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  • The “Little Mermaid Principle” for Career Advancement

    Career Advancement photo from ShutterstockIn my previous two blog posts I shared wisdom from Tarzan and The Lone Ranger. Realizing that these are both male and old characters, I will do my best to move forward to more recent fictional characters from which we can learn. This week, let’s examine Disney’s The Little Mermaid.

    If you or your children grew up in the 1990’s or later, you have probably seen the movie The Little Mermaid. Unlike all her sisters, Ariel  was not complacent to live “under the sea.” She longed for the adventure of the unknown – the life above the ocean. Which brings me to what I call The Little Mermaid Principle for Career Advancement:

    There is always something better and you can find it if you are willing to take calculated risks and be a proactive job seeker.

    Every time during my corporate career that I found myself in a job or company I did not enjoy, I conducted a proactive (clandestine) job search and got something better. Over and over again I changed jobs, roughly once every three years. Today, two to three years is the average job tenure… whether you like it or not.

    If you like your employer, then perhaps you can conduct an internal job search or (my favorite) create your own job. Here is a recent client example that I hope will inspire you:

    Andy came to me earlier this year and said that he liked his employer but did not feel he was well utilized in his current job. Also, his current job was not in alignment with the career path he desired to take. He could see no way to advance if he stayed in this current organization. So, we worked through a process that involved identifying where he wanted to be in five years and what the job would look like that could be the stepping stone to achieving his five year goal.

    There was just one problem… The job that Jack desired did not exist in this company. So, we identified the person to whom such a job should report and formulated a plan for Jack to approach that person and propose the creation of his desired position. A few conversations later (and with some modifications to fit the needs of his desired boss), the position was created and Jack got the job! He also got a $10,000 raise.

    In this example, Jack conducted a proactive job search within his existing employer. Whether internally or externally, I am 100% certain that a job exists that will better utilize your abilities, will make you happier, and will advance your career more rapidly. If necessary, you can even create it.

    Studies consistently find that over 50% of currently employed people are not happy in their jobs. This is a crying shame, since they all have the ability to find something better. What about you? Are you part to the 50%+ who should be heeding The Little Mermaid Principle, taking calculated risks and conducting a proactive job search?

    Maybe your co-workers seem satisfied, like Ariel’s sisters. But, I can guarantee you a high percentage of them are not. They are just sucking it up, putting a good face on a career situation that is nowhere near what they truly desire.

    You don’t have to settle for less than you deserve. Stop the excuses. Get yourself moving. There is something better out there for you. Today is the best day of all to get started, taking action to gain the job you desire.

    Richard Kirby is a Vistage Chair (http://www.vistage.com), executive coach (http://www.executivecareerconsultant.com), and author of the book/eBook Fast Track Your Job Search (http://tinyurl.com/k39rb2u). He helps business owners improve their business operations' financial performance and helps individuals improve their career financial performance. Richard is a Board Certified Coach (BCC) in career coaching and an ISO-recognized Certified Management Consultant (CMC).

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    Posted in Job Search, Personal Branding, Skill Development, Workplace Success
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