The general debate when talking about career paths is always around remote and regular office work.
But there are so many other opportunities people have already taken advantage of to improve their work lives.
Freelancing, entrepreneurship, side gigs, book writing, dog walking, recording audiobooks, volunteering, research studies, or just simply crafting something and selling it occasionally.
Just think about this yourself for a second or ask a couple of your friends. Most of them will have some kind of an idea as to what their ideal “way of making money looks like”:
“I want to work on an island.”
“I am a nomad at heart so I want to spend each year in a different country.”
“Home is where I find my comfort.”
“There’s no way I’m working more than 2 days/week.”
Even “The typical office job gives me security.”
These are all scenarios we’ve heard before from those around us.
What’s one similar career expectation (realistic or not) you’ve heard from your peers? Share in the comments below!
This thread on Reddit is also a fun read on how others relate to their professional life choices:
So get this:
It’s all a matter of matching a job to the individual.
Unfortunately, companies are not prepared for this. And I doubt they will be anytime soon.
Very few companies are making changes by accepting remote workers, lowering their number of worked hours/week, or switching to a 4-day workweek.
That’s why so many people are still unhappy at work for endless reasons:
- low pay
- lack of benefits
- bad coworker relationships
- lack of respect
- entitled customers
- being ordered to do things
- poor growth opportunities
- no schedule flexibility
- the company’s pyramid scheme
- false promises
- incompetent leaders (yes, that’s a common thing)
- having to work overtime
- feeling out of place
- missing proper training for the job
- having to do someone else’s job and getting no credit for it
- boredom (as a result of routine)
- office politics and rules
- lack of purpose or goals
- constant stress
- poor work conditions
- even just doing nothing at all at work and trying to look busy
For these reasons, millions of people quit their jobs annually. 31% of them within the first 6 months. 😢 It has even become a normal thing to expect someone to hate their job whatever that is or suspect they’re lying when they say they actually enjoy theirs.
All in all, regardless of the type of job you choose to go for, remember to keep advancing. At both a professional level and financially. It’s actually proven that employees who stay at a company for 2+ years are paid less.
How does that even work?
Let me explain it:
- You get a new job.
- One year later you get a raise. The average pay raise/year is only 3%. And it’s been like this for quite a few years. Few are lucky enough to get the 10% they ask for.
- Another year and you get another raise. Add in an extra 3%.
- Another raise, another 3%.
- In your fourth year at the job, you’ve already reached an additional 9% since you got hired and can for the 12%. If you change jobs though, you can even double your initial salary. There’s only so much a company can give you. Think about it. You leave and they can hire someone again and give them the salary you first got or even less.
Or at least that’s how bad employers think.
On the sunny side of human resources, 87% of employers are turning employee retention into one of their top priorities for the following years. That’s because they’re realizing the hidden costs of replacing a highly-trained individual.
An example? Replacing a CEO that earns $100,000 annually would cost $213,000. And that’s just to get someone else in the exact same position.
It’s all about extra costs as this article by Josh Bersin states:
- You have to pay recruiters to find the right candidates and conduct a series of interviews and tests.
- Add in the growing costs for job advertising.
- You need to start training the new employee from ground zero and get them accustomed to the company’s policies.
- It can take new team members years to reach their top productivity and performance, let alone become highly engaged within the organization.
- Trust issues can settle in until your existing team gets to know and interact with the new hire.
- Work on projects might go slower until the new worker gets a full hang of how things go around it.
And the solutions to these problems lie only at each company’s levels. What their work policies are, how lenient they are, and even what kinds of people they work with.
Remote work and extra perks are not always a good guide to success. Offering remote work possibilities does lower staff turnover by 25% but it doesn’t eradicate it.
So how willing are you to fulfill your employees’ needs at work? To lower employee turnover rate, companies are taking a bunch of preventive measures like:
- hold exit interviews to understand WHY people are leaving and pave a better career path for future hires
- improve the benefits they offer and make them distinguishable from the mass of perks other companies provide
- hold regular feedback sessions with current employees to avoid turnover
- give realistic and attainable growth and training opportunities without failing to stick to the promises that the employers make during the hiring process
- pair people with similar interests and personalities within the same team and hold team building events to keep teams bonded
- avoid lying in job descriptions and therefore creating false expectations
- ensure the company is a right fit for the new hire and can align with his/her goals
- steer clear from possible hierarchies that might impact employee performance and morale
Listening to people can go a long way. Particularly during the hiring process. Work relations are in many ways just like your outside of the workplace relationships. After all, human interaction is at the base of both.
Sadly, we often forget about the human factor as we’re all caught up within deadlines and new client demands. Think of parenthood if you’re more familiar with it. When your child asks for a toy (or book if you’re lucky), you think about it for a while and ultimately end up buying it. Or at least gifting something similar or suggesting an alternative.
Now back to the workforce. You’re a CEO and one of the team leaders in your company asks for a 15% salary raise. Do you just say no? Clearly not. You get a one-week time span to consider the proposal, accept it, or come up with a better alternative. This will show employees you care and appreciate their work. Otherwise you’d just say no and hire someone else to do the job.
This is obviously a basic example. Besides responding to a simple request, there’s also anticipating a need. Like that employee that’s been in your company for 5 years and sure as hell deserves a bonus. Or that other team member who needs to advance into a senior position so you might want to sponsor their training.
And beyond all this, there’s the highly important and often neglected: employee engagement.
Engaged employees are happy employees. No big secret here.
It’s about taking a few minutes each day to ask about your employee’s day and well-being and ensure regular one-on-one discussions.
It’s about commitment [if this term makes everything clearer] beyond just feeling satisfied with a workplace or position. From both sides. In 2 steps:
- The employer does his/her best to stay connected to the employee, be open in the communication process, show they care, and contribute to the hire’s development.
- In return, the employee is delighted and willing to work for more than just a paycheck. They’re motivated to give their best for extra recognition, improved morale, and, who knows, maybe even for the advancement of the employer’s company.
Engaged employees become strong ambassadors of your brand and having a turnover rate that’s close to zero will put your company in the limelight. Provided you keep up the good job.
You don’t need to be under an employment contract to be engaged in your work though. Freelancers or independent workers and crafters get this opportunity too. Here are a few points you can strike through to see how many opportunities you have to feel immersed [in a healthy way] in your work:
- I know what I’m supposed to do at all times.
- I have all the resources I need to work.
- I can give my best every day.
- I receive recognition for my work.
- You continue to find internal or external motivation to keep it up and become better at your craft.
- I feel like my job is important or it brings me great satisfaction.
- I am willing to deliver my best work and services.
- I have a dependable person I can collaborate with.
- I’m constantly monitoring my progress.
- I have taken all or most growth and educational opportunities.
On the other hand, you’re not engaged at work if you’re constantly anxious, you’re always just trying to make time pass so you can go home, are looking for new opportunities, don’t feel like you receive the recognition and appraisal you need, think you’re not evolving, or you find no motivation in your work.
To take it back where we started this article, it’s all a matter of how right a certain kind of job is for an individual. Office jobs are not for everyone. Remote work is not for everyone. Just because a person likes the independence of freelance life doesn’t mean you wouldn’t prefer a regular office job and have someone else put all your tasks in order for the day.
Every type of work path you choose comes with its ups and downs. So before you’re thinking about going a certain way or changing your career entirely, consider your needs and, most importantly, personality type. The DiSC® personality test is a good place to start. The SHL Occupational Personality Questionnaire is also commonly used during the recruitment process to understand a candidate’s personality and predict performance.
And be prepared for change. We’re not meant to work the same job (or even career) our entire lives. Even routine lovers will feel the need to at least switch their routine every once in a while. The explanation is simple: we evolve as people and the events around us influence us and our life trajectories. This should be your most important take away for today.
Yes, personality traits do change in time and they all add up until you’ll eventually notice you’re starting to make different types of decisions and have distinct preferences from your past self. Ever noticed this?
I recommend you take the Myers-Briggs test today to find out which of the 16 personality types you fall under. Take the test each year to see when and how your personality evolves [tried and tested]. From my own experience, it’s usually an aspect of your personality that gets shifted, often as a result of an impactful event or person in your life.
Or, if you’re like me and you’re not sure whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, you’ll get either of the results based on your current life situation or as you get to know more about the world [wisdom comes with age 🙏]. I take the test twice a year and always see fluctuations between these two aspects.
If you’re one of the lucky ones who’s got the hang of their career, share your thoughts in the comments below. Is it something your employers are doing to keep you engaged or have you taken your professional growth in your own hands? What work direction have you chosen to pursue in life? What’s keeping you engaged?
Until next time, best of luck on your path! 😌