Don’t Define Your Career In Negatives

I'm certain you've been asked by others (and asked yourself), what your career is 'about" or "what you do."  If you haven't, chances are you're reading this blog by accident.

Anyway, when you're asked (or ask yourself) that question, I'm sure you can spout forth a list.  There's what you do, who you interact with, and what you don't do.  We often are aware of the former, but I find people will often go into lists of what they don't do, what their career is not about, with surprising ease.  It's almost as if we are more aware of the positives than the negatives.

Having to describe careers in negatives is something we often have to do – to battle stereotypes, to note differences from similar careers, and so on.  However, despite these necessary negatives, I often hear people go into negatives with what I can only call a gratuitous amount of detail.  It seems this detail is brought on my some need to explain what they don't do.

Now I'm sure there's many reasons for people to describe their careers in negatives, but frankly you wan't to avoid overdoing it.  Many is the time I've seen people describe their careers and jobs with so many negatives, so many "I don'ts" that it seemed their "dont's" were more important than their "dos".  It seems once people entered the state of having a ton of "don'ts" in their careers their whole life was just what they couldn't or wouldn't do.

If you describe your career in so many don'ts, you're trapped.  There are things you won't try – because you don't.  There are people you won't work with – because you don't.  There are paths you can't see – because you don't do those things.

The more negatives you have, the less potential you have to grow in your career, the less opportunities you will try, the less dreams you will have.

Are you defining your careers in negatives?  Look for these signs:

  1. Ask yourself how your current job or career differs from other people with a similar job and career.  Does your list contain a large amount of negatives?
  2. When you try to figure out how to improve things in your job or career, do you discard ideas because they're "things you don't do"
  3. When you look at the next stage of your job, and what you can do, does your mind leap to what you don't want to do, shouldn't do, or don't think your job should involve?
  4. On the job do you constantly saying "that isn't my job"?

Negatives limit you in your job and career.  Make sure that they're not dominating your options.

– Steven Savage