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The Now, The New & The Next in Careers

Break Out of That Rut and Face the Unknown

14 Dec 2015 10:45 AM | Anonymous

By Jack Mulcahy, ACRW
Jack Mulcahy Resume Services

“You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.” – Frederick Wilcox.

I have had to remind myself of that wonderful quote virtually every day since I left my day job to open my resume practice full-time. I took a leap into the unknown by doing so, and asked myself numerous questions, mostly of the “What do I do if the phone doesn’t ring?” variety.

And yet, as I think about it, aren’t we all taking a leap into the dark every day? We wake up and try to maintain some semblance of routine throughout the day, whether it’s to shower first then have breakfast or the other way around. Chances are when we drive to work, we follow the same route every day, and we arrive at work at the same time, where we have our day planned for us.

We surround ourselves with sameness and routine so we don’t have to think about the unknown-the future.

But for all the routines we establish for ourselves, the future still waits for us, and is still completely unknown.

Maybe that’s why we stay in jobs that not only don’t nourish us, they degrade us. We put up with the badgering boss whose “leadership” style is to make everyone around him cower. Or with the supervisor who blocks our advancement because she fears our replacement won’t make her look as good as we do. The devil we know, as the saying goes, is better than the devil we don’t know.

“If I leave this job,” your inner voice says, “who knows what kinds of trouble it may bring?” So instead, you put up with a supervisor who only knows one way to address people-by yelling. Or the manager who always comes up with some emergency project that has to be done right at the end of the day. Or, worst of all (short of sexual harassment), the job that doesn’t quite fit you in the company that definitely has no place for someone of your talents. That last one was yours truly seven years ago, and after taking an extended leave of absence, I was fortunate enough to find work as a resume writer, a profession that combines my writing self with my strong desire to help people.

But the truth is, no matter how well you think you know what’s coming up, you really don’t.

You can’t. None of us can. We all face the unknown every day of our lives. And while I don’t recommend jumping ship without another position to go to, which is what I’ve done three times in my 40-year career, what I do recommend is not fearing the unknown so much that it freezes you in a job that’s detrimental to you. Think it through, set up a plan-and go steal second base.

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