Why Do We Feel the Need to Move On to the Next Big Thing?
Be careful. Be wise. And be patient. Careful not to sabotage yourself to satisfy someone else’s idea of who or where you should be. Wise enough to understand times and seasons. Patient enough not to leap before you look.
I was at an event one time when someone walked up to me, trying to confirm where I work. He smiled hugely after the confirmation and said, “I used to work with them many years ago. I know all your colleagues and past colleagues.” He then proceeded to call them one after the other, asking about their welfare and if they still worked there.
Here’s how our conversation went, I have replaced nouns with pronouns:
“How’s him, her, and them?”
“They’re all good”
“is he still at the organisation?”
“Oh him, he doesn’t work here anymore.”
“Oh great, he was staying too long anyway.”
I was taken aback, staying too long? Too long? According to whose clock? But he continued asking, “And them?”
“Yes, they’re still here.”
“Why? It’s been years,” he genuinely looked startled.
“Why not?” Mine was confusion.
“It’s not right, you shouldn’t stay that long”
“According to who?”
“Not according to anybody, but working for someone for too long just shows you have no dream for yourself. After you work at an organisation for some years, you should go on to set up your business. That shows progress. Look at xxx, he was working there na, but he has his own business now. Even yyy is now a big shot in the entertainment industry. Zzz too, I know when he moved on to…”
Perhaps if I’d met him years ago, I’d have sat down and had this conversation with him. But as I grow older, I realise my level of patience is thinning out, especially for certain conversations. So I pause my lips and simply listened.
When I think about life sometimes, I think of the many arbitrary rules we set for ourselves, especially seeing how we have never walked this path before now. Even the journey of the wise who have walked this path before us – through which we gain inspiration – cannot be the same as ours. And if we have never truly walked this path and we do not know what our destinies are, and what lies ahead of us, why do we insist on following certain rules set by others, simply because we do not deem ours to be the norm?
I have since thought about him and his assumption that people who stay long at an organisation are people who do not really want more. And I wonder: if you’re at an organisation where your growth and development are assured, where you’re learning and unlearning, a job that gives you peace of mind and aligns with your goals, what then is the rush?
I raised this conversation during a mentorship session, and my mentor laughed. “There’s something I tell young people,” she said, “be careful, be wise and be patient.”
There’s pressure to be fast-paced in today’s world. Career-wise, we are always looking to move on to the next big thing, our own thing, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But the question remains, where are we rushing to if the current still works?
“You don’t even have to start a business to be successful,” she said, “besides, why are you taking career advice from someone who doesn’t even know your journey.”
Have you noticed that it is people who don’t truly know you that have the most to say about your journey? They are the ones who form their perception of you from a distance and advise you based on that. Perhaps you have planned to stay in your current company for 10 years before establishing yours. Or the company meets all your career needs, you are comfortable there and see no reason to move on so fast. Or you’re even building your own thing by the side. Or you simply want to remain there for no reason at all. Then someone sees you 5 years in and assumes you have no progression plan and begins to give you some advice on how to move on.
If you don’t shift back.
It is tough – to think of the next step. You have family and friends whispering in your ears; you have acquaintances and semi-friends saying “ahan, you’re still there? On social media, people are building and creating and here you are… doing well for yourself in here but you cannot see it because you keep looking out there. Be careful. Be wise. And be patient. Careful not to sabotage yourself to satisfy someone else’s idea of who or where you should be. Wise enough to understand times and seasons. Patient enough not to leap before you look.
But more important is to learn how to shut out the noise (noise is not only external, it is also internal. In your mind and head) and focus on the plan you already have for yourself. There is no law that says you cannot spend 20 years in an organisation. Or one that says you must create and build or become an entrepreneur. Focus on yourself, your path and your growth. The rest is simply noise.
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