Everybody deals with well-meaning “buttinskis” who are always ready with advice or tips to help you traverse the different terrains of life. Whether you’re meeting someone new or pondering the direction of your career, you can expect to be gifted with such “words of wisdom.”
So you think, let it be. Right?
However, not all rules that worked for others will seamlessly work in the same way for you. Many rules actually seem completely logical and harmless at first, but in the long run, they can turn out to be counterproductive. They make you feel frustrated and confused.
Most career rules that successful yet traditional folks share are great examples, especially when you take into account the way the world has evolved in terms of values, technology, and other factors. You may be familiar with such rules — you may actually be upholding some of them yourself, which explains why you feel blah about work.
You know what you should do? Break them.
You can’t succeed if you continue abiding by rules that don’t serve your needs and act as an advantage. The smart thing to do is to free yourself from these rules.
5 Career Rules to Break
1. Work hard.
Working hard is good. It’s laudable. However, working efficiently (or working smarter) is better. Any personal coach you turn to will say there’s no point in tiring yourself out accomplishing your tasks when there are solutions accessible to you that can get the job done right much faster.
Explore the different digital programs available that can automate and expedite processes. When you work more efficiently, achieving work-life balance will be easier.
2. Go with the flow and don’t ruffle feathers.
Keeping the peace doesn’t always create the best working conditions. It’s always better to voice out sentiments and then work things out instead of just keeping mum. Stating your opinions shouldn’t be viewed as negative; rather, look at it as an appropriate expression of the desire for things to become right or better.
If you have something to say that can prompt positive change, don’t be afraid to speak up. Doing this may be all it takes to turn things around and make work more fulfilling for you and everybody else.
3. Stick it out at your company for as long as you can.
Loyalty is a great quality but you need to demonstrate it in the right conditions. If your company provides opportunities to grow and challenges that bring excitement to your career, then by all means, stay.
However, given the dynamics in some workplaces today wherein everything becomes a routine and workers function on autopilot, it doesn’t make much sense to demonstrate fierce loyalty and stay on for a very long time because there’s no growth in these conditions.
It also doesn’t make sense to stay if the company is growing in a different direction that doesn’t align with your plans.
4. Only aim for positions that are tailor-made for you.
Sure, issues are few if your job is completely compatible with your experiences, skills and training. However, positions that are too perfect and convenient for you can actually hold your career back. It’s more satisfying to hold a position that can take you out of your comfort zone.
If you stick to positions that are perfect for you and whose demands you’ve already mastered, it’ll be impossible to discover how far you can go to realize your fullest potential.
5. Stick it out with your job even if it’s making you miserable – you will grow to like it.
Don’t stick it out with a job that sucks the joy out of your life – if you hate it so much now, you don’t have passion for it, it stresses you out to the point that you get sick, or your job has changed but your pay hasn’t, you’re never going to like it.
You only stick with a crummy job if you’re desperate for money or you have no other options. If there are opportunities for you to be a happier worker, grab them. Don’t be afraid to go to your HR department and ask about positions in the company that are more up your alley and can help you develop in the manner you want. See if it’s possible for you to apply for those in order to revive the waning joy in your career.
When certain rules aren’t working out right for you, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t break them and create your own.
Your career is one of the defining elements of your life; it’s important that you do what’s good for it. Don’t remain bound by rules established by other people; listen to your own convictions and get the support of people who truly understand the level of career success you desire.
About the Author: Salma El-Shurafa is an experienced Executive Coach and founder of The Pathway Project. She is a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach from The Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and a graduate of CTI’s Co-Active Leadership program.