This is the final post in our twenty-part series on how to accelerate your career in your twenties and this time we’re talking about complacency. Complacency sets in when we allow ourselves to get too comfortable at work and it can sometimes happen without us even realising. In this series of articles we’ve talked about risk-taking, ambition, proactive learning and leadership - all of which boil down to this idea of not letting ourselves get too comfortable.
Put yourself out there
One of the easiest ways to fall into the trap of complacency is to slip into the office each day unnoticed. If your working day ticks over without you putting yourself forward or properly communicating with anyone in the office, it’s likely to turn into little more than a paycheck cycle. Put yourself out there occasionally and challenge the status quo. Ask questions, offer to help, and if you feel you can make a difference then go for it. The worst that can happen is that you might not be able to solve the problem, but your efforts will be noted and appreciated by your fellow colleagues and managers. The more you actively do for others, the more likely they are to come to you when they need help - and that’s a great way to not let yourself get comfortable.
Set your own targets
When things are quiet at work it’s sometimes nice to take your foot off the gas and take it easy for a while. If you’re working day is typically very stressful this might even be the best option, but don’t let this downtime last for too long or it’ll be harder to get back into the swing of things. One way of dealing with this is to set your own goals. When you’ve achieved your business objectives, you can look at these personal goals and reflect on them. Are you chasing a promotion? Do you want to become a team leader? Do you hate burdening your colleagues with small tasks because you don’t know how to use a particular piece of equipment or software? These are all ‘mini goals’ that you can set for yourself. Take action toward that promotion, practice your leadership style, learn that software. Part of not getting too comfortable is not letting yourself stop developing.
Take a chance
We’ve all been there. You’re in a meeting with a dozen other colleagues and you think you have the perfect answer to a question that’s been raised, but because your manager is there and the room is quiet, you buckle under the pressure and stay silent - the moment passes. Of course it’s important to know when to speak and when to listen, but there are times when you need to take a risk and throw your two cents into the conversation. At worst, some people might disagree with you or your comment might get overlooked, but if you hit the nail on the head or say something that everyone’s thinking, you make a great impression.
It’s easy to get comfortable and switch on the cruise control. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to better your career is an ongoing challenge, and one that you’ll have to master over many years. Getting into the habit of taking risks and putting your voice out there is a great idea when you’re young, and it’ll only get easier as the years roll by.