A recent Bloomberg Businessweek article reviewed a study that found two-thirds of the study participants (who were of all ages) felt their most recent years at work were their happiest. Furthermore, roughly 60 percent of participants thought their careers would get better, while workers age 55 believed they would reach their greatest success in 7 years.
This is good news. It’s nice to have some evidence that things will get better. But in that statement, therein lies the problem. Before our most recent years and our hopeful future how much time did we spend that we felt wasn’t good enough – frustrated with an entry level position or unclear about what we wanted to become.
Our career isn’t something that will happen in the future, it’s happening now. The boundaries we place between ourselves and when we tell ourselves our career will actually commence – the completion of a graduate degree or certification, the raise, the promotion – are superficial. The boundaries are of our own making. We don’t perceive the lives of our fellow students’ or colleagues’ as standing still even though they may have the same goals as ourselves. We view their lives as a continuum. We should learn to be so gentle with ourselves.
Reframe. Instead of telling yourself you’re in a dead-end job and success will only come when you have achieved the next step, tell yourself you’re holding your ground while you are working on improving your situation. We should think positive thoughts for our future, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be positive today.