You should never settle when it comes to working. Think about how long you spend at work per week. Then think about how long you’ll be spending working over your lifetime. You might be comfortable due to location, accessibility, colleague friendships but what about ambition, goals and the question of what if which we all ask ourselves.
To not settle you first need to have a goal set and understand your worth. When I first graduated I use to apply for jobs between £15-20k, non-managerial, no experience required because I was so use to seeing ‘unfortunately’ emails when I applied for anything else. I had experience in what I was applying for and due to University, I had the knowledge but the one thing I didn’t know was my worth. It took me years to build confidence and know my worth and that was due to constantly bettering myself with qualifications and by having the right colleagues in my corner to motivate me. “What do you have to lose if you apply for a £30k job”, one colleague said to me and it’s true. The con would be another ‘unfortunately’ email, whereas pros would be they see something in me to move me through the interview stage or even offer me the job.
Until I meet my goal, I never get comfortable in a job. I constantly search to see what jobs are out there. I don’t necessarily apply for them all, but it’s good to understand when during the year more jobs are available and to see what companies are doing in comparison to where you are now. As I said above, it took me a while to know my worth and now, as long as the position looks right for me and the money (including benefits) looks right for me I will shoot my shot and apply. I will only be holding myself back if I don’t.
There will be times when you know your worth and where you wish to be in life however, you might not be ready at that moment in time and that’s ok. If you think you want to be promoted or you want a certain managerial role however you’ll be readier in 2 years, do what you need to do for your CV and character to stand out in 2 years. If you hit the 2-year mark and the promotion isn’t available or there’s no job within that company you want, don’t be afraid to move on. Find a place that is willing to offer you exactly what you’re looking for. That could take a long time and out of anyone I know this, but sometimes you need to leave a position, take time out, wait and soon enough the right position will come along. If not, think about what is missing. Maybe you need a certain qualification to stand out, or maybe you are looking for work in the wrong location.
If you get to the stage where you have got everything you can out of your job and the company, ask yourself why you’re not pushing yourself further or ask yourself what your next step is. It’s easy to stick to what you know and to get comfortable within that environment. If you’re content then do what you need to do, however, if you’re sitting at work and you feel like something is missing that could be your mind telling you it’s time for a change or to be your own boss.
Be aware of who you confide in at work. Not everyone you smile at is your friend. Just as you have an end goal, someone else you work with does too, and it might just be that your goals are the same. Sometimes healthy competition is needed at work however don’t let people take advantage of you and don’t get left behind. I’ve met some genuine people in previous roles, some I now consider my closest friends, but I have seen people get double-crossed and I have seen workplaces go from sweet to sour. Keep reminding yourself work is work and home is home. Focus on yourself and remember your journey.