How Your Safe Career Isn’t Sustainable

A good career is one that’s sustainable.  It can take hits and return, it continuously evolves to more stability, and of course keeps paying the bills.  It’s like a sustainable agricultural practice, or use of raw materials, or what have you.

The thing is we mix it up with “playing it safe.”  There’s a big difference between a stable career and playing it safe.

Playing it safe is about doing things the same old way you did them because innovation seems threatening.

Playing it safe is about holding on to things no matter what – even if you don’t need them.

Playing it safe is about not taking chances even when taking chances is what’s needed.

Playing it safe is about not changing your goals even when they no longer form an overall, sustainable, picture.

Playing it safe . . . is usually stagnation.  Stagnation doesn’t last, just the same way stagnant water gets rather disgusting.  You career ends up all green and sludgy and attracts mosquitos.

OK, I sort of lost the metaphor there.

Anyway, when you’re playing it safe in your career, there’s no guarantee it’s sustainable – and quite likely it’s not.  You need to think of what you have to do, what you have to learn, to make sure the good state of affairs continues and improves.  The same old same old won’t cut it.

Your Next Step?  Look at your career and ask how sustainable it is, and what you have to do to improve that state – even if it scares you.

Steven Savage