Career advancement often plays second fiddle to less important tasks. Is it time for job seekers (and anyone else dreaming of career advancement) to shift their time to more essential matters?
Dr. Tasha Eurich, a career coach and New York Times best-selling author of Bankable Leadership: Happy People, Bottom-Line Results, and the Power to Deliver Both, said that the answer is yes.
“One of the things that I constantly point out to people is that we usually spend more time planning our weddings than we spend planning our success and development in our careers,” Dr. Eurich told StreetID. “There’s a study that I cite all the time that says the average bride spends between 120 and 900 hours planning her wedding. It’s crazy, right? A wedding, if I’m being really generous, lasts maybe a day — eight hours. The average person spends 100,000 hours of their lives at work.”
Dr. Eurich said that people have a “baffling” approach to career development, which she has dubbed “delusional development.”
“‘Delusional development’ is this sort of futile hope that, just because I want to advance, or just because I want to change my career, the simple act of wanting those things will get me where I need to be,” she explained. “It’s the same thing in a lot of companies. There’s an annual development planning process. People put down these development goals, like, ‘I want to be a better listener,’ or, ‘I want to learn financial management.’ But then maybe they read a book or they go to one training class, and they’re surprised when they come back and say, ‘Wow, I really haven’t improved in these things.’”
Dr. Eurich said that the number-one piece of advice that she would give to someone who feels their career has stalled is this: “Whether they want to move up or they want to move out to a different goal, [you need] to take your career development seriously and to think about, you know, ‘If I spent 120 hours planning my wedding, what would it look like if I was planning my career?’”
Three Steps For Success
Dr. Eurich provided StreetID with three steps that job seekers and working professionals can employ to improve their careers.
“The first is to understand the truths about yourself. There’s a lot of ways to do that — you can take a 360 Assessment. I actually have one for free on my website, which is BankableLeadership.com. Or you can talk to someone who will tell you the truth, and just try to figure out, what am I good at? What am I not good at? Are there hidden strengths that I might not see? What’s my impact on other people? For example, if I want to be a leader and everybody hates me and I don’t know it, that would be a problem.”
Step #2: focus on one thing at a time.
“I think part of the ‘delusional development’ is that we have all these lofty aspirations and all these things that we want to be better at, but by wanting to be better at five things, we are better at nothing,” Dr. Eurich explained. “So instead, this ‘one thing at a time’ concept can be fairly revolutionary for people. It’s saying, ‘Be kind to yourself and be reasonable. It’s okay to say, ‘Right now, the only thing that I’m focusing on is becoming a better listener.’”
Step #3: relentlessly and deliberately practice every day.
“Again, what makes a lot of ‘development delusional’ is people just sort of hope that they will stumble upon the tools to get better at these things,” said Dr. Eurich. “Instead, what you need to do is, wake up every day, and be driving and going into the office and saying, ‘Today is the day that I am going to get a little bit better at actively listening to people’ and really using your job or the time you have in your day as a test for that. Some days you’re going to mess up and you’re going to learn from that. Some days you’re going to have these huge breakthroughs. But I think it’s that almost obsessive practice and commitment that you show on a daily basis is what can transform people’s careers.”
Get Hired Now
These days, job seekers have a million options, but we know where they should turn: StreetID. We built StreetID (a financial career matchmaking website) from the ground up to accommodate Wall Street’s growing community of financial professionals. In good times and in bad, current job seekers and those looking to move on in the future can turn to StreetID and sign up for a free account and make a direct connection with relevant candidates and employers.