All work and no play
We have a tendency to separate work and leisure. Work is seen as hard or boring and what we do outside of work as fun, pleasurable and fulfilling. We do not believe that work can be meaningful and enjoyable. Or we think that to be successful in our career we have to sacrifice work-life balance, health and time. Consequently we endure work because we lack the conviction that it could be different.
‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’
This is a very British phenomenon. As a culture we place a high value on modesty and discourage ‘showing off’. This can result in a reluctance to advertise our successes and put ourselves forward for promotion, for fear of appearing ‘pushy’. Women are particularly prone to shying away from the spotlight, which disadvantages them in career progression.
Many people in senior positions suffer from ‘imposter syndrome’, where they think they are a fraud and only got to this point by luck. They are fearful that someone will ‘find them out’. This means they are constantly in a state of insecurity and lack a belief in their own skills. They may be doing an excellent job but no amount of positive feedback will alter their self-perception.
Old dogs and new tricks
If someone has been in their job for a long time it is easy for them to think that they are not equipped to do anything else. They can be blinkered to seeing the wealth of experience and transferrable skills they have accumulated.
It’s not so bad
People tolerate general dissatisfaction by underplaying the negative aspects of their job. They would rather stay in a situation where they are familiar with the downsides rather than address the problems. Thus they never discover the joy of doing a job they love.
Receiving a regular salary and good pension can lock people into a job and make them feel secure. However, the world of work today is more fluid and a job for life is no longer the norm. Those embarking on careers now can expect to make seven or more career shifts. Job security is an illusion.
In times of recession reasons for not making career changes are magnified. It increases the perception that there are no jobs out there. Redundancies have drastically increased but this also offers great opportunities to do something innovative. New businesses and portfolio working have swelled. And most people grasp the moment to do something completely different after they are made redundant.
The underlying reason
Fear and doubt.
The unknown by definition is unchartered territory and any change involves moving from the known to the unknown. This takes you out of your comfort zone and causes anxiety, but is a necessary step to development, growth and learning. Imagine what life would be like if you never took any risks and tried to avoid all change. What needs to change first is mindset, attitudes and beliefs. Coaching is an effective way of tackling beliefs that hold you back and stop you from making changes.