I think it’s safe to assume that everyone reading this article likes to be comfortable in life. The inevitable stress that comes with major life changes can be enough to knock even the most even-keeled person into disarray as they scramble to regain a sense of normalcy and re-establish their daily routine. Employment is a critical part of life and finding a new job is commonly listed as one of the most stressful life events a person can go through. It’s easy to see why people aren’t too interested in finding a new job once they settle into their current one.
Despite the fact that staying put in your job is comforting, I find that people sometimes remain at a position far longer than they should. They are either being underpaid, overworked, or a combination of both. Despite the fact that these workers are not doing what’s best for their career, they choose not to look for other employment elsewhere. More often than not, the reasons they have for staying put aren’t as compelling as they might think. The following is the first in a series of articles looking at bad excuses to stay at your current job long after you should have moved on to a new one. Without further ado, let’s get to excuse number 1:
Bad Excuse #1: “I’m comfortable here.”
On the surface, this excuse seems perfectly reasonable. After 3 or 4 years in one job, its likely that most workers find themselves in a very comfortable situation. You know (roughly) what you’ll be doing at work each week. You know the people, the systems, the name of everyone on your floor, and which soda machine dispenses the coldest refreshments. You can practically drive to and from the office with your eyes closed*! Your routine is set and you can often get through your workday on autopilot. This, my friends, is called The Comfort Zone: a warm and cozy safety net that people often settle into for years and years. The longer you stay in The Comfort Zone, the harder it becomes to leave.
I know what you’re thinking. Why should anyone leave a job that they’re comfortable in? If they’ve been there for that long, management must be happy with their performance, right? They know everyone and everything. They have seniority and influence. It sounds like the perfect situation to be in. One of my favorite sayings can help address this question. “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” If you aren’t being challenged, and I mean truly challenged at work, your personal and professional development at your workplace are in serious jeopardy. You spend (approximately) one third of your waking hours at work. If you’re doing nothing more than coasting along, I can’t possibly see how your job could be fulfilling. Humans need to be challenged to stimulate growth. People stuck in a “dead end” job likely stopped being challenged a long time ago. If you can somehow coast along in a job like this for several years and get standard raises along the way, more power to you, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
If that’s not enough reason for you, try this on for size. Each new position you take will increase your skill set, your professional network, and the number of opportunities available to you, both professionally and otherwise (not to mention the size your your paycheck). If you were laid off suddenly after 8 years in one job, would you be “current” on all the latest trends and methodologies in your field? Or would you simply be an expert in the systems that your specific company used. When I got laid off, I was working for a company that used rather…dated…technology. I spent over two years there and during that time, I had to learn new systems and programming languages to do my job. However, I didn’t learn anything during my time there that could be considered “current”, let alone “cutting edge” by any standards. When I found myself looking for work, I realized that I needed to get caught up fast if I wanted to compete for IT jobs in a cut-throat job market.
Do me a favor and evaluate your own current position. Have you been at your job for a while? Do you still feel challenged at work? Are you there because your job is advancing your salary, career, and professional skills? Or are you there because you’ve settled in nicely? If you find that you’re in The Comfort Zone, now’s the time to re-evaluate your career. Maybe it’s time to move on to something that can help challenge both your mind and the strength of your wallet. Happy searching!
*How To Land A Job does NOT recommend operating a motor vehicle with your eyes closed. Please adhere to all local and federal driving laws where applicable.