Friday, February 5, 2010

Revolutionary Man - The Top 3 Reasons Smart Guys Get Trapped in Soul-Sucking Work

Another good post from Jayson at The Revolutionary Man.

The Top 3 Reasons Smart Guys Get Trapped Soul-Sucking Work

Mon, Feb 1, 2010

life purpose

If there was a car accident and you were the first one the scene, chances are you would respond and immediately lend yourself to the situation. Right? Most men would step up and serve in that moment without question, without hesitation.

How is it that some guys can really step up when it matters most, but in the day to day routine of life hold back so much? What will it take for you to “respond” to the call of your life?

What mistakes have you made that have you in a career that is luke warm? What are you doing about it?

If you still reading, you are at least aware that there is a problem. If you read my blog, you know there’s more out there.

Some of you are in the initial phase of career change. Some of you are just realizing there is a problem. And others of you are well along the path, having already taken some big risks toward the future, your life purpose, and what you want.

In this culture, work matters. Even though it is only what you do, for many men it becomes your identity. And, if you don’t like your work, that has a big impact on who you are as a man and how you are showing up in the world.

If you’re anything like me, a man’s road of career development is frustrating, challenging and relentless. It’s what I wake up in the morning every day having to face.

Let’s look at the top 3 reasons you, and men like you, play it safe, hate their job and continue to hold back from what’s possible.

REASON NUMBER 1- You Let Someone Else be the Leader.

You got on the wrong train and became a follower. You did what you were supposed to do or needed to do, rather than what you wanted to do.

Before we dive further into this point, it is important to understand the rationale men use in their career development and what kinds of men they are. From my experience, unhappy career men are divided into four categories:

Man A. The Hamster

Somewhere along his life path, often in his 20’s, a man lands a good paying job with the potential for career advancement. Without doing a serious inquiry and innocently enough, he takes the job and then the years go by.

This man likes stability and stays in that job until he retires. This type of man was more common in my father’s generation. This man gets on the hamster wheel early and for some dog-gone reason, stays on the damn wheel.

Man B. The strategist

This guy will do some serious searching early in his career and may change jobs several times in his 20’s and even in to his 30’s until he settles with a firm or a company. He may go to grad school to pursue an MBA, to further his skills and to make more cash.

This guy stays with a job for no more than 2 years before moving on to a better job—better pay, benefits, office views, and titles with more clout and credibility. In this case he is looking for “career advancement” and so he develops a skill set or two he is good at and finds work that supports that advancement.

Men tell me that at this stage they are climbing the corporate latter. Other men in this category have told me that they seek more challenging positions so they can continue to grow as a leader within the workplace.

Man C—The Family Man.

Family men tell me that they had to get a serious job to support the family, the mortgage, and the other responsibilities that come along with “growing up” and being an adult.

As his family grows, so does his need for more money to afford more things the family needs—a bigger house, another car, more money for schooling, more mouths to feed etc. The upgrades often continue, as does the necessary salary to support it.

Man DThe wanderer

This unique guy attempts to find work that feeds him. This man takes some bold risks and is pretty adventurous. This guy is wandering, unclear of what to do and only takes jobs to support his lifestyle. He is pretty ambivalent about work and money, but knows there is more to life than work.

This guy often takes a low paying job supposedly “doing what he loves” but ends up doing it for a long time which leads to him feeling “stuck.”

These guys often work in the restaurant business, ski industry, retail clothing and other “service industry” related jobs. This guy may be rebelling against what man A-C do, but is equally unhappy. (This was me).

Some men like their work, good for them

Now, to be fair, all of these types of men have the potential to be fulfilled with their work and plenty of these men are happy, fulfilled and excited about the work they do and the situation they are in. Good for them. We are not talking about them, however. We’re talking about you.

It begins to make sense why men choose career paths that they do. Which man out of the four are you? What do all of these men have in common?

Did you do what you were “supposed to do” or needed to do? Did you stop looking for what really inspired you and so you settled? Perhaps while at the station, you just got on the career building train and found it hard to exit.

The most common theme between these men is that they let external stressors such as starting a family, debt from student loans or credit cards, a mortgage, and other peoples expectations, drive their behavior. This is known as having “external motivation” as opposed to intrinsic (or internal) motivation. And this kind of thinking is understandable.

As you know, once you are on the train and the further from the station you travel, the harder and harder it becomes to get off the train. You followed the crowd and they were on the train too!

The longer and further from the station, the more you will override that tiny voice that knows it could be different. Most men have that voice. How loud that voice is depends on the man.

Commonly, instead of directing your energy to finding your life’s work, you put that life force into career development and management, even though you don’t absolutely love your job.

You may compare yourself to your peers and end up competing against them. Some men even quietly compete against their fathers as if to prove something.

Instead of seeking for and fighting for what truly gets you up in the morning, you put that same energy into goals within a job that doesn’t fulfill you.

So, mistake number one is that for whatever reason, you became a follower.

You chose to follow instead of lead.
Read the rest of the article to see the other two reasons men mess up and end up hating their work.


Tony Noland said...

Interesting article, thanks.

Stan said...

It's actually a pretty odious article, like most of the stuff you post from "coaches" of one type or another. They're essentially vampires, ambulance chasers. They prey on men's misery because they have something to sell which is offered as the cure. If you're not ON FIRE and READY TO DIE FOR YOUR JOB, then you're missing out on life! If you've compromised in order to support your family, you're a COWARD who BECAME A FOLLOWER INSTEAD OF A LEADER! And then there is a childish quiz or pencil and paper exercise which is the gateway behavior into signing up for a seminar or a set of affirmation tapes.

Maybe what's needed is the discrimination to see that the narcissistic self-development industry is a symptom of the cultural problem, not part of the solution.