It’s a dangerous and frequently difficult to identify a condition that, if left untreated, could result in the untimely death of your career: complacency.
Yes, this sounds a bit dramatic. However, the truth is many professionals don’t realize the catastrophic damage they’re causing to their careers by being complacent. Don’t allow yourself to be lulled into a false sense of security by thinking you’re indispensable — even if you’re the only one at your organization who can do what you do. To stay marketable and important to your industry and employer, you need to be proactive about your profession and take these steps to ensure its longevity:
1. Stay Current
You were hired to do you job because your employer believed you would be an asset to the organization. In order to maintain that role, you have to stay relevant. Doing this isn’t hard. It simply involves keeping up with what’s going on in your profession, industry, and organization. This can be done through continuing education, job and skills training, reading about and researching your industry, and following the latest news and trends in your field. The point is to continually absorb new information about your job, industry, and employer, stay apprised of any new developments, and maintain your focus on your career.
2. Add Value
Whether it’s taking on a project you’d typically turn down or going back to school to obtain an advanced degree or certification, it’s important to find ways to add value to your career and your organization. This isn’t just a monthly or weekly task. It’s something you have to do everyday. It doesn’t have to be something big and complicated. Listen to a podcast about current events in your field, participate in a live chat with an industry expert, or update your resume. Anything that helps enrich you professionally is fair game.
3. Lead Yourself
Learning to lead yourself in your career and as an employee takes some dedication. However, it goes a long way in preventing complacency. Knowing how to keep yourself on track to achieve your personal career goals, as well as those set by your employer, is crucial to being productive and successful. Don’t wait for someone else to ask what your career goals are, figure our your career plan and stick to it. Request quarterly or annual reviews from your employer, or ask your supervisor what you can do to be better at your job. It’s your career; you should be the one driving it.
Don’t let complacency creep up on you. The job market is too tight for sitting back and hoping what you’ve done in the past will be enough. Take the initiative to ensure that you are professionally up-to-date, engaged, and driven. If you don’t, you may wake up one day and find that you’ve become an antique in your profession, or, worse yet, find yourself in a career that’s extinct. With a new year just around the corner, it’s time to renew your commitment to staying relevant, adding value, and leading yourself in a career filled with achievement and success.