you need a plan. Money is not everything. Know what you want and what you don’t want. There is nothing wrong with a low paying job that takes hard work but does it fit into your plans? Will it get you the results you want? If not, use the job while you look for the next opportunity. Don’t make the mistake of staying there because it’s easier than looking for something better. It’s rare to have a golden opportunity fall into your lap. And don’t forget, your moves don’t always have to be upward. You can go to a lower paying job than what you have if the advancement opportunities are better in the long run. That’s just smart.
Be aware of where the ceiling is. The point you can’t go beyond in the company you’re at. Will the level you can achieve give you the outcome of your plan? If so, you’re in a good spot. If not, either keep looking for a better job or if you are really happy where you are, figure out what you can do without in the plan you made or what additional things you can do to keep those things. It’s all about the long game.