Sustainability in career

Last week happened to be ‘Earth day’. April 22nd. It was first commemorated in 1970, already.

Talking about Earth day brings the word sustainability to my mind. With what is going on nowadays we probably have a happier planet Earth …

Sustainability is about coexisting, the planet and human civilization.

It is also about supplying for present needs without compromising the needs of future generations. I like that – the “present needs” vs “future needs”.

The present needs of my professional life today vs compromising my professional life in the future. That is sustainability in career terms for me.

There are many synonyms for sustainability, such as continuous, viable, feasible, renewable, imperishable, liveable and worthwhile.

These words can be nicely used in our career “world” as well.

I am a big believer in a sustainable career because if our job is not sustainable, we are not going to be happy. As easy as that. And our body and our mind is going to tell us when there is something wrong. It is a STOP sign alert.

We spent so much time in the office that I cannot honestly imagine not enjoying my time there. It might not be 100% every day but still enjoyable. There are days when everything goes wrong because we didn’t sleep well, there was heavy traffic or something else what will obviously affect our day.

Let’s deep dive into 3 of those synonyms

1. CONTINUOUS

It is about continuous joy for me. Liking what I do. Enjoying my workspace, going to the office every morning knowing that I am going to thrive. Knowing that I am going to have fun. Knowing that I will meet with my colleagues, which are supporting me, nurturing me and understanding me. And I just keep on continuously enjoying what I do.

As I said, not every day is going to be hundred percent, which is normal, but it should be above 70% at least.

Sustainable continuous joy in career does not look like going to the office with a pain in my stomach. The drain of energy when in the office. Doing the job just because you should, you are expected it.

Psychosomatically this will imprint into your body. Your body and mind will show you.

Continuous joy is also your role being a match for you. I am not doing it because someone says so. I am not doing it because I am supposed to do it. e.g. continue the family business while it is not my aspiration.

Continuous sustainability is bigger than going in for a paycheck. It is bigger than staying in the comfort zone only, or maybe being just lazy to act on a change.

2. LIVEABLE OR RENEWABLE

This one for me is the famous work-life balance. And yes it exists and I do not think it is a myth. It differs from person to person. However for sure we can have time for our families & hobbies. I see it as making the decision to have that balance in my life.

I put down my boundaries. I learn how to delegate.

Renewable can also mean rechargeable. Even the best Apple product needs charging, otherwise it will not function.

Although I hear a lot: “I can’t just “not go” to that meeting or I can’t just delegate this report”, whatever it is. I still find it a big fat BS and excuse…

Our mindset plays the Oscar winning main role here.

Let me ask you: “Do you really want to have balance in your life?”

Or maybe not. Because you actually enjoy staying in the “victim” mode. When others are saying: “Oh how do you do that, it is not human to work so much. You need to look after yourself. Me, I would not be able to do it…”.

You are a hero for them however are you for your body and mind?

3. WORTHWHILE

Worthwhile for me is a purpose. Fulfilling. Understanding why I do what I do.

I do not want to suggest here that if we do not like what we do, we should change our job. Because if we just do only that, change our job, we might get to the same cycle of not liking it. Without the most important, that is the understanding. Our own perception about ourselves, knowing ourselves. I prefer to go deep and do a bit of crafting. Job crafting. To understand our very own purpose.

Here is an example:

Say that someone is doing an administrative job entering orders into a system. Which could sound like a boring role without value.

Is it really?

With job crafting you can revise it and say. I am entering the orders into a system to serve others. They can buy those e.g. teeshirts to enjoy them afterwards when out with friends at summer festival. Or with my orders keyed in, others can buy outerwear and not be cold in the winter.

You can say it is silly. But is it really?

Have you noticed how toilet paper became very a valuable commodity to possess recently? And if that person did not enter the orders into a system…no toilet paper to own.

Do you find a purpose in your career? Today. Your future can change and most likely it will.

You develop and evolve. You might become a manager of that order entry team. And with your understanding of this specific role purpose you share and cascade it to others. You empower them to grab & own their purpose in their present moment.

This is worthwhile for me. Without purpose, there is no sustainability in a career.

Next to the purpose in a worthwhile career comes also compensation. I want to focus on the monetary one here, especially.

I hear people complaining that they are not paid enough, and it is not fair and others are paid better etc.

I always ask: “Have you ask for a rise? Have you had at least one conversation with your manager on this topic?”

Many times the answer I get is no. No, because they should see what I do and they should give me what I fairly deserve.

“Should” is a sign of an assumption. So what if they assume that you are fine as you did not say anything or you did not request a discussion on this topic?  

I think that the truth is that we are afraid to ask. We are afraid to have a discussion about compensation as it might be pushy, what would they say, etc, etc…

This mindset block is stopping us from getting what we wish for.

Mindset & behaviour blocks are stopping us from thriving.

Work on them and you will thrive. Work on them and you will have a sustainable career.

If not you can hang in there. However, your body and mind will always reflect the unspoken truth where we disconnect from ourselves. Where we block ourselves. Where we sabotage ourselves.

And that is a pity as clearly it does not need to be the case ;-).

Have fun & Stay yourself.

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