I have a farming friend who told me that sheep and goats have been known to forget to perform certain vital bodily functions, thus causing their premature death. No offence is meant to the intelligent sheep, but the vast majority just stand there, day after day, staring vacantly into the distance.
I suppose that you could say that they don’t have much of a life in any case. The most excitement that they have is when one of them falls onto their backs and can’t get up again, their spindly legs waving helplessly in the air.
How often do you find yourself waiting for that moment to brighten up your otherwise dull day at work? It could be some juicy piece of gossip that you have to share. Maybe there is a new guy in the office who is causing a stir. Maybe one of the Directors have just resigned in mysterious circumstances. Well, you get the idea…. anything to break the monotony.
That is, anything is break YOUR monotony.
When you are more interested in the stories of others than your own story, it is a sure sign that you too are forgetting to live. Your career has become so mundane that you look for any source to brighten it up, any source apart from that spark inside you. It has been such a long time since you celebrated your own achievement that you forget what this feels like – it is so much easier to live vicariously through the lives of others.
You’ll only get a certain amount of chances to advance your career. Your dream position becomes available or the market changes to provide an opening. When the stars align like this, you have to be focussed enough to take advantage. If you truly understand what you want out of your career, it will be clear which opportunities will take you closer to your goal.
If your career is on an upward trajectory, it is also important to bear in mind that it is anything but predictable. Different paths will present themselves, different “strings to your bow”, and you never know which ones may prove to be integral to your future. Feel that you should get into coding, even though it has nothing to do with your current career? Want to take a MOOC course on Big Data to become an analytical whizz-kid? Want to take a course in creative writing?
Self-improvement is anything but monotonous.
Anything that enhances YOUR career story is worth doing. Some of it might not come in useful, some of the projects you take on might crash and burn, a few of the mistakes might even knock you back a few steps.
You’ll be freeing yourself from the shackles of a “normal” career. Sure, do what is expected of you, but take every opportunity also to do what is not expected. If you fill your career with meaningful opportunities to develop yourself, you will never stand still. You will be living in the truest sense of the world.
All the other sheep will be watching you.
Written by: Alex Turner, Edited by: Paul Drury