Getting Out of A Career Slump

Getting Out of A Career Slump

In the movie Office Space, a pair of consultants interview employees at Initech about their jobs.  When the movie’s main character, Peter Gibbons, is asked to take them through a typical day, he says the following (paraphrased) : “I generally get to work 15-minutes late.  I use the side door, so Lumbergh (boss) will not see me.  After that, I space-out for an hour.  I also stare at my desk, so it looks like I am working.  I do that for an hour after lunch too.  In a given week, I do 15-minutes or less of actual work.  It is not that I am lazy, it is that I just do not care.”

Success requires having the hunger and passion to perform at the highest-level.  Success is not a destination, it is a direction, and that direction is forward.  In our career, we can move forward, backward or sideways.  While moving sideways can be intentional (e.g., lateral move to broaden experience), most people tend to be less extreme versions of Peter Gibbons.  They are in the wrong job; they are in the right job, but for too long; or they are discouraged from lack of advancement opportunities.  Consequently, their potential, performance and brand suffer.

How do you know if you are moving sideways?  If someone asks you, “How is it going?” and you answer, “I am hanging in there” or “I cannot wait until the weekend.”  These signal personal recession periods where we have stopped growing, both personally and professionally.  While we can hope things will get better, hope is not a strategy.

How do you start moving forward again? Ask yourself, “What am I not doing today that I was doing back in the day when I was performing at the highest-level . . . when I was on top?  Set goals and take action.  Do not judge your effort by the number of hours worked.  Judge your effort by the results achieved.  Success is a results contest.

All contents copyright © 2012, Josh Lowry.  All rights reserved.

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