Feeling a little too comfortable in your career

Deborah Wilson

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Through my work with OnTalent, I have encountered thousands of people across multiple industries. Over time, I began noticing patterns among those who thrived and others whose careers appeared to stagnate or even go backwards. Those who succeeded were far more open to spending more time outside their comfort zone.

The ‘comfort zone’ looks different for everyone. I’ve met people who instantly break out into a sweat when challenged with a public speaking opportunity. And I’ve met others who feel sick at having to write a lengthy report. We’re all different. What seems like no big deal to you may be a very big deal to someone else.

When we do the math, we spend most of our lives at work. So, I hear you when you think, what’s wrong with being comfortable in a role I spend so much time in? If you can perform your job on autopilot or don’t feel like you are being challenged regularly, consider that a warning sign. Are your limiting beliefs keeping you ‘safe’ in your comfort zone and potentially getting in the way of making a career choice that is in your best interest? Most of us require meaning and purpose to drive our work. Do any of these concepts sound familiar to you?

You’re lucky if you’ve got a job these days

The Great Resignation has flipped this idea on its head because workers are, generally speaking, more in demand than ever before. If you are unhappy in your current role or feel like you could be doing so much more, open up an honest conversation with your employer. And, if your words fall on deaf ears, start thinking about what you need to put in place to move on. So often, it may seem like we don’t have options, but in reality, we are always one choice away from change.

Work is never fun

Most of us understand there are pros and cons at play when it comes to any role. Genuinely loving what you do and being comfortable in what you do are two separate things. If you enjoy what you’re doing and the people around you, you’re streets ahead of the average worker. So many people revel in the daily grind of going to work from 9am to 5pm and complaining about how much they hate every aspect of their job. If you feel like your ambition is slowly dying, and you’re losing that all-important care factor for what you do, pay attention. Remember, having fun at work is not the issue… work zapping the fun out of your life is the issue.

You don’t have to ask for a pay increase because if you’re good at what you do, you’ll eventually be rewarded

When it comes to talking about comfort zones, money is one issue that typically gets people’s hearts racing (especially us women). Too many of us have grown up in environments where money wasn’t discussed openly. While I don’t believe salary amounts are always make or break, we live in a physical world and need money to maintain a certain quality of life. If you genuinely believe you deserve a pay increase, stand by your feelings and ask for an increase. If you are good at what you do, most managers will prefer to talk with you about money instead of being kept in the dark until your resignation letter hits their desk and later finds out you felt underpaid.

Being a better version of yourself often requires daring to step outside your comfort zone. Yes, that will likely bring discomfort, and some days, you’ll question everything. However, there is no other way to grow and evolve your career. Most of us experience fear at some point in our lives, especially about change. In my experience, the best antidote to fear is genuine excitement and the realisation that feeling ‘stuck’ or ‘trapped’ is no longer an option.

One of my favourite quotes is from Brene Brown – “You can choose courage, or you can choose comfort, but you cannot choose both. They are mutually exclusive.”

So, are you ready to leave your comfort zone and be courageous?

In May 2022, OnTalent is running career workshops focused on navigating your career options. We’ll help you step outside your comfort zone, expand your mind regarding what’s possible for you, and cover how to get where you want to go and possible next steps.

Deborah Wilson is a Thought Leader and a Career Strategist. She takes a personalised approach to strategic career coaching, career transitions, mentoring, and leadership development. Deborah provides expert guidance for individuals while supporting organisations through change and connecting people and purpose.

Call Deborah on +61 403 779 746. 

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