Career Comparison – The Thief of Joy

Comparison is the thief of joy  – Theodore Roosevelt

There is no winner in this comparison game primarily because you’re comparing yourself to the perfectly polished and filtered version of someone else. The life people share on social media is meant to be picture perfect. The perfect connections, the influential network, the ideal job and career progressions but what you don’t see is the thought, effort and circumstances that led to that. We take a picture perfect life of someone that is shown to us and compare it with our life – something that we know in and out, something far from perfect. 
I understand it’s easy to get carried away in comparison when all you see around you are successful professionals. At some point we’ve all done it! We see big names, big jobs, big offices and bigger promotions always coming to others around us but let me tell you, as much as it all looks flashy and fabulous, the grass isn’t always greener in other people’s careers (trust me, I’ve worked with my fair share of professionals!). 
When we compare ourselves to others, we rob ourselves of the opportunity to be present in our here and now. This in turn can lead to feeling disenchanted, disengaged and wanting to jump to the next shiny new thing!

New Year, New Me!

It is common practice for people to start looking for jobs once the Chinese New Year period ends and bonuses are paid out. Various research reports that the peak time for hiring in Asia is in fact during the first quarter between February and March. A stampede built up over the year enticing people to start dreaming of doing something new and different. Many people start comparing roles to others who they believe are happy and therefore must be in a “coveted job” – a job so great that it’s worth considering it as a possible career move. 
Understanding the reality behind job moves is crucial. More often than not, the people who appear deeply satisfied are the ones who have made powerful career moves based on their own self-discovery and combined this with role alignment. This is coupled with a healthy dose of positive mindset and resilience to weather the ups and downs that come with every role.
Changing your job or career just because someone else seems happier at work than you is a mistake. Jumping without consideration is flirting with disaster and creating a red flagged CV that charts a career of tenures of one to two years only.

Instead of comparing, consider the following actions:

  • Make a list of all the things you feel grateful for in your role and see how this simple change in perspective impacts your urge to leap. Is there a way to dial up the things you are grateful for?
  • Spend time and understand what you need to feel deeply satisfied in your career.
  • What is working for you in the current role?
  • What makes you feel alive and energized?
  • What could your future look like and what can you do to realize that vision starting with your current role?
  • What isn’t working for you and what is in your control to make changes to create greater satisfaction?

Doing this, you will gift yourself the time to stop, breathe and make a more considered decision. 
So stop basing your journey on the perceived success and happiness of someone else. Take charge of your situation and create a path that’s right for you. 


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