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  • Inertia and Persistence as it Relates to Your Career

    Inertia and Persistence.

    Inertia inhibits us from moving forward in our career—persistence is what we need to keep us moving forward in our career.


    I am a baby boomer!

    I was raised to be an employee to go to work for an employer who would take care of me.

    We were also raised to be loyal to our employer no matter what. Therefore, we created a lot of inertia in our careers. Once we started something, we stayed and stayed and stayed… well until we got laid off or something happened to wake us up. For me, that was in 2002 with a near fatal bicycle accident. That accident set in motion a series of actions that has led me to where I am today. Until then, inertia had me stuck.

    In today’s workplace, inertia is a dangerous thing. The world is changing fast, and you need to keep moving forward with your career.


    I have been interviewing entrepreneurs, and one key word keeps coming up—persistence.

    The definition I like the best is:

    “persisting, especially in spite of opposition, obstacles, discouragement, etc.; persevering”

    The opposite of inertia.

    I have helped multiple clients write their brand stories over the last year. In listening to them tell me their stories, I found a common theme—they have been laid off multiple times over the last dozen years. All have gotten back on their feet and moved forward in their careers. They showed persistence in spades.

    Before that first layoff, inertia kept them from preparing for the next career pivot. However, once they were shoved forward and, often, off a figurative career “cliff,” they did not stop until they landed. Unfortunately, inertia would set in again until that next shove.

    See the pattern:

    • We get comfortable, and inertia sets in
    • We get shoved into action
    • Our persistence kicks into gear
    • We land, and inertia returns

    I have seen this over and over again. I have done this in my life. I bet you have, too!

    How can we stay persistent and not let inertia settle in?

    • Take breaks. Yes, take a vacation. Take a day off before you become exhausted.
    • Celebrate success. Stop, sit, and digest the good feelings when you have a success.
    • Analyze failures, but return to the feelings of success. When failures occur—which they will—you have the option to go back to that time of success. Recapture those feelings.
    • Always look forward.
    • Be ever vigilant.

    Persistence will keep your career moving forward.

    Marc MillerCareer Pivot

    Check out my book Repurpose Your Career – A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

    Marc Miller is the founder of Career Pivot which helps Baby Boomers design careers they can grow into for the next 30 years. Marc authored the book Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers published in January 2013, which has been featured on Forbes.com, US News and World Report, CBS Money-Watch and PBS’ Next Avenue. Career Pivot was selected for the Forbes Top 100 Websites for your Career. Marc has made six career pivots himself, serving in several positions at IBM in addition to working at two successful Austin, Texas startups, teaching math in an inner-city high school and working for a local non-profit. Learn more about Marc and Career Pivot by visiting the Career Pivot Blog or follow Marc on Twitter or Facebook.

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