Time is Running Out

What does “urgent” mean to you?

Say you are underwater and need to breathe. Or you can’t find a bathroom when you need to go. Or you are in the ambulance on the way to the emergency room.

These illustrate conditions that we might all agree are “urgent.”

But there is another species of urgency…

Suppose you are the captain of a cargo ship or a tanker that needs time to negotiate a turn. In that case, it becomes urgent to begin the turn long before you actually have to execute it.

Or suppose you are doing something to your health (such as drinking or eating too much) that if you do not stop immediately will lead to disease or even death at some point in the future. So even if the consequences may come much later, it is still urgent to change behavior now.

So it is with your career.

Often we see candidates putting up with too much work, obnoxious colleagues, low pay, little recognition, a lack of fulfillment… putting off a change for another day, another week, another month, another year… until their careers have slipped by them even as their bitterness and frustration grow. We see this literally thousands of times each year.

Here is one example drawn from a survey that prospective clients fill out to help us understand their circumstances. The candidate says he is a Senior Risk Manager in Chicago making $150,000-$200,000 per year. Here are a few of his responses as to why he needs to make a change:

  1. How long have you considered a change: “3 years”
  2. How many hours have you spent searching per week: “20”
  3. Do you have attractive offers pending: “No”
  4. What is your motivation for making a change?
  • Decreasing likelihood of promotions
  • Employer management is changing
  • At my age a career change is necessary
  • Lack of job security
  • Position not consistent with career goal

Three years! He says he has been thinking about making a change for three years!

You may know Andrew Marvell’s famous quote:

“But at my back I always hear Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near…” [See source.]

The poet is referring to the creep of mortality that no matter who you are or what you have accomplished, you still have limited time on this earth and with every passing day that time slips away. Certainly, Andrew Marvell is in search of something other than professional advancement in his poem, a good reminder that we should probably work to live and not the other way around.

But, you say… now is not the time, I don’t have the money, I have another interview next week… and a dozen other familiar excuses to not get serious about your career change. Human beings are incredibly adept at rationalizing doing nothing even when all of the evidence points out that action is warranted. People who change jobs judiciously during the course of a career typically earn significantly more money over the course of their lifetimes. (Read more.)

So, what about you?

Will you also wait another three years and suffer all of those burdens in your current occupation or will you begin to make the necessary changes now so as to arrive at your professional destination with time to spare and more money in your pocket to enjoy what life you have left?

How can we help? We help executives clarify their career objectives—often in new and stimulating directions—and discover the role of their choice. Our methods are proven—thousands of times over. We help clients get results. We clarify, guide, support, magnify, and accelerate what individual candidates can do on their own because each client is supported by a team of six experienced career change professionals, massive data resources, and a process that has regularly yielded us a Forbes ranking in the top 0.5% of the business.

What are you waiting for?

Peter Irish, CEO
The Barrett Group

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