Many smart people make an honest mistake when setting goals for the New Year. They start with WHAT they want to accomplish. They set “Stretch Goals” and create detailed action plans to forge ahead with confidence.
I’m about to share with you how not having a solid WHY on track may be costing you more than just money.
When I was a recruiter for a placement agency, I interviewed as many as ten people daily. It shocked me to realize that most people really haven’t figured out their WHY for taking a job much further than a paycheque.
One day a bright, young woman came in to interview for an accounting position. Within the first five minutes of talking I felt her pain. She had left a position that had squelched her creativity. In fact, she mentioned the word “Creative” at least three times in that brief time. Creativity in accounting? Is there such a thing? Yes … and not the illegal kind. It has to be the right kind of company and you have to have great managers. It is possible. This wasn’t one of those companies.
“I need you to be completely honest with me.” I primed her for a tough question. “What makes you think this new accounting position will be any different from your old one?” … She looked down, sideways, anywhere but at me. She started about three sentences she couldn’t finish and then admitted to me “I just want a job.”
“Yes, I understand, but you won’t be happy. You’ll feel secure at first and you’ll tell yourself you can make this job different, but I’ve interviewed the company. You will run into the exact same problems and end up miserable, guilt ridden and hating your life within a year.”
Still she persisted. She pointed out that she had all the qualifications. They didn’t have to train her. She was completely ready to do the job. She was the best candidate on paper, but NOT the best actual candidate for my client, because her WHY wasn’t connected.
What do I mean by connecting your WHY?
A true WHY is more than just a paycheque. It’s directly connected to your Values and your unique Interests.
For example, I love meeting with people and learning new things. My top Core Values include Honesty, Creativity, Variety, Quality, Cooperation and Challenge. I took a position as Office Manager for a graphics and printing company once. I had an interest in graphic design and I loved trouble shooting problems, for both customers and staff. It was a new challenge, would fill my need for creativity and variety and I would be in charge of a team (Cooperation). YAY! Until …
- they made me lie to a newer worker,
- they told me to push production and to settle for “good enough” even when my instincts told me the client wouldn’t be happy, and
- they made me lie to a client and sell them an inferior product at the same price, telling them it was actually better than the one they had ordered.
All of a sudden my original WHY wasn’t enough. Research shows that you can only stay in a position where your core values are compromised for a maximum of 2 years before you will quit or be fired. In the meantime your job satisfaction, self-esteem and performance will drop. I lasted just under 2 years. I quit, but not before I was broken and full of self-doubt.
As a recruiter, years later, I had to deal with many people just like me – broken from staying too long in a painful situation where their core values were regularly stomped on. Do I blame the companies for carelessly destroying these fine workers? NO!
It’s not your company’s job to know your core values and your unique interests. No one but you can determine if you are a good fit for your position. It’s up to you to make sure you’re in the right role and the right company for YOUR right reasons. Trust me, lying to yourself and saying “It’s okay. They pay me well. It’s just a job.” will not float you for very long. In the meantime you will disengage. Your performance will be all over the map. Your credibility and your self-esteem will suffocate.
The three major costs of not having your own personal WHY straight:
- Time: If you aren’t certain of why you make decisions the way you make them, your decisions will take longer to make and you’ll waste even more time second guessing decisions AFTER they’ve been made.
- Money: If you know why you want to achieve specific goals in your life, you will know exactly what your time is worth and the value of anything you choose to trade away. You will stop spending on the frivolous and start investing in what’s important to you.
- MOST important – Credibility: Guard your credibility with your life! It’s far more important than money or position. It determines how much influence you will have on others and how trustworthy they believe you are. When you are inconsistent in your performance or your mood, you will lose credibility in other people’s eyes – at work and OTHER areas of your life. No paycheque is worth that sacrifice.
What’s your WHY? What are your Core Values and Interests? Have you connected them to your current position or are you one of the broken, full of self-doubt, not sure what to do?
You CAN connect your WHY without losing your job. Curious?
I’m happy to do a 30 minute Strategy Session for free.
OR … if you are in the Lower Mainland on Thursday, January 23rd at 7:00PM, come out and get Un-Stuck for 2014.
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