I’ve been catching up with my podcast backlog over the last couple of days, and that includes the latest series on Career Tools on dealing with the angry and demeaning boss.
One of the interesting things that struck me was how much the current state of the economy, especially in the legal sector, seems to be having the same effect on people as an angry boss does, namely, that it pushes otherwise brilliant people into making rash decisions about their careers. One of the biggest warnings about deal with an angry boss that Mike and Mark give is to not let yourself make career decisions because of your current boss. Not that you won’t still decide to leave your current position, but that you don’t rush into it just to escape the bad boss and wind up hurting your career long term.
I see the same thing going on with the economy right now. All the stories of law firm layoffs have people scared, and people who are scared don’t make good decisions. They stay at safe jobs rather than moving forward and taking advantage of opportunities, they don’t take on new assignments at work for fear of failing, they try to “lay low” and keep out of the spotlight so the layoffs will pass over them, etc.
I’ve got news for you, you can’t lay low enough, and you can’t really control if your firm is going to be going through layoffs. The only thing you can do, is excel and keep moving forward. As Douglas Welch recently wrote, it’s “Time to turn off the news, and get something done”. Stop spending all your time and energy worrying about the economy. The economy is going to do what the economy does, whether you worry about it or not, how much better spent could that time and energy be? Wouldn’t you be better off spending less time worrying, and more time working with new people, creating new things, finding ways to be a benefit to your organization?
The economy is bad, I’m not going to lie, but it won’t always be. When it’s roaring along again, will you look back on this time of your life as wasted, or as the time you sought out and took advantage of the opportunities that are always brought about by change? Is your organization now finding itself short staffed in some key areas where you could reach outside of your normal silo and get things done in new, innovative, ways? Are there folks around you with ideas that need a little help to get off the ground that you can provide? Can you take on new leadership roles where there is suddenly a leadership vacuum?
This moment that you are living as you read this, will never come again. This day, week, and year will only come once. Will they be wasted while you lay low and hope for the best, or will you continue to do the best things for yourself, and your career?