I had lunch today with a friend who has just accepted an amazing new job opportunity. I could just feel his excitement as he described what he’d be doing with the new company. While he said it’s hard for him to leave his work family after 16 years, the change will be good for everyone. In addition to the challenge this new adventure affords him, the domino effect of his decision to leave created opportunities for three people to advance in his former company.
Longevity and experience in a position often allows you the opportunity to take your foot off the gas for a while and enjoy the fruits of your labor. But if you aren’t careful, and you relax for too long, you can find yourself coasting right into an intellectual rut.
A new professional challenge is good for your mind and your career. It takes you off autopilot and forces you to expand your knowledge and skill base. Happy and comfortable in your job is good, but remember the best learning happens when we step outside of our comfort zone.
When was the last time you made a change in your job, shook things up a bit? Changing jobs certainly throws you back into the front end of a steep learning curve, which can be as exciting as it is unnerving, but the change doesn’t have to be as dramatic as that.
Consider taking on a leadership role in an industry association. Join Toastmasters and polish up your public speaking. Volunteer to help in a different office or location when they’re short-handed. Whatever the opportunity, if it pushes you out of your comfort zone and challenges you in a new way, even frightens you a little, it’ll work.
Be honest with yourself, have you gotten comfortable and complacent in your job? Do the years seem to all blend together? If so, it’s time for you to take back the wheel, put your foot back on the gas, and find the next challenge!