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Pick Your Job Based On What You Love To Do, Not How Much You Have Invested In.

Pick Your Job Based On What You Love To Do, Not How Much You Have Invested In.

Have you ever continued to pursue something even though it no longer served you? Maybe it’s a degree program or the dead-end job that you refuse to give up. Perhaps you’ve stayed in a relationship for no other reason than the fact that you’ve been committed to it for so long. From time to time, we all justify staying the course by considering the effort we’ve put into our current situation.

Many of us decide to take a job just because it’s a good use of our training. When we invest time and money in getting a degree, we expect that we should use it. Maybe you hate your job, but you can only envision yourself taking similar positions with equal or greater pay and responsibility. You may feel trapped by the decisions you made before, but you don’t have to be.

Whatever you do, do it because you love it.

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    When you are trying to figure out how to decide on a career, it is easy to be influenced by the types of work and training you’ve already undertaken. In general, you get a degree or training in a field that interests you, and this leads you to a job in that field.

    If you should ever decide to leave your job, there’s a high probability that you will look for work in the same field with similar pay and responsibilities. You are less likely to consider whether you still like the work that you do — you feel obligated to continue your career trajectory regardless of how you feel.

    This is how people get stuck doing jobs that they don’t like. Instead of thinking about what would make you the best and happiest version of yourself, you may face temptation to maintain the status quo. Many of us do this because we fear wasting our efforts.[1]

    Others feel that their persistence will eventually be valued, and changing course doesn’t fit well within the story they are creating about themselves or their business.[2] They may willingly take on sunk costs with the belief that their situation will improve.

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    Don’t get sucked in by sunk costs.

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      The sunk cost fallacy is the assumption that you must continue follow a trajectory because you have already put lots of resources into that particular career path or personal endeavor. We can be so loss-averse that we avoid the possibility of greater gains through changing our approach.[3]

      If you are wondering how to decide on a career, and you take a job solely because it makes use of your years of training, then you might be worrying more about sunk costs than your future happiness and success. Refusing to leave a career that is unfulfilling could be a sign that you are caught in the job investment trap, which is a variation of the sunk cost fallacy.[4]

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      Businesses also fall into this pattern of continuing down a failing path just because they already put time and money into initiatives. For example, an entrepreneur might take out a loan to open a second business location. They reason that since business is booming at Location #1, success in Location #2 should be a cinch.

      After about a year, the owner realizes that Location #2 is hemorrhaging money, and the only way to stop the bleeding is to scale back to one store. The numbers don’t lie, but despite the irrefutable evidence, the owner may still have trouble cutting his or her losses. The business owner thinks about the effort, time, and emotion that went into Location #2.

      From an outsider’s perspective, it is easy to see that the business owner in the example or the person stuck in an uninspiring career should try something new. It is harder to let go of sunk costs when we are faced with them ourselves.

      You aren’t a one-trick pony.

      Just because you took a particular course of study in school doesn’t mean that you are bound to that discipline for the rest of your life. When you are figuring out how to decide on a career, ask yourself the following questions:

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      • What are you interested in doing? If you are passionate about your work, then it won’t feel like a burden.
      • What skills do you need to do this job? We often think of our degree or primary training as our default career option, but the default may not be the best choice. If you need to change focus, what transferable skills do you have, and what additional training will you need to be successful?[5]
      • Is there room for growth in this job? Today, the average employee stays with a company for 4.2 years before moving on.[6] What types of skills can you build in your current work? How can you leverage your growth to position you for a fulfilling career?
      • Do you have opportunities to work with different people? Forming meaningful connections with people is one of the best things you can do for yourself professionally. You’ll not only be happier at work, but if you decide to change careers, you will already have a solid professional network. [7]
      • What can this job offer you in 3 years? Consider your expectations for income and authority-level in the next three years. Is this job going to give you what you want? If not, how will taking this position help you work toward your end goal?
      • Can this job help you to become the kind of person you want to be? Being inspired by the work that you do can brighten even the toughest days. Do you feel that your work is meaningful?[8] Does it bring you closer to being the optimal of yourself?

      Know when to hold and when to fold.

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        You can’t recover sunk costs, but you don’t have to perpetuate a cycle of loss. “I’ve already put so much time into this,” isn’t a good enough justification to continue down a particular path.

        Deciding to change directions doesn’t meant that you have failed. It makes zero sense to continue to put resources into something that isn’t working for you. Although you may feel like you have wasted an experience or lost time, remember that you have probably learned some valuable information as you undertook the process. Just because it didn’t go the way you expected doesn’t mean that it’s a total loss.

        Being successful and following your dreams are not mutually exclusive. Use what you know to keep growing, and don’t be discouraged if you have to change course along the way.

        Reference

        More by this author

        Angelina Phebus

        Writer, Yoga Instructor (RYT 200)

        Foods That Can Suppress Appetite And Help With Weight Loss Quality or Quantity? Why Don’t You Sleep On It What it Feels Like To Be The Child of Your Children? Pick Your Job Based On What You Love To Do, Not How Much You Have Invested In. How to Become Successful 10 Times Easier: Don’t Focus on Improving Your Faults

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        Last Updated on December 5, 2018

        How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

        How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

        Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

        We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

        How do they do it?

        By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

        1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

        There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

        If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

        2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

        Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

        According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

        Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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        3. Demand Learning from Your Team

        CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

        “The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

        His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

        Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

        “We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

        Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

        4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

        Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

        Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

        • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
        • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
        • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
        • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
        • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
        • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

        5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

        Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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        Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

        • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
        • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
        • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
        • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
        • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

          “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

        Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

        6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

        The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

        Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

        You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

        7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

        Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

        But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

        On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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        • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
        • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
        • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
        • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

        8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

        Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

        When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

        9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

        The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

        What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

        Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

        10. Empower Your Employees

        Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

        They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

        Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

        You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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        If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

        11. Nurture Your Company Culture

        Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

        Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

        However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

        Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

        Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

        Be a Leader, Not a Boss

        Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

        However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

        In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

        Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

        Reference

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