In two previous posts (“Who Sets the Rules in Your Career?” and “The Top 2 Technical Career Motivators“), I focused quite a bit on what motivates us the most when it comes to our careers. In this post, I am going to discuss what seems to be the least thing that motivates us: time.
Obsessing about time is not the same thing as being motivated by it.
If there’s one thing that all professionals seem to have in common it is our obsession with discussing time. We are constantly trying to get the “timing right,” waiting for the “right time,” when the “time is right.” In fact, there is so much discussion about this scarce resource that you might be fooled into thinking that we really did care about it! Or that it really did motivate us to take action!
Techies are no different. When it comes to technical career advancement, they too seem to be waiting around for their “time.”
Time is more of a de-motivator than a motivator.
Think about it: It’s not what we say, it’s what we do. So although we might “say” a lot of things about time, how does that affect what we do? In many, many cases, the more we talk, the less we actually do.
The time is rarely right…until afterward.
How many times have you heard someone say, “I guess the time was just right”? More often that not, it’s a great line to use after we’ve made a change AND everything has worked out well. But typically, when you make the first move, you generally aren’t sure. You’ve read all the signs, prayed for a miracle, and started making a few calls…and you’re just hoping that you’ve timed it all perfectly! But what we’re really saying is that we just don’t want to try and fail…
And even if the time is right…you’re not ready.
Unfortunately, because we’ve been waiting and waiting for the right time, when “it” does come (whatever “it” is), we’re not ready because preparation didn’t seem necessary (it’s rarely a sexy buy). And pretty soon we’re scrambling to get ourselves presentable for that opportunity.
Don’t let time be your reason and your excuse for poor career management.
In the world of sales, there is an argument that a person needs to have both a reason and an excuse to buy something (or NOT to buy something). I would argue that more often than not we will ignore the reason (logic) in favor of the excuse (emotion).
For instance, it often doesn’t matter that we know we should be managing our own career advancement. We have a ton of great reasons to do so! The logic part is easy.
BUT, just because we aren’t sure about the timing, we’ll let that be a good excuse to get out of actually doing anything about it. And, thus, what we are really saying (but not saying) is that our emotion doesn’t line up with our reason. So we don’t make the investment.
Listen. There’s not a lot of fun in the idea of career management. And the thought of constant career management is daunting, at best. It would be really nice if the stars all aligned and the right timing was always clear.
But there is nothing so time consuming as waiting around for nothing to happen.
So what should you be doing?
- Maximize your potential with your current engagement: Are you tracking and building a project highlights portfolio? As I mentioned in an earlier post (“The Era of Promotions Will Return“), internal promotions will be on the rise within the next few years and the competition will be tight. It’s tough to go back and remember. You need to be documenting now.
- Position yourself to attract recruiters now BEFORE you need them: Recruiters will not admit it, but they much prefer to chase you rather than the other way around. They like finding hot prospects they can “steal” away from competitors. Remember, you can always turn them down…so why miss out on potential opportunities? Isn’t it nice to be wanted for a change?
- Begin building a network pipeline: In the world of online businesses, content marketing is key right now. And “engagement” is the word of the hour. Professionals need to take some tips from this world. Are you referable? If so, does your network show that? And I am not just talking about LinkedIn recommendations and endorsements…have you built a credible online brand? It’s better to consider these things NOW before you need them…because you will need them…the job market is changing, and social recruiting is here.
If you can start making strides in these areas, then “timing” will be less of a discussion because you will begin creating opportunities for yourself, and the “time” will almost always be right!