Catholicism, Anglicanism and Eastern Orthodoxy all have patron saints—heavenly protectors or advocates of nations, places and activities. There is even an entire list of saints for occupations, such as St. Blaise for veterinarians, St. Joan of Arc for soldiers and St. Patrick for engineers and paralegals. However, when it comes to career development, we are on our own.
Religious affiliation notwithstanding, I have always found it rather odd that, with new beginnings, such as the advent of a new year, more folks do not make career enhancement a priority in their renewed lists of resolutions. These lists often include exercise, weight loss, getting organized, starting a new hobby, saving more, spending less, quitting cigarettes, traveling and/or a determination to read more—all noble and worthy pursuits. Yet, while we spend a third of our waking life on the job for a period of some 40 years at least, my experience is that most individuals spend very little time ensuring their work life is as fulfilling as possible. They appear oblivious to the significant satisfaction that can come from work, the experiences they encounter and the people they meet in the fulfillment of their work mission.
So, as we leave 2020, I offer some thoughts for those who may want to think long-term and spend some sweat equity on making their work life more enjoyable and fulfilling.
This much I know:
As you work your way through these steps, you likely will find yourself experiencing anxiety. Approaching your manager about your aspirations or considering a change to a new career can be daunting. Keep going anyway. Facing that fear and powering through it will make you stronger and help advance you to the career you want.
Now, what’s on your New Year’s list?