Are You Congruent ??

The majority of us work for our lifetime. Seriously. We are in a job of some sort from either our late teens/early twenties until our mid to late 60’s (if not longer). I’m not bemoaning this fact. Having a job is essential for all of us to be able to earn a living, provide for others, give generously and possibly have a family. With so much time invested, why do we hit times where things just feel a bit wonky?

Do you know what I mean? Every person I know hits a patch, or patches, where things seem misaligned. It’s hard to discuss because we’re afraid if we do that our company will think poorly of us and develop doubts about our “loyalty.” This has nothing to do with whether a person is loyal or not. When things aren’t congruent, we’re not sure what to do or where to go. It can affect how we perform because uncertainty causes anxiety. We may even get thoughts in our heads that have no merit, but that doesn’t make them feel any less real.

How do we get things back in line and balanced? This is an area where HR can, and should, step in. However, it will cause you to step into an arena where we tend to skirt by the edge. You need to be very connected to your employees. This goes far beyond just knowing the superficial demographic information about folks. That is very important and should never be overlooked. However, I’m talking about genuinely knowing about where people feel they are in their role/career and where they want to go.

Too often we have conversations about people’s career desires during annual reviews. But, honestly, those are superficial as well. Companies fear that if you have meaningful chats and someone says that they want to grow and/or take over another person’s role, then they’ll actually want to work toward attaining that goal !! Eek !! Since we don’t take the time to pour into others, we end up making decisions to move people ahead who may not be a good fit. They also may never have wanted to take on that next role, but it may result in larger wages, authority and exposure which are hard to look past. Remember – we need our jobs.

Another group of folks who face the challenge of congruency are those in transition already. I’m fortunate that I know a group of people who are in this situation because they regularly attend the HR Roundtable I facilitate. Being in transition is difficult, not challenging, difficult. That may not even accurately capture the emotional strain that you go through when you’re trying to find a new job. People just want to be employed again. I get that and know it’s critical for many reasons.

However, if possible, you need to find a role where things fit for you as much as the company is looking to see if you fit them. Being congruent in existing roles as well as when you take on a new role when you come out of transition is essential.

Managing your career over the entire span of your career is the mindset to have if you haven’t been doing that already. You’re going to hit those patches of uncertainty. It doesn’t mean you’re going to leave your job or organization, but it does mean an adjustment is needed.

This week step back, take a breath and reflect. Are you balanced? Do you need realignment? Take the time to do this and make sure you are doing your best to manage what you do and where you do it. Be congruent !!

Golden Years !!

“Don’t let me hear you say life’s taking you nowhere . . .” David Bowie

As you read this, you’re probably starting your next work week. What does that look like for you? I can’t venture to say what the details are in what you do because everyone’s job is different. What I’m wondering is – do you have a “job” or are you in a stage of your “career” ??

This year I hit a milestone that never seemed within reach when I graduated college. I am entering my 30th year in Human Resources !! I haven’t been in the same role or at the same company, but I’m still in the field I began. I honestly would have to say that I’m more geeked about HR now than when I started !!

Now, I can’t say looking back that I saw each position I held as a step in my career. In fact, I would even say that the goal coming out of college was not to have a career, but to secure a job. I wanted to be out on my own and be able to provide for myself. It never dawned on me to think of anything but short-term objectives. Also, I have to admit the focus of work was to keep my job and make sure I didn’t lose it.

When I look at the profession, and also at all types of occupations, I think the predominant thought of employees is to keep their job versus growing in a career. This is a reflection of a company’s culture. Honestly, we have more of an expectation for people to “show up” than we do for them to contribute, perform and thrive.

CareersThis needs to change. It’s a hidden obstacle within a company’s make-up that is hindering it from excelling by not expecting the best from its people and encouraging them to grow. We tolerate people taking up space each day and think that this is how work works.

I’d love to see HR take the lead in shifting how we view our roles, but we need to be willing to make the first step. HR people don’t typically manage their own careers. We assume positions within organizations, but we never step back and evaluate if this is where we want to be or if it’s what we want to be doing. Aren’t you tired of going to work and just “existing” in your role ??

You really shouldn’t settle. I understand there are times over the course of your work life cycle where you may have to take a job because there aren’t other options. Even then you can choose to approach each job you have differently. It shouldn’t be “taking you nowhere.”

I would encourage you to find HR folks who have managed their career well and connect with them. Ask them what has worked for them and what hasn’t. See how they evaluate work, HR and their lives in general. ┬áTrust me when I tell you that they won’t find this intrusive at all. The folks I know that manage their careers well are willing to share their ups and downs.

This week, step back and take a look. Do you just have a job or are you performing at the most recent stage in your career? If it’s only a job, it’s time to change. This may mean changing your role, or it may only mean changing how you approach what you’re doing and understand that it’s part of your career.

You have to understand that you’re in your golden years right now. Don’t wait for some mythical time that is supposed to be bestowed upon you in the future. Time to take hold of who you are and flourish now !!