Changing yourself to progress your career

The workplace can often just feel like one long game with lots of rules. For many people following these rules requires changing perhaps to the point of doing things that you don’t really want to do.

So, how much should you change for the sake of career progression?

If you feel like you have to become someone else or play up to the idea of who people think that you should be to have the career you want, you probably won’t be happy when you get it.

Some people understand the game and are willing to play it whilst others find the cheat codes and figure out how to work things their favour. Then there are the ones who understand the game but aren’t willing to play it and lastly the ones that have no awareness of the game whatsoever.

I have a lot of beliefs about work and the kind of career I want.

In a past experience, after discovering the game and attempting to play it, I realised that I didn’t want to.

If you have to change to progress in your career it’ll only be worth it if you like the person you’re becoming. Playing the game can be fun but it can also be exhausting. It might be for some people but others are better off stopping and finding a place to work with a game they enjoy playing or better yet no game at all.

No instructions, no outcome, just play

Sometimes there is this child-like sense of curiosity or this feeling that you probably had as a child when you just wanted to play.

It’s things like reading a story, having paper and pens to create whatever you like or even a bunch of building blocks. There’s no instructions or a specified outcome that you need to meet and you have nothing to prove.

Once you’re done you can just move on to something else, the outcome doesn’t even really matter. At that age you’re just creating, using your mind and being free. In hindsight you might notice certain things you were good at or enjoyed more but in the moment that wasn’t a priority.

As an adult we’re often focused on the outcome, how good we are (often in comparison to others) and how much money we can make. At times, so much emphasis is put on making money that we’re made to feel like what we do is pointless, worthless and a waste of time if it generates no income.

Putting it into practice

If you have an idea of what could be done or what is possible, would you be willing to put it into practice?

It’s really easy to talk the talk full of excitement and enthusiasm. But actually doing the things you talk about is a whole other story.

It’s easy to give advice when things are going well or tell other people what to do.

But what about taking your advice first?

Why not actually do the thing before you talk about it?

It’ll add some validation when you later recommend it to others and that might be what they need in order to listen.

Work and play

They’re both important.

We live in a society where it’s not uncommon to find people almost competing about who works the hardest.

Working a 9to5.

Doing overtime.

Working a 9to5 then a passion project 5to9.

Staying in the office till late.

Being self employed and working 7 days a week.

Coming into the office at the weekend.

We hear about working hard all the time but we rarely hear about play. There’s emphasis on resting from the work. But I’m a big believer in work and play.

I don’t believe in working for the weekend as though those 2 days are your reward for slaving away for the 5 days prior.

My ideas on work and play aren’t about a work life balance but more about just enjoying life as a whole.

So yes, meet your deadlines, impress the clients and do great work but also enjoy it.