March 5, 2004
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I am sure you have heard the expression, “sometimes
you need to take the bull by the horns,” and other such euphemisms
about taking action. While these sayings are definitely clichés,
like all clichés they hold a bit of truth within them. There are
times in your high-tech career, when you need to (insert your favorite
cliché here) in order to insure that your career keeps moving forward,
no matter what issues you might be facing.
Healthy, wealthy and wise
All these thoughts about bulls, horns and other associated clichés
came about recently when I faced some minor health problems. While I can
ignore work, home and family issues with the best of them, ignoring health
issues simply isn’t possible. No matter how unpleasant the procedure,
you can’t fool around with your health. You simply have to do what
needs to be done. The alternatives are not something you even want to
While it might not seem like it, addressing problems in your career is
just as important. Your career is a major part of your life on so many
different levels. In some ways, your work defines who you are. You derive
some sense of self-worth from the work you do. More importantly, the money
you earn allows you to balance out your life with other important desires.
Anything that impacts your career has the ability to impact your entire
Do it today
If you are facing some troubling issues in your career, and who isn’t,
today is the day to start addressing them. You might think it is easy
to ignore the co-worker who makes your work and life more difficult, or
the domineering boss that seems to think the opposite of negative feedback
is more negative feedback, or the job that forces you into mandatory,
unpaid overtime, but the truth is, each of these effects you in deep and
fundamental ways, whether you admit it or not. You can try to ignore it
or pretend the problems don’t exist, but they will still be there,
wearing on your mind, under the radar, until something makes them impossible
to ignore any longer.
These are the reasons you go home every night totally drained and unable
to do any of the other things that make you happy. These are the reasons
your career feels like a dead end. Even worse, these are the reasons you
suffer from health problems like ulcers, insomnia and maybe even depression.
Not only are major career issues as important as health issues, they can
even cause them.
If you are like me, conflict is not your favorite thing, or even remotely
interesting. Unfortunately, bringing an issue to the fore is the only
way to stop the conflict you are feeling inside. You have to go through
the conflict in order to emerge, better, on the other side. I can guarantee
you that simply setting a meeting, talking to your boss, talking to a
co-worker, or even starting a search for a new job or career will make
you feel better. You don’t even have to address the problem directly
to start feeling the benefits. Moving forward is its own reward. Don’t
believe me -- try it. I have been there on many occasions and I know.
It can be one of the most frightening times of your life, but you will
feel better once it is over.
Whenever you are faced with an unpleasant situation, take action, in whatever
small way you can. In fact, I would recommend a bias towards action in
all situations. Moving, doing, writing, researching, calling, talking
are all ways to move you and your career forward. They all can bring about
that small, necessary feeling of comfort when you have larger issues to
address. Use these good feelings to spur you on to other, more difficult
Don’t let unresolved conflicts take you down the road to a dead-end
career, or worse. Do what you need to do -- today. It is through these
small actions that you will start to address the major conflicts in your
career and life. It will seem frightening and impossible, but imagine
the alternatives. Take action today, no matter how small. It is the first
step into building the career and life you deserve.