You may be at this for awhile now, waking up each morning, coffee run to Starbucks, listening to NPR on your commute to work, making sure you arrive to work before all the parking spots are gone. You keep thinking about the same desk, same view, same faces, same conversation, same paycheck, same title, and the same office politics. Nothing ever changes except maybe your perception of why you are still at the same job? Even the annual holiday party has become routine and your only joy is in knowing that you can plan a two- week vacation and maybe forget about the place for a while. When your career seems to be built on a house of lies, do you continue to phone it in, or put your game face on and play like the pros?
Living life large may not have been in the cards for you when you accepted the job offer, but sometimes you feel that your survival depends on how well you can play the career game when the rules inevitably change over time. It’s not just about keeping up anymore or doing a good job. You have to be very astute and understand the hidden dynamics of any workplace environment whether you have your eye on the corner office or not. Just doing a good job is not enough when you keep looking over your shoulder at the seemingly obtuse guy who sits behind you who suddenly is taking meetings in the executive conference room and now has a corporate credit account.
Finding your footing on a seemingly slippery slope towards your success is not easy when each step takes you perilously towards your unknown future. It’s okay not to know where you are going at all times, just make sure you know who is in front of you and who has your back as you traverse up your career path. It use to be just having the requisite educational and professional experience was enough to secure your fate when it came to your career. Not so in the new age of watch your back and make sure you are several steps ahead of your competition-even if you are not sure who your competition is.
It takes a keen mind and a savvy sense of oneself to make it any career whether it’s entertainment, banking, law or even medicine. It’s not about what you know and who you know it’s about how well you orchestrate the two in perfect harmony. Being astute to opportunities that you can leverage one against the other, having confidence whether you think you know the right answer or not, and making sure you make friends with the right people and clear out the ones who are not there to help you are all ways to ensure your place in line for your next big job. The new career game is a bit like survival of the fittest and it takes a certain keen awareness to know when to make your move-even if it’s deciding whom to have lunch with.