How to read the traffic lights on your career path
Traffic lights were first established in 1868 in London and their main function is to send a signal that indicates whether you are allowed to proceed through the intersection on or not. Anyone able to walk and drive on the streets should understand how traffic lights work. Regardless of the country where you live and the possible variations, traffic light rules are pretty much standard all over the world: green means “go”, amber (yellow) means “precaution” and red means “stop”. If we decided to take a ride on your career path, would you say that you know how to read the signs?
Red means that you need to change your career now!
When you “have to” go to work, you feel like it does not make any sense to spend the day there and you dream about winning the lottery to not have to set foot in your job ever again, well that definitely means that you need to change your job, and even consider a career redirection now. Pay attention to the signals! I know it’s not easy to make changes, but if you are familiar with these feelings you should really consider paying attention to the STOP sign and evaluate the next steps on your career path.
Here are a few signals (red) that will help you identify how bad the situation is: you are not giving 100% to your tasks, you make lots of mistakes, you feel tired and even angry at the end of the day, you get sick very often, you are wishing for the Fridays and cursing the Mondays, you are expecting to get extremely well paid for what you do (which by the way will not be the case most of the time), all you do is complain and criticize everything, you do not feel there is anything to be grateful for.
Amber (Yellow) means that you are in your comfort zone
When you go and leave your job every day at the same time, you only do the tasks that you know you are able to do and you often think “it could be worse, other people don’t have a job at all”- I think you are in your comfort zone. The amber light indicates that you can go on but you have to be cautious. Staying in your comfort zone means that you are doing what you can do, instead of doing what you love to do. You are not inspired and you need external motivation to get up to go to work and make it through the day. In the long run this behavior leads to deception, unhappiness and sometimes anger.
How can you tell that you are parked in the comfort zone?: You have a hard time waking up in the morning, you do your tasks well but you do only what’s required, you think about making a career from your passion but then you think that’s only for very talented people, you eagerly expect the yearly salary raise (if any), you complain regularly with friends and family but when asked what are you going to do about it you say “nothing, I want to stay here a couple more years to get more experience, it’s a good company, it’s good for my CV”.
Green means that you have an inspiring career
When you feel that you have a purpose, that your cause is even bigger than you and that what you do is aligned with your values it means that you have an inspiring career. When you do something that is aligned with who you are and what’s most important to you, you don’t need external motivation (like a salary), you are inspired from within.
Here are some of the signals (green lights) that indicate that you are truly inspired: You feel energized, you can’t wait to start the day, you often think about how you can be better at what you do, you are serving others and you love it, you help others succeed as well, you want to keep reading and learning about what you do, you dare to take on new challenges, you are grateful and you inspire others.
Are you reading your traffic lights correctly? What are the next steps you will take on your career path? You can leave your comments below.