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Today I want to discuss choices; specifically the pain that can happen when any of us make a choice in careers that leaves us unsatisfied.   Now the two choices when this happens are to stay on the wheel we picked to run on, or hop off and take a new path that we hope isn’t another wheel.


I can write about this because I was once on what I thought was a good career path only to find out that it was a hamster wheel.  I wanted a management job but found that I was in a situation where I was too valuable to my employer as that “reliable guy” who could be plugged into any slot to give my boss relief from all the people who wouldn’t work on homecoming weekend, who didn’t show up, who had a sick child and so on.


I got off that wheel and chose a different path, but I learned a lot on that wheel.  First off know this, your boss doesn’t care if you have a sick child, are depressed and need to have certain days off or whatever else relieves you; but gives your boss gray hair.  He or she cares only about filling a schedule and getting a job done. 


If you can’t work consistently because of any reason at this time or that time, even if it’s because of something as important as a child that is always ill, don’t expect a promotion.   Managers can work all the time, at any time.  You may be valuable as the breakfast chef, don’t get me wrong; just don’t expect to run the kitchen one day.


If you have an attitude that your job is the place to use your cellphone, stand around until chased to work by a supervisor or drink free soda because a monkey can do your job, you’re not going to move up on any job.  How you do the least important job as you see it is how you will do the most important job.  And, by the way, your job is very important to your boss.


Also, unfairly, there are things that hurt you even if you have a good attitude.  If you move and take a job even for the same corporate franchise that you left, the company you work for may just start you at the bottom all over again. 


Now, if you have a good attitude, really try, stay put, show career loyalty, fill in for other people and are good at what you do; what if you still don’t get a promotion obeying all the rules?   Well, there is no easy fix without pain on your part.  Also, if you are on a wheel and even if every gripe you have is true with no fault from you about why you can’t advance, you are still responsible.  Why?


Suppose you are in a new automobile stuck on a railroad track.  Here comes a train.  Do I try to save the new car by gunning the engine or me by jumping out the door? Guess what?  While you decide, even if you are as innocent as a lamb, you are still in the car.  Do nothing, and you’re dead.  Getting off the wheel involves the pain of jumping.  It involves risk taking on your part and sacrifice without blaming anyone but you from now on because only you can take charge. 


The fix may be going to college (you can get degrees now on-line at fully accredited universities) which costs lots of money and getting a real degree in a tough subject like accounting, chemistry or even ultimately an MBA. No, you don’t want a college loan.  You say you can’t sacrifice the time for study because you have a husband or a wife and kids?  It can be very tough. Yet, people go to college in whatever is your situation all the time, keeping the job as a foot in the door if applicable.   The idea is experience and a real degree. 


There are other choices like moving to where there is opportunity.  There are risks, sometimes lots of them.  The choice is yours.   



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  • Jeffrey Ruzicka
    Jeffrey Ruzicka
    Excellant post.  Thank you.
  • PoiioT
    In my coaching practice I hear many of the same refrains. When I ask people how they know these are the factors, they rarely have an answer.It is human nature to look for reasons we can't accomplish, but without independent confirmation, they are excuses. To combat the frustration and anger, take action. Regardless of the reasons, and trust me, you will not get the reason by asking the interviewer or recruiter, the changes are the same. Record a mock interview and review it with a critical eye/friend. Read a comprehensive job search book about all aspects of job search.Make the appropriate changes.Watch how you dress, make all your emails and writing the best it can be and refine your elevator pitch to reflect what distinguishes you from others who do what you do.Once you have made these changes, your job search may just become a lot easier.

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