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5 Ways Opportunity Addiction Can Negatively Affect Your Career

5 Ways Opportunity Addiction Can Negatively Affect Your Career

Gambling addicts and hoarders may seem like two very different groups of people. The former risks losing everything and the latter doesn’t let anything go. Although there are many different reasons why people gamble, as well as many different reasons why people hoard, a large proportion of people in both of these demographics seem to share a common problem: addiction to perceived opportunity.

Gamblers see opportunity in every bet.

According to a study of pathological gambling in the journal , “Chasing losses was associated with increased activity in cortical areas linked to incentive-motivation and an expectation of reward.” Chasing losses is widespread among gambling addicts, driving the individual toward perpetual investment in a game where they are mathematically guaranteed to lose everything over time. Although the opportunity is not real, it is the perceived opportunity keeping gamblers trapped in the downward spiral.

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Hoarders see opportunity in every possession. 

Many hoarders face a similar cognitive trap. In the book Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Thingsthe authors present case studies of various hoarders. One common trait among many hoarders is the idea that some day their stuff will come in handy; throwing something out could mean throwing away a potential opportunity. One hoarder described her inability to discard any special offers from the mail, believing that one day the offer would be of use. Addiction to perceived opportunity keeps hoarders trapped in the downward spiral of acquiring so many trivial possessions, but lacking the ability to make any meaningful decisions regarding how to manage it all.

Opportunity addiction is a major component of FOMO.

Fear of missing out (FOMO), has recently become a popular concept. It is often discussed as a modern anxiety characterized by fearing social exclusion; but this is only part of the problem. Just like gamblers and hoarders, FOMO is a form of addiction to perceived opportunity. Think about it; compulsively checking your phone, Facebook page, or email is more of an addiction than a fear response.

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Here are five ways opportunity addiction can negatively affect your career:

  1.  Spreading yourself thin by getting involved in too many projects.
  2.  Checking emails too often at the cost of doing focused work.
  3.  Cluttering your desktop with documents that might be important.
  4.  Passing out too many business cards at conferences without deeply connecting.
  5.  Checking LinkedIn too often.

The thought of opportunity may limit your action toward actual opportunity.  

Opportunities are created when you build skills that allow you to provide something of value in the world or when you connect with others who want to use your product or skill. The former is education and personal/professional development; the latter is sales/marketing. Opportunity addiction distracts us from doing the things that matter by allowing us to take an easy way out.

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Holding on to the idea that we will eventually hit the career jackpot, we compulsively distract ourselves by checking messages, saving articles or offers we believe we’ll deal with later, and spamming potential contacts or customers without getting to know them or their unique needs.

Be aware of your habits.

Addiction to perceived opportunity may be an ingrained part of the human condition, but it can be overcome. Recent research in the field of Neuroscience is demonstrating that our habits can become addictions. Habits are also a key target among Cognitive-behavioral therapists who treat addictions. Among addicts, strong desire is triggered during particular daily routines, actions, or physical locations.

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If you find yourself regularly squandering your time on tasks that keep you from doing the work that matters, create a plan to break the habit. Just as you would set an alarm-clock across the room to prevent your arm from habitually turning it off without you noticing, identify problematic points in your day and pre-plan an alternative way of conducting your task, bypassing situational triggers. This is distinct from anxiety treatments that slowly expose individuals to their triggers. Addicts are retraining a dysfunctional reward mechanism rather than a dysfunctional fear mechanism.

We might want to reconsider the accuracy of the “F” in FOMO. Many fixations with new forms of media seem to be based on addiction rather than fear.

Featured photo credit: addictionmodesto via addictionmodesto.com

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Last Updated on October 13, 2020

How to Get Promoted When You Feel Stuck in Your Current Position

How to Get Promoted When You Feel Stuck in Your Current Position

Have you been stuck in the same position for too long and don’t really know how to get promoted and advance your career?

Feeling stuck could be caused by a variety of things:

  • Taking a job for the money
  • Staying with an employer that no longer aligns with your values
  • Realizing that you landed yourself in the wrong career
  • Not feeling valued or feeling underutilized
  • Taking a position without a full understanding of the role

There are many other reasons why you may be feeling this way, but let’s focus instead on learning what to do now in order to get unstuck and get promoted

One of the best ways to get promoted is by showing how you add value to your organization. Did you make money, save money, improve a process, or do some other amazing thing? How else might you demonstrate added value?

Let’s dive right in to how to get promoted when you feel stuck in your current position.

1. Be a Mentor

When I supervised students, I used to warm them — tongue in cheek, of course — about getting really good at their job.

“Be careful not to get too good at this, or you’ll never get to do anything else.”

This was my way of pestering them to take on additional challenges or think outside the box, but there is definitely some truth in doing something so well that your manager doesn’t trust anyone else to do it.

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This can get you stuck.

Jo Miller of Be Leaderly shares this insight on when your boss thinks you’re too valuable in your current job:

“Think back to a time when you really enjoyed your current role…You became known for doing your job so well that you built up some strong ‘personal brand’ equity, and people know you as the go-to-person for this particular job. That’s what we call ‘a good problem to have’: you did a really good job of building a positive perception about your suitability for the role, but you may have done ‘too’ good of a job!”[1]

With this in mind, how do you prove to your employer that you can add value by being promoted?

From Miller’s insight, she talks about building your personal brand and becoming known for doing a particular job well. So how can you link that work with a position or project that will earn you a promotion?

Consider leveraging your strengths and skills.

Let’s say that the project you do so well is hiring and training new entry-level employees. You have to post the job listing, read and review resumes, schedule interviews, make hiring decisions, and create the training schedules. These tasks require skills such as employee relations, onboarding, human resources software, performance management, teamwork, collaboration, customer service, and project management. That’s a serious amount of skills!

Are there any team members who can perform these skills? Try delegating and training some of your staff or colleagues to learn your job. There are a number of reasons why this is a good idea:

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  1. Cross-training helps in any situation in the event that there’s an extended illness and the main performer of a certain task is out for a while.
  2. As a mentor to a supervisee or colleague, you empower them to increase their job skills.
  3. You are already beginning to demonstrate that added value to your employer by encouraging your team or peers to learn your job and creating team players.

Now that you’ve trained others to do that work for which you have been so valued, you can see about re-requesting that promotion. Explain how you have saved the company money, encouraged employees to increase their skills, or reinvented that project of yours.

2. Work on Your Mindset

Another reason you may feel stuck in a position is explained through this quote:

“If you feel stuck at a job you used to love, it’s normally you—not the job—who needs to change. The position you got hired for is probably the exact same one you have now. But if you start to dread the work routine, you’re going to focus on the negatives.”[2]

In this situation, you should pursue a conversation with your supervisor and share your thoughts and feelings to help you learn how to get promoted. You can probably get some advice on how to rediscover the aspects of that job you enjoyed, and negotiate either some additional duties or a chance to move up.

Don’t express frustration. Express a desire for more.

Present your case and show your boss or supervisor that you want to be challenged, and you want to move up. You want more responsibility in order to continue moving the company forward. Focus on how you can do that with the skills you have and the positive mindset you’ve cultivated.

3. Improve Your Soft Skills

When was the last time you put focus and effort into upping your game with those soft skills? I’m talking about those seemingly intangible things that make you the experienced professional in your specific job skills[3].

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Use soft skills when learning how to get promoted.

    According to research, improving soft skills can boost productivity and retention 12 percent and deliver a 250 percent return on investment based on higher productivity and retention[4]. Those are only some of the benefits for both you and your employer when you want to learn how to get promoted.

    You can hone these skills and increase your chances of promotion into a leadership role by taking courses or seminars.

    Furthermore, you don’t necessarily need to request funding from your supervisor. There are dozens of online courses being presented by entrepreneurs and authors about these very subjects. Udemy and Creative Live both feature online courses at very reasonable prices. And some come with completion certificates for your portfolio!

    Another way to improve your soft skills is by connecting with an employee at your organization who has a position similar to the one you want.

    Express your desire to move up in the organization, and ask to shadow that person or see if you can sit in on some of their meetings. Offer to take that individual out for coffee and ask what their secret is! Take copious notes, and then immerse yourself in the learning.

    The key here is not to copy your new mentor. Rather, you want to observe, learn, and then adapt according to your strengths.

    4. Develop Your Strategy

    Do you even know specifically why you want to learn how to get promoted? Do you see a future at this company? Do you have a one-year, five-year, or ten-year plan for your career path? How often do you consider your “why” and insure that it aligns with your “what”?

    Sit down and make an old-fashioned pro and con list.

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    Write down every positive aspect of your current job and then every negative one. Which list is longer? Are there any themes present?

    Look at your lists and choose the most exciting pros and the most frustrating cons. Do those two pros make the cons worth it? If you can’t answer that question with a “yes,” then getting promoted at your current organization may not be what you really want[5].

    The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. —Mark Twain

    Here are some questions to ask yourself:

    • Why do you do what you do?
    • What thrills you about your current job role or career?
    • What does a great day look like?
    • What does success look and feel like beyond the paycheck?
    • How do you want to feel about your impact on the world when you retire?

    Define success to get promoted

      These questions would be great to reflect on in a journal or with your supervisor in your next one-on-one meeting. Or, bring it up with one of your work friends over coffee.

      Final Thoughts

      After considering all of these points and doing your best to learn how to get promoted, what you might find is that being stuck is your choice. Then, you can set yourself on the path of moving up where you are, or moving on to something different.

      Because sometimes the real promotion is finding your life’s purpose.

      More Tips on How to Get Promoted

      Featured photo credit: Razvan Chisu via unsplash.com

      Reference

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