Humans are active animals. We are constantly moving, as witnessed by our insatiable desire to travel; driving, biking, going on vacations to far-away destinations. It is tough for most people to stand still for more than a moment, without thinking about what they might be missing. So what causes us to want to stay with a company for two years, five years, twenty years or more? If we have the opportunity to do more, to learn more, and to make more money, why do so many of us give up that chance? Are many of us selling ourselves so short that we would stick with a company, rather than seeing what else is out there?
We all have a pretty good idea of what the economy looks like right now. Sure it is slowly improving, but at a pace that is a lot slower than we'd all like. That being said, there are still lots of job openings out there -- you just have to be open to the idea that "your exact job" may not be one of them. But that shouldn't stop people from looking outwards beyond their horizons. What may be waiting for you could involve learning new skills, making more money, and even moving up the corporate ladder.
The common theme for most people is that they feel a sense of stability and continuity in their current jobs. They can wake up, get ready for work, drive the same route, sit at the same cubicle, and see the same people, with no surprises. But the down side to all this is that we exclude ourselves from great opportunities -- ones which can make the difference between "feeling" comfortable and "being" comfortable. The idea of making more money, having a better title, or working on cool new projects sound really great to the average person, yet the average person is too worried to take the risks necessary to make those things happen.
The other facet of this comfort zone mentality lies in our own limitations. Some of us just aren't that good at what we want to do. Others are just in the wrong business. A great hair stylist probably won't make a very good accountant, and vice-versa. But that shouldn't stop you from trying. In fact, it should drive you to learn more about what you need to do to make that transition. What you can't do today is not so much limitation as it is opportunity.
My HR friend Susan once said to me "More people need to challenge themselves, to find their real strengths." I totally believe that. I have helped many friends find new opportunities, not by giving them jobs or making introductions, but by showing them where their inherent strengths lie, and leveraging those strengths.
Even in today's job market, there are tons of jobs waiting for you, but you have to be flexible enough to tailor yourself to these new positions. Don't be content with your status quo; be willing to open up your horizons. I've opened up mine now more than twenty times -- that's right, more than twenty full-time, professional jobs in 30 years, including more than ten startups. You can imagine how many things I've done, how many technologies I've developed, and the countless people I've worked with.
Your new job is waiting for you, your incredible talents, your great personality, and your innovative passion for new technologies. It's time to leave that 7-year-old job for something new...
.. because that comfy couch you call a comfort zone is getting old and ratty -- just like your job.