There’s an interesting mindset that befalls each generation, and for many Gen Xers this includes the belief that working 80 plus hours a week will swoop you up the corporate ladder and onto the financial stability place where you can feel secure and happy. Unfortunately, this is path may lead to burnout (or worse) with little to show for it. Of course, success takes skill, strength, accomplishment and aptitude—in other words, talent; but when talent is taken for granted, it’s a wasteful drain of valuable resources. If this is happening to you, or your team, then it’s time to take action.
Curtis L. Odom, Ed.D’s book, Stuck in the Middle: A Generation X View of Talent Management is the roadmap for getting unstuck and back on to a path of professional fulfillment.
“That feeling of being undervalued, underestimated, and marginalized contributes to the purported Generation X malaise and why many of us now know that you can’t really pay your bills without being happy.” Odom states that we may have it backwards. Happiness can be put first, but it’s your choice. Career happiness requires creating and implementing your own succession plan. And it begins with four steps: “Know, Grow, Show and Flow.”
He also encourages talented professionals to think differently about how they can claim their spot in corporate America, transition their talent into real and measurable results and be the kind of leaders that others want to follow. Odom calls this owning your own “succession plan.” But an honest review of your skills, accomplishments and desires must come first.
“Of course, this success comes with challenges and sacrifices…but if you’re not willing to put forth the effort…then you really don’t want personal success that badly yet.”
According to Odom, part of making things happen in life, as a company or as an individual, is taking a hard look at things personally. He acknowledges this isn’t always easy but if ignored may lead to the feeling of being “stuck in the middle.” Not only does one have to self-advocate, but they must know what assets they are advocating for and where growth is needed. Odom reminds us that “the unwillingness to do a hard assessment is a disconnect between getting what you want and continuing to lack what you need.”
As a career coach, I couldn’t agree more with Odom’s perspective that in order to successfully navigate our careers, find happiness and motivate and lead others on their own sustainable paths, we have to take action. So, if you’re feeling stuck in the middle, this is your guidebook to get ‘unstuck’ and on a proactive path of professional success.
Image courtesy of Smith Publicity