Your parents might have been telling you for years that you should go and get a “real job” or a “stable career,” and those words have no doubt reverberated through your existence. While the cost of living has forced us all to think twice about jumping ship, there have been many people who took part in the Great Resignation during the pandemic. But when we have responsibilities that force us to think twice about doing things for ourselves, especially in terms of our career, we’ve got to ask ourselves are there any benefits to “playing it safe?”
Would You Be Saved From “the Chop?”
So many people go into business for themselves for one simple reason: having control over their work life. Look at the difference between someone who is employed, with all of the perks where they get a pension, paid vacation, and so forth. The self-employed person can feel jealous of the employed individual for those reasons. Likewise, the employee can be jealous of the self-employed individual for actually taking a risk with their career and following their passions.
The reality is that many of us are not immune from the chop because it’s not just about being comfy in a role, but there are things beyond your control and the control of the organization that may force you out the door in a few months, years, or decades. There are things we can do to be more proactive. On the blog https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/tame-your-terrible-office-tyrant/202208/recession-proof-your-career, there are several tools to ensure that, if you end up losing your job as a result of a recession, you can minimize the impact. But it is so important to remember that nobody is immune, which is why sticking in a job that you hate purely for the perks is not worth it.
Does a Stable Career Make You More Confident?
There is a lot to be said about having a stable career that allows for progression. If you have a stable career that is just in the same role for several years, there are a few things that could happen:
- You don’t get promoted.
- You become complacent.
- Doing the same duties day in and day out doesn’t stimulate.
- You slowly lose your ability to speak out.
The latter point is critical because when we settle into a role, it’s not just to do with the duties but also the environment we find ourselves in. If you have not been allowed to put yourself forward for promotion, this can easily knock your confidence. Not feeling like you can progress while also being afraid to voice certain opinions can slowly erode your sense of self. Additionally, there are those people who were able to progress through the organization steadily but find they hit a dead end. If you’re not progressing, you aren’t learning anything.
Many people stick to their comfort zones to make life easier, but when you stick to a daily routine, there is that Catch-22. You might not be recognized by the powers that be to be deemed worthy of promotion, but you can also be resentful towards your employers for not giving you those opportunities. It is the onus of the employee to ask about learning opportunities. If the employee does not provide these, this should be a major red flag. If they prefer people to stick in their lanes, this is very much the equivalent of being a worker on a factory line.
It becomes monotonous, and mind-numbing, and will result in a lower quality of life, but if you want to remedy this, you should start thinking about asserting yourself, especially if you’ve got comfortable in a role. The guide https://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/03/05/10-ways-to-be-more-confident-at-work/ can give you a few pointers.
There Are More Career Options Than Ever Before
There’s a wide variety of roles that did not exist 20 years ago, all with several different subsets. If you think it’s better to play it safe with your career, you may not be taking advantage of what is out there. Many people in their late 20s and 30s can feel it is better to play it safe due to numerous responsibilities. When we start thinking like this, we don’t take advantage of the vast smorgasbord of career roles out there. Perhaps, we need to look at what Generation Z believes is important when it comes to choosing a career, and typically, being well-paid is not priority number one.
Some organizations are doing their best to alter the culture of the workplace by providing several different benefits beyond a good salary, however, there is a common mistake most of us make: if you don’t look for a career that you love but go for the money instead, you will end up being unfulfilled.
More people than ever are migrating careers in their 40s and 50s. It is never too late to make changes in your life, but those who feel that it’s too late need to remember that they have several transferable skills. Even though those who go back to work after raising children may find themselves in over their heads, they have the benefit of life experience. It’s about finding those organizations that value experience more than qualifications.
Frankly, there is little evidence to show that a qualification is truly worthwhile in the vast majority of careers (apart from highly specialized ones), and because there are more career options than ever before, it allows all of us to think twice about settling into something for a long stretch. If you are playing it safe in your career, you might potentially be missing out on what could give you a far more fulfilling life.
A “Job” Versus a “Career”
There is a big difference between the two. If you play it safe with your career, thinking you need to stay in your lane, you are missing out on the vast majority of roles available and letting yourself go to waste. Someone who can fully immerse themselves in their career should feel the desire to go to work every single day, which so few of us feel. Some people, for the sake of convenience, opt for a job, which involves a strict set of duties that are performed every single day because there is no desire to challenge themselves.
Arguably, if you want to play it safe with your career, you can stick to something that doesn’t challenge you as you’ve got other responsibilities outside of work, for example, being a carer. But if you think into the future and will be full of regret because you decided to stick to one thing, you owe it to yourself to opt for something different.
We can all have an epiphany at any stage in our lives; some people wake up after years in a job that provided plenty of progressions, only to realize that it wasn’t what they wanted to do. Playing it safe with your career can provide some sort of benefit, but this is only if you want diminishing returns.
Playing it safe doesn’t just mean you are not fulfilling your potential, but it can be incredibly damaging to your well-being, your confidence, and your sense of self. As we spend one-third of our lives working, surely we owe it to ourselves to change our mindset and do something that provides us with meaning in life.
Have you gone through this experience? Has the pandemic caused you to question your career path? Let me know about your experience in the comments below.
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